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Declawing - is it right for your cat?

Your cat is tearing up your expensive furniture (and rugs, and chairs, and....) and your spouse is threatening to turn the cat out if you don't make it stop. You think declawing is a quick fix - but first the facts:

  • It is not as simple as removing the nail; it is amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on you, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.


  • It has no medical benefits to the cat.

  • Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain.

  • There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.

  • There are long-term risks of residual pain (like people feel in phantom limbs), lameness and behavioral problems such as litter box avoidance and aggression.

  • Many countries have banned declawing.

  • The Humane Society of the United States opposes declawing except for the rare cases when it is necessary for medical purposes, such as the removal of cancerous nail bed tumors.

The Paw Project (see here) is a good resource for more information about declawing. BUT you love your spouse and furniture and the clawing has to stop!