The damage caused by a domestic cat’s claws is greatly exaggerated

The damage caused by a domestic cat’s claws is greatly exaggerated

by Maggie Sharp
(Tasmania, Australia)

Weapons of destruction?

Weapons of destruction?

Very many of us here are the carers of cat with sharp claws. Every day we are exposed to such claws, and what they are capable of. I have no doubt that cat claws are capable of damage but the damage described by those who have considered declawing is often an horrendous exaggeration.

Take a look at your cat right now. Can you imagine your cat to be one of the animals who literally destroy a home's interior? If you answered no, I'm mighty glad! For a cat's claws are NOT capable of such destruction. These are very small animals, rarely weighing more than 8 kilos (approximately 16lbs), their claws aren't even an inch long, how on earth could they "destroy the entire home"?

If we had mutant cats the size of lions or tigers, then perhaps I would be inclined to believe in the possibility of such destruction. But the domestic cat? Why, their claws are barely capable of destroying their own scratching post! Let alone an entire home!

Now, many times the reasoning behind declawing is that claws possess the risk of hurting people. This is no reason, in fact, I think it's the worst excuse that anyone can use to justify torture. It's extremely selfish and hypocritical. It's literally a case of "the cat hurt me, so I'll hurt the cat!"

What gives us the right to mutilate these animals for our benefit? When it comes to animals, nothing should be done for our own benefit. These animals are under our care, and so anything we do should be for the benefit of those animals.

We disadvantaged cats through domestication, and as a result they are now dangerously reliant upon us. However, I have noticed that not only are cats reliant upon us, but they also have expectations to live up to. We don't really know such expectations are there, but they are. For example, when one introduces a cat to their home, an expectation is that the cat will use a litter box or do their business outside. When cats fail to meet this expectation they are sometimes abandoned on the streets, dumped in shelters or, in the most tragic cases, they are killed.

This can also relate back to claws. People know cats come with claws, but very many people expect the cat not to scratch. Particularity to such unimaginable extents often described by the opposing people, who are known by myself as 'claw haters'.

People expect a cat to scratch a tree or cat furniture, but this isn't always the case. A cat may not like the cat furniture (due to incorrect size etc) or may not be 'trained' to use it. And so, when that cat scratches the furniture the 'owners' of that cat get frustrated and recognise the claws as a threat to their precious furniture, and when cruel methods of (physcial) discipline fail, the owners turn to declawing.

Why? Because the owners (sub consciously?) exaggerate the situation and resort to mutilation.

If such exaggerations did not occur, would declawing be a less popular resort to minimizing (or ridding) the destruction which is apparently caused by cats' claws?


The damage caused by a domestic cat's claws is greatly exaggerated to Declawing Cats

Comments for
The damage caused by a domestic cat's claws is greatly exaggerated

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 25, 2010 J.T. - Dangerous
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

J.T. - What makes you so very dangerous to cats in general is that some people may think you know what you are talking about, having fostered for some 20+ years. Obviously, you are clueless with respect to cats if you think for even a second that a declaw is the end all for what you consider poor cat behavior. I wonder what your sister's house is like? Are there screaming kids? Do adults act out? Is there tension of any kind in the home? Does anyone spend any quality time just PLAYING with the cat? I would venture to say we already know the answers to these questions.

Our home has had a myriad of various animals simultaneously all of our lives. NOT ONCE did any of them lose their claws or act out toward each other or their human caretakers. It is all a matter of how the atmosphere is in the home, as well as the type of treatment given to the furkids.

Do us all a favor, will you? STOP fostering, take your sister's cat and any you may have and give them to a 100% NO KILL organization to find quality homes for them. It is obvious to anyone with a brain that neither of you deserve the privilege of CARING (not owning) animals of any kind. Furkids everywhere will thank you.

