Love Your Cat’s Claws: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Declaw Your Cat

We’ve all had that experience: Whiskers starts digging their claws into the brand new sofa and now there are scratch marks all over it. Some people spray them with water or say, “No,” in a firm tone to have them understand the consequences. However, there are some owners who start considering declawing their cat.

Photo Credit: jann

From what I’ve seen, many pet owners don’t know what a declawing procedure entails, thinking it is a simple procedure much like a manicure is to a human. According to The Humane Society of the United States, “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”  While there are good reasons to declaw (i.e. to remove a tumor), more often than not the procedure is altogether unnecessary.

Here are 5 reasons not to declaw your cat:

  1. It’s unnatural. Cats don’t scratch up a chair or door facing for fun or to get even because you punished them. The Humane Society reveals that they scratch to “mark their territory and stretch their muscles.” While it may seem to us humans that a cat does whatever it wants without rhyme or reason, everything they do is based on natural instinct and their claws help them with these instincts.
  2. Image credit: Nile

    It doesn’t benefit your cat. There are no medical benefits to removing your cat’s claws. In fact, you and Fluffy both would be a lot happier bonding through training them to use a scratching post instead of the furniture.

  3. It’s painful! The standard process of declawing is hard to think about without cringing. It involves amputation with a scalpel or guillotine clippers. The wounds are closed up with stitches or glue, and then the cat’s feet are bandaged up. According to the Humane Society’s page, “If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.” Ouch!
  4. There are post-surgery risks. After the procedure, your cat’s paws can get infected, tissue in the paws can die, and in the long run the procedure could cause lameness and back pain. The claws could grow back improperly, and the cat could get nerve damage or develop bone spurs.
  5. Cats need their claws to defend themselves. Without claws, cats lose their main source of defense and can get seriously injured if attacked in the wild.

Declawing is an extremely painful and risky procedure that your cat does not need to be put through unless the alternative is terminal illness or euthanasia. If you think you might need to declaw your cat, have a conversation with your veterinarian about alternatives first so you can avoid declawing them if possible.

Would you ever declaw your cat? Share your answers with us in the comments!

Featured Image: jackmac34 (modified)

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