Friday, March 4, 2011

Voicing My Opinion on Declawing

This post takes a more serious turn than my other recent posts. I want to discuss the act of declawing a cat. In case you don't know, I am front declawed. I was already declawed when Mom adopted me and we don't know when I had the surgery. I don't have any problems walking or scratching in my litter box, but I do tend to put the bitey on Mom and Dad quite often. That may be a result of my being declawed-we just don't know.

Here's the deal. Declawing is a very controversial procedure. Mom has done a lot of reading and is finding a lot of conflicting facts. She finds numerous websites that are against declawing. They show diagrams of what occurs during the declawing procedure (the technical term is onychectomy), pictures of paws that have just been through the procedure and contain anecdotal evidence of the negative impact declawing has on a cat. It goes without saying that a declawed cat has lost one of its primary means of defense. There are also claims that declawed cats have increased biting behaviors, possibly to replace the loss of the use of their claws. Sometimes a cat who has been declawed will develop an aversion to the litter box, presumably because they find it painful to dig or scratch in litter after the procedure.

Other websites, like the American Veterinary Medical Association, say that there is no evidence proving that declawed cats have these behavioral abnormalities. You can see what they have to say in their statement regarding the declawing of domestic cats. They do say, however, that declawing should only happen only after other means of preventing destructive behavior have been exhausted and the owner is fully educated about the procedure. The same type of stance is taken by the American Animal Hospital Association in this statement.

I will let you make your own decisions about the validity of the information out there. Mom made up her mind definitively, not after reading all of these differing opinions, but after she met Tigger at Wayside Waifs Wednesday evening.
He's a seven year old orange tabby who was begging for attention. He's got quite a voice on him! Mom talked to him and gave him some treats, then she noticed he was holding up his left front paw. She thought he was hurt until he put it down. Then, he picked up his other paw in the same fashion. She took a closer look and was horrified at what she saw.

Tigger is front declawed and both of his front paws are deformed. They look like they have just been mangled and it is obvious that he is in pain when he stands on them. Mom follows Declawing CrippledmyPaws on Facebook, but holding this boy in her arms made the horrors real.

Please think about Tigger before declawing a cat. There are so many alternatives that don't involve amputation of the toes at the last joint. You can trim your cat's nails, give it scratching posts or use Soft Paws (or other similar nail caps). A cat shouldn't be subjected to the pain and possible deformation declawing can cause.

By the way, Tigger is waiting for his forever home at Wayside Waifs! If you have love to give to a kitty, Tigger is ready to give love back!

You can also check out my pal Ryker's blog where his Mom also posted about Tigger.


  1. My friend... I'm afraid I couldn't read your whole blog, the topic upsets me so much (Rumblemum is also very, very sad) Why on earth would anyone want to do such a horrible, horrible thing. It's good that you're drawing attention to such a serious topic, even if we couldn't read it all the way thru.

    Hopefully it'll stop someone else from having this torture inflicted on a poor kitty.

  2. Hi Sebastian

    I found your blog through today's Pet Blog Hop.

    I like being virtual friends with cats but I'm not able to get close to them in real life I'm afraid.

    But I have a cat cousin called Mickey who is 20 and he's always been a house cat and he has a lovely life scratching his scratching posts and playing and jumping around his little kingdom even at his advanced age.

    His mum and dad would never have him declawed. He's very gentle with humans and pats them softly on the arm to get their attention and saves his claws for all the cat surfaces he knows are his to scratch. I think because he's never got bored and always has lots to do he's never been a nuisance with his claws.

    But declawing doesn't sound right to me.

    Thanks for this post.

    Love and licks Winnie.

  3. Dat poor kitten dat has the deformed paws - whoever did dat surgery should not be allowed to practice medicine ever again. I is front delawed, but really know how to use my hind claws quite well. My peeps did not do this to me - I came that way when I was adopted. I do put the bitey on my oomans now and then, but I can't hurt dem because I has no toothies either (another long story) M is very careful to keep me inside or on a leash and watched closely so no harm comes to me. I am defenseless yes. But she hasn't noticed any unusual problems with me. I have nice looking front paws actually and can run and play with the best of dem. Would M ever do this to a kitty, - she says no because there are so many more options available now den there were 50 years ago.

  4. We have a friend who's a Vet Tech who told us declawing was amputation. It involves amputating a cat's paws up to the knuckle. It should be outlawed. Gramma had her first cat declawed because back then she didn't know any better. After Faith came home from hospital all bandaged up, she vowed she'd never do it again. She never had another cat declawed.

  5. Good post! Here's another reason not to declaw. Long time ago I &ad a sweet grey cat named Jasmine. We had her declawed to save furniture. We were told it was a simple procedure and she would still be able to climb a tree with her back claws. All was fine until a few months later we found her lifeless body in a field behind our house. She was attacked by an animal and couldn't defend herself with no tree in sight. I've never declawed my cats since!

  6. My Mommeh volunteered for a few years at a cat rescue shelter, and she saw several cats the morning after they had their declaw surgery. They were always very, very painful. Even though the paws were wrapped up, most of the cats had chewed at the bandages and there was usually blood in the cage. Some vets use lasers or scalpels, but lots of times it is done with a guillotine clipper. ::shudders::

  7. I watched a declawing procedure recently- I didn't realize it involved amputating up to the first knuckle. Horrifying.

  8. Ma worked at a vet and assisted with declaws by holding up the arms and keeping count. She knows all too well how horrible this is. Body parts laying there on the table. The vet would use a guillotine dog nail clipper. A way to explain the feeling she could feel thru the legs is have your human take 2 pensils and hold them together tight with one hand and have someone cut the ends off with a wire cutter. Declawing involves tendons and bone.
    Ma also cared for and bathed many cats. The declawed ones always learned to use their teeth and back claws. Many in pain all thier life holding them up when possible or keeping them tucked in. It sickens us that this cruel practice is not outlawed in the US, as it is in many countries now.
    Humans say it is to save their furniture... well then they shouldn't have any pets nor any children if an object is more important than a living being. Are they gonna save their couch first when there is a fire?

  9. I'm sorry your Mom had to do that. I wish it was outlawed in the U.S. too. Maybe someday it will be.