Oct 24, 2010 You are ignorant
by: Fran

Hiding behind initials and shouting your ill informed rubbish impresses none of us.
Punishing cats is ignorant pointless and unkind,you should know that as you are such an expert having fostered for 20 years.
Petra is right and I wish I knew the organisation you foster for as it's obvious you are unfit for the role.They need to know you believe punishment is the way to go with cats and that you are so ignorant about the effects of declawing you condone a young cat's life as a cripple.Also that you think it's fine that the 2 declawed cats in your own home are scratching with non existent claws thus at risk of more damage to their already damaged paws.
But how can we expect someone with a sister who puts furniture before her cat's health to know much at all about cats?

Oct 24, 2010 To JT
by: Petra

Do us a favour JT and pop yours and your sister's addresses on here then we can send the ASPCA round to take your cats from you, because they are obviously unsafe with a pair of bigheads like you two who think nothing of punishing cats and depriving them of necessary body parts.

Oct 24, 2010 Trauma? YES for the cat
by: Kathryn

Talk about trauma you say,yes,let's talk about trauma,lets talk about the trauma caused to that poor cat now living his life as a cripple because of your sister's inadequacies.
Is she sitting in her perfect chair smug in what she had done to that cat?
Did she ever consider training him with loving kindness instead of cruel punishments?
No of course she didn't as she had you to 'advise' her,a sibling who owns and knows all about cats and thinks it's OK that declawed ones frantically try to use their missing claws.
The pair of you should be taken without explanation terrified out of your wits and left to have your finger ends amputated.That poor cat can't do what cats need to do so why should you who think that's OK be able to do what you need to do?
What?It's not necessary you say!Well it wasn't necessary for that cat either.
There you go ..................

Oct 24, 2010 To the person who thinks cats are OWNED by them
by: Rose

So Mr or Ms so self important that you shout in capital letters,supposing you lived in a civilised country where declawing is banned.
What then?Would that sweet little one year old cat with the NATURAL and NECESSARY inclination to scratch be dead,his life taken for doing what cats do.Or would he be thrown on the streets?
One or the other for sure if your sister loves her furniture so much.
How hard it would be for people like her to cope with cats having claws.Quaking day and night incase their INANIMATE and REPLACEABLE furniture got scratched and no one would be allowed to make any cat go through agony and end up disabled for that couch or chairs sake.
You OWN furniture you do not OWN living creatures.I feel pity for any cats you have OWNED or fostered if the list of punishments tried on that young cat are condoned by you and if you still don't understand that cats come with claws for many reasons.
I have news for you,you have a hell of a lot to LEARN about cats.

Oct 24, 2010 To JT
by: Barbara

God save cats from people who foster and "own" them and who think they have all the answers!
How on earth can a procedure that was thought up by someone purely for the convenience of "owners" who should never be allowed near a cat in the first place ever be "necessary" when cats are born with claws?
Surely the clue is in the fact that they ARE born with those claws and that should tell you that they are meant to be there because the cats need them in their daily life?
Scratch sprays, clickers, nail caps - these are all horrible and frightening things to a cat, especially when you consider that the cat is only acting as he has been programmed by nature, that is why it is really cruel to surgically remove a cat's toe ends.
Declawing is NOT the only option, it should not be an option at all, no-one declaws with love - FACT!

Barbara avatar

Oct 24, 2010 To JT the cat 'owner'
by: Ruth

Just when I think I've heard every stupid and ignorant remark under the sun for justifying the mutilation of a cat by the amputation of his toe ends, you come along and say your sister got a cat WITH claws.
Of course he had claws, that is how ALL cats come, he had them for a reason, that reason being he needed them for a healthy life.
Now he's desperately trying to exercise his muscles by digging in those non existent claws but as he can't he is doomed to crippling arthritis. He may also try so much to use his claws that eventually he will wear the flesh away and the bone will protrude.
Are you and your sister some of those people who laugh while watching their cat suffer frustration this way ?
Scratching is NOT bad behaviour, it is NECESSARY behaviour !
I don't believe that your sister tried every make of scratching post and pad there is because NO cat is untrainable and to cripple a young cat for the sake of furniture is nothing short of criminal.
But your boast that you yourself have OWNED cats for 20 years says it all, they are NOT ours to OWN, we are merely their caretakers and you and your sister are not fit to take care of any cat if you think that the painful cruel amputation of a cat's toe ends is EVER justifiable.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Oct 23, 2010 To J.T
by: Maggie

The caps lock button is on the left side of your keyboard. Turn it off you idiot!

