Declawing the cat became common in veterinary practice in the 1970s. Many veterinarians are still offering this inhumane procedure to cat owners. Most cat lovers look down on this inhumane practice. Here is the scoop on declawing your cat, and why it isn’t necessary. 

A cat's claws.
Declawing cats is inhumane and most vets are abounding this practice.
Declawing cats is inhumane and most vets are abounding this practice.
Photo credit Liliya Lisa from unsplash.com

How is Cat Declawing Done?

Declawing the cat is a surgical procedure that permanently removes the last bone of the cat’s digits. The cat has three bones on each of her fingers. Removing the last one prevents nails from growing back ever again. The skin on the tips of the paws is then glued with surgical glue and wrapped with bandages. Declawing is usually done only on the front paws. 

The Paw Project

Veterinarians and doctors confirm that this is the equivalent of having the tips of your fingers removed. I think it is as inhumane as cutting someone’s tongue because he/she talks too much. Consider how inhumane it would be to surgically remove the tips of your fingers to satisfy someone’s need to protect material possessions. 

Inhumane Cat Declawing — Why People Do It

The number one reason people declaw their cats is to protect their furniture. If you are so weirdly attached to your furniture that you are willing to cut part of the cat off, maybe you are not ready to be a cat parent. Consider a turtle!

Veterinarians and some cat owners will tell you that there are legitimate reasons for this inhumane practice. The most common one is that if not declawed, the cat can face euthanasia.

An adult cat scratching a bar stool. Cats scratch the furniture. Is that reason enough to declaw this handsome fellow.
Cats scratch the furniture. Is that reason enough to declaw this handsome fellow.
Photo credit Craig Adderley
From pexels.com

Declawing the cat is an inhumane practice even though some have argued it fixes behavioral problems. It doesn’t. There aren’t any studies nor accounts of pet owners proving that declawing the cat makes a better cat. 

They are accounts though of declawed cat’s health declining. Arthritis is among the most common health problems that occur in declawed cats. If the cat is in bad shape, he will stop playing, hunting, climbing, and protecting his territory. Some people think that that makes a “better” cat.  

Cats Need Their Claws

Every part of the body has a function. The cat’s claws are there for a reason. It is inhumane to take away the cat’s natural ability to climb, scratch, stretch, hunt, and protect themselves. You may think your cat is safe, but cats believe differently. The cat is a natural hunter, and she thinks there is danger in her surroundings.

A white fluffy cat climbing on a tree.Cat declawing is inhumane because it robs the cat from its natural defensive mechanism.
Cat declawing is inhumane because it robs the cat from its natural defensive mechanism.
Photo credit Peng Louis from pexels.com

Cats need her claws to balance, run, hide, and win a dispute with people and other animals. Scratching is a typical cat’s behavior, and a declawed cat won’t be able to leave her scent on her territory. Also, the claws are essential to stretching, which cats do for enjoyment and physical exercise.

Under no circumstances should you let a declawed cat go outside. She is without physical ability now to survive in the outside world. Furthermore, cats have ritualistic behavior patterns that are essential to their mental well-being. Cats pull the tips of their digits as part of their ritualistic behavior. So, cats need their claws to be cats. 

Why is Declawing Cats Legal? 

The good news is that declawing is not legal everywhere. It varies from county to county. For example, declawing your cat is illegal in Las Angeles county. Besides, some vets just don’t practice this inhumane procedure, mostly because there are other ways to protect the furniture. ASPCA has long been opposed to the inhumane practice.  

A sign with the words stop on it. Cat declawing is inhumane and we should put a stop to it.
Cat declawing is inhumane and we should put a stop to it.
Photo credit Jose Aragones from unsplash.com

So how is it still legal? ASPCA and veterinarians have agreed that cat declawing is acceptable in some cases. Typically, when “behavioral and environmental alternatives have been fully explored, have proven to be ineffective, and the cat is at grave risk of euthanasia.” (ASPCA)

It is hard to put forbiddance regulations on something acceptable in some cases. So, it is up to veterinarians and cat owners to put a stop on this inhumane practice. 

Alternatives to Declawing Cats 

You don’t have to go down this inhumane road. There are many alternatives to declawing your cat. If protecting the furniture is your biggest issue, getting a stretching post will help you a lot. It needs to be secured and tall enough so the cat can hook his claws to stretch the entire length of his body. Place those where your cat is most likely to scratch. A little bit of catnip will go a long way to attract your cat in that particular area. 

A cat is playing with a cat toy. Props, training, and cat caps make cat declawing unnecessary.
Props, training, and cat caps make cat declawing unnecessary.
Photo credit Willian Justen de Vasconcellos from unsplash.com

You can also try cat caps. Cat caps are like fake nails. They are glued to the trimmed nails of the cat. The tips of the caps aren’t sharp like regular cat nails. They are tricky to set, but a pet groomer should be able to perform this manicure procedure. 

You can avoid declawing your cat by spending more time and effort into training. Cats can be trained to do or not do something. That doesn’t mean the cat will stop scratching, but you can teach her to scratch something else and not the furniture.