Humane Living

Declawing: An Inhumane Choice

Declawing of cats continues to be a controversial topic. For years, declawing was viewed as a common medical procedure for domestic cats, and often was even recommended.

However, as more cat lovers become educated on the lasting effects of this invasive and typically unnecessary medical procedure, declawing is performed less and protested more.

Many people mistakenly believe declawing is a simple nail trim or nail extraction. The surgical procedure of declawing, an onychectomy, actually involves removing part or all of a cat’s third toe bones and the attached claws. The American Association of Feline Practitioner’s website explains that the surgery causes a higher level of pain than spay or neuter, and cats can suffer from post-operative complications including hemorrhaging and infection. Long-term problems, such as debilitating arthritis and chronic pain, may also ensue. Guardians report that some declawed cats seem to associate the pain in their paws with the burying practices in litter boxes, which leads to elimination in other less desirable places.

As more cat guardians become aware of the problems resulting from declawing, a growing number of cities in the United States and around the world are banning the practice. To date, seven California cities prohibit declawing surgery.

Experts offer various humane alternatives to declawing, including training techniques for teaching your cat to scratch on appropriate surfaces. PAWS doesn’t perform declawing surgery, and we encourage guardians who may be frustrated by their cat’s clawing behaviors to visit and for advice on how to manage these natural scratching habits.

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