You say your mutilated cats were trying the scratch the scratching post like they had claws, and yet they've got no physical or mental issues. Well, the fact that they're still trying the scratch the scratching post proves that they're suffering from mental traumar. Obviously they don't understand what's going on, and when faced with the anxiety that pressures them to comprehend that they have no finger tips, they resort to believing that they still do have their finger tips, as such torture is beyond their capability to comprehend.

Physical problems, on the other hand, are inevitable. A cat is a digitigrade, meaning naturally they walk on their toes. If half your toe is missing it's mighty hard to walk on it. So cats are going to try and walk more comfortably, aren't they? And that's where their wrists come it, and the excruciating arthritis. Not to mention the phantom pains, your cats are probably suffering from them right now, but your to ignorant to see it.

You are right though, in that a person who chooses to declaw a cat shouldn't be made to feel guilty. I mean, seriously, guilt is no where near as painful as the agony a declawed cat lives through, day in day out. A person who chooses to declaw a cat should be prosected for animal cruelty (like they would be here in Australia, or the other 37 countries where it's also banned), have their finger tips cut off, and locked up in prison for the rest of their lives. (Because they're obviously disturbed sick freaks, who don't deserve to have a place in society.)

by: J.T.


Aug 29, 2010 Right
by: Sue

You would think claws are lethal weapons the way some people go on about them.
My cats have never had their claws messed with in their entire lives.
Some people are obsessed with interfering with nature.

Aug 27, 2010 Excellent article-Thank you!!
by: Kathleen

Thank you so much to the writer of this article! It's hard to believe how few people in the US are able to understand that simple regular trimming of the claws would eliminate ANY AND ALL problems associated with them. Can't do it yourself? Most vet offices will do it, and at VASTLY lower cost than a declaw surgery!! Don't let them sell you something neither you nor your cat needs!

Aug 22, 2010 I rarely get scratched
by: Leah (England)

I have a Maine Coon with huge paws and claws and I rarely get scratched. The only time I do is when we play and its an accident. The only way you get scratched is if you don't know how to treat a cat.

The perpetrators of all this propaganda is those who are too damn lazy to buy a scratching post and those butchers who want to keep lining their pockets.

Well done on the article Maggie, spot on.

Aug 19, 2010 Too true
by: Fran

Yes Maggie you are so right and it's just an excuse idiots use to justify crippling their cats.
I'm sick and tired of those who declaw cats having excuses made for them.
They 'didn't know' it was more than removing the claws.
For God's sake would that not be bad enough.
What sort of sadist would put a cat through needless pain 'just incase' they scratched their precious furniture or their out of control brat pestering the poor cat or their stupid dog pushing its nose in and getting a well deserved warning with a swipe.
I've got to the point where I wonder what we are doing,are we wasting our time trying to get the message into heads filled with sawdust.

Aug 18, 2010 Another Great Article
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Maggie, you've done it again...good job!

Sadie uses me for a launching pad as well and I do have some scratches to prove it; however, it's my own fault. I know what to expect and if I don't protect myself with a sleeve, bandage or anything, I deserve it. The forum is correct - WE need to adapt ourselves to the cat, not the other way around.

As for dogs getting scratched by a cat, let them sort it out themselves, for goodness sake! My brother introduced a cat to their home with an Alsatian. After the cat pooped on bro's shoulder (haha), both animals sniffed each other, the dog nudged the cat, the cat responded with a swipe, the lines were drawn and both became fast friends until the day the dog passed. Even now, years later, the cat occasionally searches for his canine friend and cries.

We grew up in a household of mixed animals simultaneously - cat, dog, bird, hamster. Guess what? Everyone got along, no one was hurt and the children were taught to respect all living things as unique in their own way. I would suggest to the naysayers to learn these lessons and quit trying to change an animal's behavior. Life would be so much simpler.

