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Why You Should Not DeClaw Your Cat

People often mistakenly believe that declawing their cats is a harmless "quick fix" for unwanted scratching. They don't realize that declawing your cat is actually a surgical amputation of the first joint of the cat's toes. If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Declawed cats are often chronically painful, and may develop aggression or litter box problems. Declawing can also lead to lasting physical problems for your cat. Claws are a physically, socially, and emotionally vital part of every cat. Scratching, for a cat, is not only a natural act, but a necessary one as well. It isn't done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles. If you have a cat that scratches unwanted areas, there are things you can do to help redirect them. Here is a link to some suggestions from cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy: How To Stop Your Cats From Scratching Furniture

Many countries have already 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. Cats are typically about 8 weeks old when they begin scratching. That's the ideal time to train them to use a scratching post and allow nail trims. Even for fully grown cats, educated pet parents can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily.

For cats, pain continues even after the surgery. Nails can sometimes grow back inside of the paw, causing extreme pain that you can't see. Toes are a crucial part of our balance, and it's no different for cats. Cats have to re-learn to walk after being declawed. Not just that, but cats walk on their toes, so walking with an altered gait can affect all of the joints of the leg, resulting later in arthritis of the hip and other joints. Declawing can also lead to behavioral issues like your cat urinating outside of the litterbox (on carpets, bedding, furniture, etc.) Not just avoidance of the litterbox, but they can become aggressive and lead to biting. The biting can also be very unpredictable, as scratching is usually their warning sign, but since they won't be able to scratch, inevitably, that just leaves biting. Not just that, but if your cat escapes the home, they are now absolutely defenseless without their claws. By the time they get close enough to bite their predator, it may be too late.

Not only is declawing your cat painful and inhumane, it can lead to many other unwanted issues and should be avoided, unless medically necessary (not because they're scratching).


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