Declawing Cats

What is declawing?

The term “declaw” is used to describe the surgical removal the cat’s toe nail and is usually done to prevent destructive behavior such a clawing the furniture or carpets.

Is declawing cruel to the cat?

If the veterinarian is using the right surgical technique and administering anti-pain medications, declawing can be done safely and with minimal discomfort. There should be no long-term side effects from declawing. In fact, most cats don’t even realize it has been done. They will still use their feet as if they have their claws.

Is declawing done routinely like spaying and neutering?

No. Declawing is reserved for indoor only cats and only after training techniques have failed. Most cats can be taught to use their claws in an acceptable way. But if your cat is resistant to training, it may be better for the cat to be declawed and allowed to remain safely indoors, than to keep their claws and be put outdoors where they are exposed to more disease and injury.

So what should cat owners know before considering declawing their cat?

Declawing should be considered only after other training efforts have failed. Cats are more trainable than you realize and most cats can be taught to use their claws in an acceptable way. Discuss the surgery and the technique with your veterinarian. Some techniques are better than others. Proper use of pain medications at the time of surgery is also very important. Declawed cats should remain as indoor pets.