The Truth About Declawing

by Emma Koeniger, SPCAI Staff

Cats are fun to have around; their personalities are always so unique. Maybe your cat just loves to find a good patch of sunlight and sleep all day or maybe your cat loves to run around your house, always on the hunt. Whatever your cat likes to do it’s almost certain that they have decided to sink their claws into your furniture and maybe even your curtains.

Cats do what comes naturally to them, scratching is just one of their natural behaviors. A cats nails have natural sheaths, occasionally you may find them stuck in your couch or carpet, scratching helps remove these sheaths so that you cat is able to extend and retract it’s nails.  Cats also scratch to help mark their territory.

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Because this act of scratching can damage your furniture many people turn to a surgical procedure called de-clawing to “fix” their problem. While this procedure can seem like a simple solution, most pet parents do not understand that it is not a simple procedure exclusive to of removing your cat’s claws.

To remove the actual claw so that it does not grow back, part of the toe must be amputated. It would be akin to removing the tip of your finger to the first knuckle. There are a few methods through which this is preformed, but the two most common are the guillotine and cosmetic declawing. Both accomplish the same objective, however cosmetic declawing keeps the paw pad intact and has a faster recovery period where as the guillotine method cuts through the paw pad and can lead to chronic pain.  That being said, the recovery isn’t ever easy on the cat since the incisions are on their feet they can be prone to infection. Additionally, in my experience as a vet tech, cats can become more aggressive at the vet’s office after being declawed because their main defense, their nails, has been taken away causing them to be more likely to bite.

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At SPCA International, we strongly urge you not to declaw your cat. It may seem convenient, but it is an extreme act that leaves your cat disoriented, with a long recovery and potentially chronic pain.

There are many ways to prevent your cat from scratching you or your furniture. Options include regularly trimming your cat’s nails, using soft paws, providing your cat with a scratching post, using natural applications to deter them from clawing the furniture and a combination of these. There is no reason to put your feline friend through an unnecessary and expensive medical procedure when there are so many pain free options. Thank you for being a responsible pet owner and doing your research. We commended you for that!

Here are some additional resources for alternative options:
https://www.softpaws.com/
https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Pet-Supplies-Cat-Scratching-Posts/zgbs/pet-supplies/2975247011
http://www.wikihow.com/Trim-Your-Cat's-Nails

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