My Thoughts About Declawing

by Z.A

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

The declawing of domestic cats is now among the most commonly performed surgeries on the cat today in the United States. Declawing is also one of the top contenders on the controversial hotlist that is sure to stir up strong emotions between animal lovers. But for the group of people that claim declawing is the ultimate cure all, the easy tune up for which it is portrayed to be, for people who think declawing is the right option for their cat, I urge you to reconsider your action plan.

In my unique experience in dealing with cats where I live, I find that most people who want to declaw their cat are not willing to tolerate any medical or behavioral issue at all. It is like all issues are supposed to just be smelled in the air, and mystically wished away. The problems start at the very thought of wanting to declaw a cat. The surgery is counterproductive in that it already implies the owner wants a quick fix to any and all behavioral issues that arise. It scares me because if they can't take care of one behavioral issue without turning to science or medicine to fix the problem, what about future issues? I also worry because being adults, they should have access to research about the surgery and the pain involved.

I am very much against the declawing of cats and here is the reason why. I find that most cats that are declawed cannot live as happy life as cats that have claws and they cannot defend themselves. Cats claw to reduce anxiety, to release all the pent up energy, and to stretch his body and unkink his muscles. I also adamantly consider scratching to be a great time for cats to bond. Multiple cat homes will strongly benefit from a cat tower where the cats are constantly chasing each other or playing tag with each other on the towers. Even basic scratching posts can be fun!

The most common problem after furniture scratching is cats are often declawed for lashing out at people or attacking them. At this point in time, it is already determined that the cat is just being spiteful, mean or hateful. A cat is neither of these things. Chances are if we get off our predetermined mindset that our cats are trying to do things to frustrate us, we will stand a better chance of finding a solution. I worry because if a cat is lashing at people, the cat must be bored, or in other terms not getting the right exercise for his age or he has not been taught the proper social skills. I found this out when Felix was attacking me, but he does not attack me anymore since I’ve introduced play therapy and scratch post.

And what about dogs? When I was growing up, I had a declawed dog. My guardian couldn't stand owning a dog that clawed at everything and he did not want to deal with the dog's behavioral problem up front like a true animal advocate would. Three weeks later, he got rid of the dog because of issues regarding the declaw and the dog was just not working out. Another thing I have realized. A big portion of people that declaw do not care for an animal's worth, they are like temporaries to them.

Tiger, my first cat, was declawed when I was thirteen. I admit to accepting the surgery. Everyone, even the vets and my mom assured me that it was the best thing and my guardian said that we would have to get rid of him if I said no. For a person that has only witnessed animal abuse, for a person who had a step dad that shot the ones I had, who always wished they would have a cat of their own, would readily say yes to a surgery they thought was only as mundane as removing claws. Since I did not have internet, I did not know that declawing was actually the amputation of the toes at the last joint, tantamount to the removal of fingers in humans and now I regret it.

Just some of my built up thoughts on declawing. Some things I wanted to express and get out there so other people could comment on them.


Selected Associated Pages:

Cat Declawing

Declawing Cats

Alternatives to Declawing

Comments for
My Thoughts About Declawing

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May 04, 2011 Nan's poor declawed cat
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

I just had to come back to this one and comment, because the story of Nan's two year old cat with the gait of an elderly cat just haunts me. Sadly, the declaw surgery probably was done "correctly." The surgery always takes the normal weight bearing structure away, so a cat never really walks normally after. There is a high risk of a severely disabled cat like Nan's every single time that horrible procedure is carried out against a cat.

On Monday I had my two year old cat outside with me off leash. I wanted to bring him in and he objected by shooting across the whole lawn, running like the wind, and climbing up his very favorite tree, almost to the top. He didn't stay up there long. He came back down and sprawled out in the dirt to cool off. I opted to stay out with him another half an hour. His display was like a kid who doesn't want to leave the park, "Just a little more, Mom. Look what I can do!"

The thought of a cat, who should be like a kid in the playground, limping around like one of the elderly residents at the SNF where I used to work just breaks my heart. Youth is wonderful, but fleeting. Even more so for our cats who don't live very long. Declawed cats are disabled cats. Disability can come to anyone at any point in life, for a variety of reasons. The fact that Nan's cat is now permanently disabled due to an elective surgery which shouldn't even be legal is simply terrible.

