I heard a joke recently about a man who took his dog to the vet to get his tail amputated. This was so that his mother in law had no indication that she was liked in their household! Ha ha right? Well, jokes aside, it made me think about the fact that people really do get their dog’s tails amputated AND about cats who are declawed! How on earth can you declaw a cat? Can you imagine someone removing our nails? It wouldn’t be done right? What justification could there be?

You’ve probably figured that I am an animal lover and I cannot see any reason to do it. Nevertheless I thought that there may be more to it and that I should check it out before forming a final judgement.

So I’ve researched it from various sites and the message seems to be the same. Please read on and let me know if you agree or disagree.

I got this info from http://www.moggies.co.uk/stories/declaw.html

Remember: Knowledge is power. Understanding the situation is half the battle. Below are some valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats.

This isn’t exactly a revelation, since you probably have the evidence everywhere, in the tattered corners of your sofa, the shredded drapes, your frayed nerves. Though Kitty’s natural propensity for scratching my not be big news, it is a fact that you’ll need to take into account if you’re to make any headway in winning the battle to keep her from scratching in places you consider undesirable.

Lesson 2: You can’t keep your cat from scratching.

What you can do is stop her from scratching those items you value and want to keep in their relatively pristine state. Bear in mind Mark Twain’s advice, which applies universally: Never try to teach a pig to sing; it frustrates you and annoys the pig. Translate this bit of wisdom to your dealings with cats and you’ll avoid a good deal of futility and frustration.

You can’t make a cat do anything she doesn’t want to do. Get clear on that. And getting her to stop something she enjoys is just about as difficult. Therefore you have to think smart and re-channel her desires.

A word about punishment: Don’t do it!

Cats don’t understand physical punishment. In addition to it being wrong to hit your cat, punishment simply doesn’t work and is likely to make your situation worse. Clever though Kitty is about many things, she won’t understand that you’re punishing her for scratching the couch. She will only compute that sometimes when you catch her she is treated badly. This may make her insecure and stimulate her to scratch more or develop other undesirable behaviour problems.

Eventually you will break the trust and security that is the basis for your cat’s relationship with you, and you will find it very difficult to catch her for any reason at all.

Cats have excellent memories and hold serious grudges.

Fortunately, there is a simple alternative available for you and your cat. It consists of a good, sturdy scratching post covered with strong material and lined with catnip. You can make one yourself or it can be purchased. With close attention and a lot of encouragement, your cat can be perfectly happy scratching on his own furniture rather than yours.

The technical facts

Many veterinarians always counsel the client in alternatives to declaw surgery, while others refuse to declaw cats except in cases of medical necessity. Still others have no ethical considerations and routinely perform declaw surgery.

Declawing (onychectomy) involves the surgical removal of the claw, including the germinal (epithelium) cells responsible for its growth, and part or all of the third phalanx (terminal bone) of the toe. Amputation of the third phalanx of the cat’s toe is similar to the amputation of the end of our own fingers at the last knuckle, leaving a stump.

The cat’s claw extended and amputated:


The nerves, ligaments and tendons are cut, and part or all of the entire third phalanx (terminal bone) of the toe is amputated.

In traditional declaw surgery the vet extends the toe and cuts the nerves, ligaments and tendons, using a guillotine-type nail trimmer (or a scalpel), severing part or all of the third phalanx or terminal toe bone. An improper incision or cut may cause claw regrowth and/or cause damage to the pad which may result in lameness. Additional surgery may be necessary to correct the mistakes of the original surgery and to relieve symptoms. General post-operative complications of declaw surgery also include, but are not limited to, pain, hemorrhage, swelling, and/or infection.

Improperly done, declaw surgery can cause damage to the radial nerve, lameness, paralysis, and bone chips which retard healing and cause recurrent infections. Amputation of a leg as a result of infection or complications can also occur. Declawed cats can also suffer chronic back and joint pain as shoulder, leg and back muscles weaken following the loss of part of the toes. Anesthetics administered for surgery present their own risks, and are a very important factor when unnecessary surgeries are considered.

