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The Truth About Declawing Cats

cat paws close up

The Truth About Declawing Cats

Many unsuspecting, and therefore uneducated people seek to declaw their cats in an attempt to prevent the cat from scratching and clawing at furniture and other items in the home.

Declawing a cat is not only unnecessary, but the very act also is inhumane and prevents a cat from carrying out an innate behavior.

In fact, many countries ban the act of declawing a cat and while declawing is not banned in the United States, some municipalities have restrictions regarding it. Scratching is a natural and necessary behavior that should not be prevented, rather redirected instead.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

cat scratching couch and stretchingScratching begins in cats at about 8 weeks old. It is actually purposeful in cats and is never done to intentionally destroy items around the home. Scratching is a cat’s primal and an instinctual urge; It’s something they do their entire life.

In fact, cats scratch for a few reasons such as,

  • Marking their territory by leaving both a visual mark and their scent (from a scent gland they have on their paws)
  • Stretching their bodies, and to flex their feet and claws
  • Removing dead husks (outer layer) from their claws

What is Declawing?

Many people think that declawing is simply removing a cat’s nails. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. There are multiple ways in which a cat is declawed. The most common method is amputating the last bone on each of a cat’s toes using a scalpel or clippers. That would be like cutting off the tips of your fingers at the end of each knuckle. In this procedure, the cat’s affected appendages are stitched or glued and then bandaged.


Another method of declawing a cat is through the use of lasers. The lasers are used to amputate the last toe bone as well, however, the laser cuts via heat and vaporization. Lastly, scratching can also be addressed through a tendonectomy. In this procedure, the tendon that is attached to each claw is cut. This prevents the cat from controlling his own claws. Even though claws are left with this procedure, similar effects to declawing are found such as

  • Infections
  • Bleeding
  • Bone spurs
  • Nerve damage
  • The death of tissue
  • Lifelong pain in the paws and back
  • Lameness

Preventing Unwanted Scratching is Not as Hard as You Think

cat on scratcher Preventing scratching takes minimal effort, really. First of all, scratching posts and boards can be bought from pet supply stores all over. There are many different kinds on the market. Cat trees can also be used as appropriate scratch posts. You can also deter the behavior if you catch the cat in the act. Many people find success with spraying a cat with a water bottle or even making a loud noise when the cat engages in scratching any inappropriate items.

Finally, regular trimming of your cat’s nails can reduce damage if the cat does scratch your furniture. This can even be done at home. These methods of prevention may take time and patience, but that is much better than mutilating a cat’s toes.

What You Should Know About Declawing

Remember, declawing a cat is inhumane and cruel. Educate yourself and others on the procedure to minimize this still widespread act. Many veterinarians still don’t inform cat owners of the particulars of the procedure. It’s a sad, but true fact. Cats of all ages can be trained to use scratching posts.

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