There is an article posted somewhere on PoC about a vet who does declaw repair surgeries. You might want to search for it, Nan. At the very least it will give you more insight into what went wrong than you are likely to get from most American vets.

Apr 26, 2011 I too agree
by: Leah (England)

Hi Zac

I too agree with all you've said. I especially agree that no one who de-claws ever seems to consider the cat. They do see it as a quick fix so you're right the cat is just a commodity.

Nan I feel so sorry for your poor cat thank God he has you now to depend on; bad enough that this is done at all let alone not done properly! I would want to find that damn vet and show them up for all their incompetencies!

I was watching a programme on TV the other evening about this English lady who trains dogs. She went to see a woman in America who has bought an out of control Labradoodle. She already had a cat and she didn't seem to care that the dog was becoming increasingly vicious to the cat! The dog had obviously taken over and the cat was too scared to come down off work tops etc! I saw the cat wack the dog with her paw but the dog never flinched and I didn't see any claws come out. Declawed? Yep very likely. How typical eh? That poor cat was the only animal feeling safe even though she had no claws so the woman just lets the dog do as he likes and cat ends up literaly becoming in danger of severe injury if not being mauled. It was awful to watch and it was the dog trainer not the American who even thought this was a serious issue.

So to be honest from my point of view declawing is WRONG on every level.

Apr 24, 2011 owner of a very disabled declawed cat
by: Nan

I adopted a 2 year old cat from our local animal shelter. He had beed declawed by his prior owner who passed away, thus he ended up at the shelter.
We wanted an indoor only adult cat, so it was OK that he was declawed (not a preference). It did not take long to notice that he walked oddly and had discomfort. At times he limps badly, and prefers to walk on carpet or rugs. Vet imaging revealed that the vet who did the procedure basicly cut off too much of his toes! Now he walks around like he is a very old cat and cannot jump well. Please if you love your cat do not take the chance of ruining his quality of life just to protect your furniture. Cats can be trained not to claw furniture with patience and persistance.

Apr 23, 2011 Very good article
by: Ruth

This is a very well written and informed article Zach and I agree with all you say.
The problem is that some people expect cats to behave as people do and think that because they don't do that, they are bad cats.
Scratching is essential to a cat's health and that's why I can't understand why some vets are so keen to declaw cats, they of all people should understand how it ruins a cat's health and causes the cat's life to be unfulfilled too.
The only conclusion is that they love money and think it's worth abusing cats for.
In our country it is unthinkable even if it was 'only' removing the claw to do that. We can't understand the mentality of someone getting a cat, knowing he has claws and not understanding he has those claws for a reason.
Thankfully more and more people are anti declaw now and hopefully one day soon those greedy vets will run out of clients who they can convince that declawing is minor surgery.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 23, 2011 Hi Zach
by: Michael

Thanks for the posting. I like the fact that you think about declawing in a general way and arguing from that standpoint.

It is easy to get bogged down and blinded by the detail of arguments that seek to justify it. The vets use arguments that are not based on fact. They distortions of the truth.

Really, if we just stand back, take a deep breath, look at it honestly, look at ourselves honestly, and ask is declawing wrong or right, we have to come to the conclusion that it is wrong.

Hope you are keeping well.

5 thoughts on “My Thoughts About Declawing”

  1. Pets are so cute when they are but guess what folks they need attention and grow up (just like children) so if you are not ready to take on more responsibility then don’t have any. My cats are part of my family and i wouldnt do anything so sadistic or cruel to my family if they did someting wrong. You TRAIN them not to. I have a few cats and when they started scratching I squirted them with water and guess what after getting wet they caught on and don’t do it. Its just as cruel as getting your dog debarked but that’s another web site.

  2. People always say they get the cat declawed because they don’t want their furniture destroyed. Well do they cut their children’s figures off because they bite their nails. Its cruel and unnecessary. I worked in a vets office and believe me the cats are in excruciating pain.

    • It’s shocking that to some people their furniture is more important than their cat.
      I too worked for vets but ours would never declaw a cat even when it was legal here in the UK.
      I can imagine the memories of seeing cats suffering still haunts you.
      Declawing should never have been invented, the people who have their cats declawed are not fit cat caretakers.

      • I never ceases to amaze me – shock me in fact – that people knowingly put their cat through excruciating pain and mutilation to protect their furniture, which can be protected in a different way in any case.


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