With traditional declaw methods, there is an unavoidable amount of tearing, crushing, and bruising that leads to postoperative pain and swelling . Traditional declaw surgery requires suturing and tight bandaging to prevent hemorrhaging after the procedure. In many veterinary hospitals and clinics, strong opiates are administered for pain post-operatively. Many veterinarians feel that cats do not suffer pain and do not routinely administer pain medications for surgeries including declaw surgery, unless the client requests pain medications for these procedures. Often there is an extra charge for pain medications administered post-surgically, whether routinely administered by the veterinarian or administered at the clients request.

Because declaw surgery causes significant pain and involves many risks the decision to declaw should never be made for owner convenience. The loss of part of the cat’s toes and his claws can be physically traumatic and psychologically demoralizing for your cherished family pet. Declawing a cat for owner convenience is never ethically justifiable.

Please remember that removing the claws by any means will deprive your cat of many anatomically necessary uses and behaviours for his claws, and perhaps even more importantly, he will forever lose his first line of defense! A declawed cat must forever be an indoor cat.

Veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling has written

If you are considering declawing your cat, please read this. It will only take a moment, and it will give you valuable information to help you in your decision.

First, you should know that declawing is pretty much an American thing, it’s something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed “inhumane” and “unnecessary mutilation.” I agree. In many European countries it is illegal. I applaud their attitude.

Before you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat’s claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat’s claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”. When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.

No cat lover would doubt that cats–whose senses are much keener than ours–suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.

Your cat’s body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

I have also had people tell me that their cat’s personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.

Okay, so now you realize that declawing is too drastic a solution, but you’re still concerned about keeping your household furnishings intact. Is there an acceptable solution? Happily, the answer is yes. A big, joyful, humane YES! Actually there are several. The following website “Cat Scratching Solutions” provides many solutions as well as and insight into the psychology of why cats scratch. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I’ve found is Soft Paws®.

Soft Paws are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat’s front claws. They’re great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can’t exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post. Soft Paws® are easy to apply and last about four to six weeks. They come in clear or colors–which are really fun. Now that’s a kitty manicure! The colored caps look spiffy on Tabby or Tom and have the added advantage of being more visible when one finally comes off. Then you simply replace it. You can find Soft Paws® on the web by clicking here or call 1-800-989-2542.

You need to remember, though, that the caps and nail trimming should only be used on indoor cats who will not be vunerable to the dangers of the outdoors.

For a list of countries in which declawing is either illegal, or considered extremely inhumane and only performed only under extreme circumstances, or for medical reasons, CLICK HERE.

Not yet convinced? Click Here for “The Truth about Declawing – Technical Facts.”

Questions or Comments? Like to add to this website? Please feel free to e-mail me at vet@cathealth.com.

Information from another website is given below

~ The Truth about Declawing Cats ~

Brown Spotted Bengal Cat, Jet relaxing on the scratching post

Declawing is an elective surgery cat owners sometimes choose to have done to prevent their pet from scratching furniture, curtains, other pets, and people. Declawing is a controversial procedure. Some people feel it is inhumane. Many veterinarians will always counsel the pet owners in alternatives to declaw surgery, while other veterinarians simply won’t do the surgery except in cases of medical necessity.

A cat’s remarkable grace, agility, and sense of balance are in part due to its claws, which allow it to establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing or stretching. A cat’s claws are also its best defence in the outdoors. I strongly disagree with the practice of declawing, but you can make up your own mind after you read the real truth about declawing cats below.

What Declawing really is…

The standard declawing procedure calls for the removal of the claw including the germinal (epithelium) cells responsible for its growth, and part or all of the third phalanx (terminal bone) of the toe. The operation is usually performed on the front feet, and is actually an amputation comparable to the removal of human fingertips at the first knuckle. The cat experiences pain in the recovery and healing process.

Declawing can be done at any age, but younger cats tend to bounce back more quickly than older ones. It is never recommended to take out a cat’s back claws. Cats rarely damage anything with their rear claws and their rear claws are their only defence after the front ones are removed.

