Should I Declaw My Cat?

If your cat has destroyed your sofa, it may be tempting to consider declawing him or her. Others might argue that declawing a cat is cruel. But, it may be a matter of being cruel to be kind, because it might be the only way you would be able to keep your cat. People who own fine furniture should think twice before becoming pet owners. However, if you already have a cat, you might have to take this measure. There are a number of things to consider before you make your final decision whether to declaw your cat or not.

Declawing is a surgical procedure that removes the entire section where the claw grows called the ungual crest. This is not just the claw, but is actually part of the bone. This procedure would be like removing the fingertip and the first joint on a human hand. Think about how shocked you would be to wake up and realize the tip of your finger has been permanently removed. More importantly, think about not being able to understand why. This is the reason many people believe declawing is too traumatic for a cat. In addition, it effectively “punishes” the pet permanently for practicing its natural instinct. At the same time, there are a number of pet owners who feel they have no choice and must resort to declawing.



Declawing is done with a scalpel or a laser. After surgery, your cat will require ample recovery time. There will be soreness after the portion of the bone has been removed, and the cat may have difficulty playing or manipulating objects. He or she may avoid their litter box, and you may end up facing some toilet accidents. In addition, you may have to work to rebuild your relationship with your cat; who is likely to be upset after having had its claws removed.

Declawing should always be a last resort to dealing with the problem of cats scratching furniture. Try everything prior to declawing, including getting a scratching post and penalizing scratching. Some cats scratch as a way to be let outside, and are counting on this “punishment.” If you are living in a place where it is safe to have cats spend time outside, then put the cat outdoors if he or she insists on scratching. While many people believe that cats cannot be trained, it is possible to encourage cats, from the time they are kittens, not to scratch furniture. If you have tried everything and nothing has worked, consider putting vinyl nail tips on your cat. Also, be sure to trim your cats’ claws regularly.

If you want to declaw your cat because he or she is scratching humans, consult your veterinarian. Cat scratches can lead to health issues if they penetrate the skin, and should be taken seriously. Small children can be affected emotionally by having their pet scratch them constantly, and this may be a reason to declaw the cat. However, take into consideration how difficult declawing is for your cat and only do so if the only other alternative is giving the cat away.

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