The Benefits and Drawbacks of Declawing Cats

by catfood

The Bergh Memorial Hospital of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals encourage owners to explore for alternatives to cat declawing. Please read the following information if you are thinking about declawing your cats.

The Claws of a Cat Are Very Important

The retractable claws that allow a cat to walk, sprint, jump, climb, or stretch contribute greatly to its extraordinary grace and agility, as well as its faultless sense of balance. A cat’s claws are also its most powerful defense mechanism.


The Desire to Start Over

When a cat scratches, the old outer nail sheath is removed, revealing sharp, smooth claws. Scratching also allows the cat to satisfy its innate drive to mark its territory. Scratching not only leaves an external imprint on an object, but it also leaves secretions from glands in the foot that other cats can smell. Scratching can also help with psychological and physiological demands by allowing for relaxation and expression through kneading, as well as necessary stretching and foot-muscle conditioning.


Declaration of the Operation

During the normal declawing procedure, the claw and the last bone of the toe are removed. The treatment is often performed on the front foot. In actuality, it is an amputation equivalent to removing the last knuckle of a human hand’s fingers. The cat is in a lot of pain during the rehabilitation and healing phase.

The Cons of Declawing Cats

Medical: There are dangers associated with any surgical treatment that needs general anesthesia. Complications from anesthesia and/or surgical procedures are possible. Advanced anesthetics, careful anesthesia monitoring, and surgery performed by a competent veterinarian should considerably reduce the risks.

Cats who have had their declaws removed may face long-term issues. It is possible that an infection exists, or that a portion of surgical adhesive has not been totally extruded and must be removed. If a piece of the bone is left behind, it can cause significant discomfort and recurrent infections and must be surgically removed. A checkup is recommended if the cat’s toes are not comfortable, the cat looks to be “walking on eggshells” after the healing period is complete, or the cat appears uncomfortable with his or her feet.


Behavioral: Although no definitive research on the effects of declawing has been conducted, owners and veterinarians have seen personality changes in certain declawing cats. Animals that were previously active and social have become withdrawn and reclusive. Others, deprived of their primary defense, become agitated, afraid, and/or aggressive, frequently resorting to their last line of defense, their teeth. Simultaneously, contact paper with the sticky side out can make the preferred furniture scratching area less enticing (held on with upholstery screws).

Safety: Because its ability to defend itself or escape danger has been seriously hampered, a declawed cat should never be left outside. A cat without claws is vulnerable even indoors. Declawing produces gradual muscle weakness in the legs, shoulders, and back, as well as a loss of balance. This, combined with the fact that, despite its grace, a cat’s surefootedness is dependent on its ability to grasp quickly with its claws, suggests that a declawed animal is more vulnerable to injury in a fall.

Cat Declawing Alternatives

Purchase or make a scratching post that is tall enough for the cat to stretch completely when scratching and stable enough that it does not wobble when used. It should be backed with a tough, rough fabric, such as sisal or carpet. Place the sign in a prominent area. Make it a pleasant location to visit.

Use the duthel method to train the cat: discourage the cat from scratching the wrong things while encouraging the cat to claw the appropriate things. If your cat begins clawing the furniture, call him by name, say “no,” and bring him over to the scratching post with a ribbon or fresh catnip. Every time he wanders out on his own, praise him, pet him, and spend a minute playing with the write-up.

If you want to deter the cat from scratching a certain piece of furniture, set the post in front of it and gradually move it away once the cat starts using it regularly. The constant tension caused by a sense of defenselessness may predispose some declawed cats to illness or improper elimination outside of the litterbox. Place inexpensive cardboard scratching posts or pads near the cat’s favorite furnishings.


Regular nail clipping may prevent a cat from scratching the furniture or, at the very least, reduce the damage caused by his clawing. Get your cat used to having his nails clipped while he is still young. Handling the cat’s feet in a happy environment may benefit an older cat. Then, introduce the clipping process gradually by approaching the cat while he is comfortable or even sleeping and trimming only a few nails at a time. While you clip your cat’s nails, praise him and give him a treat.

If you’re not sure what length your nails should be, have your veterinarian clip them once. The only thing needed is a good pair of feline nail scissors. Before cutting, look for the pink “quick” that runs down the center of the nail. With the scissors, cut approximately an eighth of an inch forward of the quick. Take extreme care not to cut into the quick. If this happens, the cat will most likely experience pain and bleeding. The bleeding may stop on its own, or you may need to put a soft cloth or styptic powder to the nail. If you clip a small portion of nail on a daily basis, the quick will tend to recede.

Is your cat scratching you?

It’s unusual for your kitten or adolescent cat to scratch you. During these stages of growth, predatory behavior is at its peak. To prevent being viewed as “prey” by your cat, direct play onto interactive toys such as a catnip mouse on a string or commercially available toys such as the Cat Dancer or Kitty Tease. If your cat keeps jumping on your fingers and toes, punish it with an open-mouthed hiss or a puff of air blown in its face.

Scratching is a natural and pleasurable behavior for cats, and you owe it to him to teach him where to scratch. Your veterinarian can also help you avoid or divert scratching behaviors.

The ASPCA hopes you will carefully consider whether or not to declaw your cat. It is a painful procedure that may cause serious physical and behavioral problems in your pet. If you have any questions about declawing or training your cat, please contact us. We’ll do everything we can to help you create and maintain a happy relationship with your feline companion while keeping your furniture and performance in top shape.

If you are certain that you want a declawed cat, you can adopt one that is already declawed. You can also search Catfoodsite for declawed cats. If you do decide to adopt a declawed cat, keep in mind that, while it is best for all cats to be kept indoors, it is especially important for declawed cats: a cat without claws is less able to defend himself against dogs and other dangers, and has a more difficult time climbing to safety if attacked.

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