What are the Risks involved in Declawing…

Snow Marble Bengal Cat, Lunar finds a new place to relax on the scratching post

The procedure is not without risk. The tourniquet, used to reduce blood loss during the surgical procedure, can damage the radial nerve and result in paralysis of the leg. This paralysis is usually temporary but can be permanent. If the incisions come open and expose the remaining bones of the digits, infection can occur and the wounds must be left open to heal, which can take longer than if sutures were holding the wound closed.

If the declawing procedure is not done correctly, misshapen claws can grow back. An incorrectly positioned cut during declawing surgery can remove too much of the toe, taking with it part or all of the toe’s pad. In addition, if a bone fragment is left at the surgery site, it may become a source of infection. Both claw regrowth and infection necessitate additional surgery.

Declawing your cat is a decision that should never be taken lightly and certainly never be done for the owner’s convenience.

Why Cats Scratch…

Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats and a way of fulfilling a cat’s strong instinctive need to mark its territory. Not only do cats mark objects visibly by scratching them, but the scratching deposits secretions from glands in the feet that can be smelled by other cats. Scratching can also provide valuable stretching and foot exercise for your cat.

Alternatives to Declawing…
Snow Marble Bengal Cat, Lunar learning to use the scratching post

There is a simple alternative available for you and your cat. Introduce a scratching post. You can make one yourself or it can be purchased. Your cat’s scratching post should be tall enough so your cat can stretch completely when scratching, and stable enough so it won’t wobble when being used. It should be covered with a strong, heavy, rough fiber like the back side of carpeting and lined with catnip.

Make the post a fun place to be by placing toys on or around it, or by rubbing it with catnip, and put it in an accessible area. If you’re trying to discourage your cat from scratching a particular piece of furniture, try placing the post in front of it, gradually moving the post aside as your cat begins to use it regularly.

A quick squirt from a water bottle will let your cat know when it has made a wrong choice between your furniture and the scratching post. Training your cat to use its post helps increase the bond between the cat and owner by increasing communication.

Clipping the nails every week or two keeps nails short and less able to do damage. With the owner’s patience and training, most cats will allow nail trimming.

If possible, get your kitten used to having its feet handled and nails clipped while young. Let your veterinarian show you how to trim your cat’s nails. The only equipment necessary is a good pair of nail clippers. Don’t forget to praise your cat while you clip the nails, and reward him with a treat.


More info on the BBC website

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1 Comment

Sue · January 7, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Read this about the same issue in America


The declawing of domestic cats is a cruel mutilating operation and people are having this procedure done in the United States of America, without considering the full implication of the physical and mental effect on their cats. It is banned already in 24 countries. Declawing is banned in West Hollywood, California. We petition that it should be also banned in all the rest of the United States of America.

Not only does this major operation cause physical pain and mental distress, cats use their claws for balance, to jump, and to climb. Cats walk on their toes, not the pads of their feet, and declawing forces them to walk in an unnatural way. The claws play an important role in grooming, and that grooming is the way a cat helps to control its body temperature, its scent signals, and more.

Quote from the American Veterinary Medical Association: ‘Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively’ Which of course means this mutilating operation is supposed to be as a last resort. Yet some veterinarians are performing it routinely, including on kittens, on demand from their clients.

This is from a quote from one State’s Head of Veterinary Medicine: ‘most veterinarians encourage declawing at a reasonably young age’ Surely, instead of encouraging it at all, veterinarians should be educating their clients as to the enormity and consequences of this procedure to their cats and to the alternatives to this drastic step.

Misconceptions about Declawing There are several misconceptions about declawing. It does not make cats more “mellow.” Some declawed cats undergo a profound personality change. They may be morose, reclusive, and withdrawn, or they may be irritable, aggressive, and unpredictable. Declawed cats feel so insecure, lacking their first line of defence that they tend to bite more often as a means of self-protection.

For anyone not yet convinced, please see the following web sites: http://www.pawproject.com/html/faqs.asp
read the comments to the right, on this link Warning: The following links include graphic descriptions, pictures of the barbaric procedure and pictures of some unfortunate cats who have suffered it.



To ban the declawing of cats in every state of the USA

The American Veterinary Medical Association


Ruth Ockendon Laycock
County Durham

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