What is Declawing
I'm Little Bob and I was rescued from the shelter by Kitten Rescue - they saved my life!Declawing a cat is more than removal of the cat's nail.  Cats' claws are part of their toe bones.  The procedure known as "declawing" is the surgical removal of the entire end of the cat's toe, chopping off the bone and cutting through the attaching ligaments and tendon.  A more accurate term would be "de-knuckling".

Please do not declaw your cats.  It is neither an effective nor compassionate way to deal with a cat's behaviroal problems, such as unwanted scratching.  Cats use their claws to exercise, play, stretch, climb, hunt and mark their territory. Although your cat might use your hands or furniture for these activities, declawing is NOT the answer and there are many other ways to guide your cat to healthy claw activity.

The declawing operation itself is the human equivalent of removing the first joint of all your fingers. Veterinary experts report that the lack of these joints impairs the cat's balance and can cause weakness from muscular disease. Declawing also makes a cat feel defenseless and can affect their personality, making them skittish or nervous biters. In rescue work, we see many declawed cats that have been given up by their owners. Why? Because these cats still had behavioral problems that were worsened by not having their claws.

Take it from an expert. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of The Cat Who Cried For Help, offers this perspective on the procedure:

"Declawing involves more than simply trimming a cat's nails to the quick; it actually involves amputation of the tips of the digits, bones and all. The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by the overwhelming pain. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deformdisfiguredisjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure servesas a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.


There are alternatives to declawing. Exercise and play with your cat regularly. Give him a scratching post and teach him to use it. Trim your cat's nails on a regular basis. And, of course, talk to your vet or cat-owner friends about ways to "train" your cat to exercise its natural instincts in non-destructive ways. A squirt bottle is a great way to teach a cat not to scratch on particular surfaces. It doesn't hurt them and if you are persistent, they will get the message. There is also a product called Soft Paws. This is a fake nail which is not sharp at the tip, which fits over your cats claws. It is sold in pet stores and veterinarian clinics. And if you are adamant about having a kitty without claws, why not adopt a previously declawed kitty?

Here are some other web pages with great information on the declaw procedure:


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