De-Clawing Your Cat

Declawing is a very controversial topic in the cat community. If you’re considering declawing your cat or kitten, there are some important things you should know before you do.

Declawing is not a simple procedure, it’s a serious surgery. The normal declawing procedure involves removing the first part of the bone and a portion of the pad. On a human, this would be like removing the tip of the a finger. A less common procedure known as “cosmetic declawing” involves dissecting the claw and a tiny piece of bone. This procedure is more difficult, time-consuming and much less common.

Many people are opposed to cat declawing. The surgery is invasive, painful, and is not free of complications. Cat declawing doesn’t provide any benefit to the cat (rather, it can lead to a new set of problems), solely to the owner. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners have taken the stance that cat declawing is unnecessary and should only be considered  appropriate for cats that otherwise would be given up or for whose owners are immunocompromised (those people cannot be exposed to the bacteria on a cat’s claws).

There are solutions to cat scratching other than declawing! Vinyl nail caps may be applied the tips of claws to prevent damage from scratching, and you should be able to trim your cat’s claws with a little bit of practice. You can also train your cat to scratch appropriately, but because it’s a natural behavior for your cat, don’t expect to eliminate it entirely.  All of these alternatives are pain-free and won’t put your cat at risk for complications from the declawing procedure later on.