Aug 18, 2010 Good one Maggie
by: Sylvia

Great article Maggie,you and a few more of the regular writers should have your own page.
It's very simple really and it works in yours and my countries doesn't it!
Don't like claws?
DON'T get a cat.

Aug 18, 2010 Well said
by: Barbara

Great article Maggie and all so true, it always amazes me the super powers given to cats by people looking for an excuse to declaw, it makes a mental image of a domestic cat towering over the home with 6" razors instead of claws, slashing indiscriminately at family and furnishings. Of course cats claws are sharp, that's the whole purpose of them and surely it's not a secret that cats come armed with them for their own use. And of course as we know sharing your home with a cat IS optional.

As I wrote in my tribute to Popsy yesterday, she loved to knead the tops of our arms, she had tiny claws but they were sharp, well our solution was to wear something over the place she loved to knead, a simple sleeve (or in my hubby's case a tubular bandage) kept her claws from digging in and she and we enjoyed the closeness and love that the kneading brought.

So, the solution was that WE adapted ourselves, it would never have entered our heads to think that she should lose her claws (and toe ends) so that when she expressed her love to us she wouldn't dig her claws in. That is if such a drastic and damned cruel option even existed in England which thank the Lord it doesn't!

Barbara avatar

Aug 18, 2010 Well said Maggie !
by: Ruth

Well said Maggie ! The number of times we read that cats have 'destroyed the house' is just ridiculous.
In all my life I've never known any cat ever destroy a house.
Another one that drives me mad is 'I don't want my baby's eyes scratched out' Well for a start I've never in my life known a cat attempt to scratch a baby's eyes out either.It makes me wonder if those people who say that think that where declawing is banned we let our cats into our baby's cots and ignore the screams as his eyes are scratched out.Have they no concept that bringing a baby into the world they are responsible for his care and can't expect a cat to be molested by a toddler and not retaliate.Is the cat supposed to put up with being swung by his tail, poked at and kicked by a child who hasn't been taught to be gentle and respect animals ? Children learn by example and the example declawers give is that cats can be turned into soft toys.Then when the cat naturally bites in self defence, out he goes, he was a bad cat, let's get another kitten and have it declawed. That message says cats are replaceable.
Another excuse is the family dog,oh poor thing, it might get its nose badly scratched so let's get the cat declawed. Then the dog can make the cat's life a misery on top of the poor creature being in pain and crippled.
It's true these people knows cats have claws (surely they do ???)but as long as corrupt vets continue to declaw, these people who should not have cats in the first plcae will go on with their abuse of them this way.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Aug 17, 2010 Our cats
by: Joyce Sammons

Our cats Lola and Furby use me and Laura as launching pads or stepping stones. I get jumped on, over, around several times a day in their effort to jump into the window or play couch tag. Their claws are NEVER out to where they could hurt us. All I feel is the cushions of their feet as they practice their jumping acts.

These idiots who declaw their cats are gonna be mighty surprised at how often they get bitten once the cat loses its first line of defense.

Great story!

Aug 17, 2010 Love it
by: Michael

Hi Maggie. Love the passion and commonsense - a great combination.

You are right. People who want to declaw their cat have to justify it some way - a self deception. They find a reason and in order to find a reason that they think does not embarrass them they exaggerate as you say.

And the vets support this for their own financial ends.

It is horrible and I hate it.

Thanks Maggie. Love your posts.

Michael Avatar

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


The damage caused by a domestic cat’s claws is greatly exaggerated — 1 Comment

  1. Declawing in the UK is illegal for a start, so that is really not an argument. Elsewhere that is another matter. Simple painless and effective solution to claw damage by kittens and cats and nail damage caused by dog nails is the application of JUST CLAWS soft vinyl claw caps for kittens/cats (inside cats only) and JUST PAWS soft vinyl nail caps for dogs. They are simple to apply, absolutely harmless, causes no discomfort to the animals and effective against damage, no matter how slight or severe. Have a look and judge for yourself. Millions are sold Worldwide. The invention of an American veterinarian and used widely by vets, groomers and pet lovers. Oh and bye the way, it prevents persistent scratching of irritated skin causing skin damage and bleeding. Cheap too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.