IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL…
The full pads of your feet are deeply lacerated, as are your knees, elbows and hands. You cannot bear weight on any part of any limb. You crave food, thirst for water, and need to use the toilet, but each movement toward fulfilling life’s most basic needs causes pain. Your gait changes and spine twinges as your posture shifts to find comfort.
Now imagine that you haven’t been told what happened to you, that the direct pain will last 3 weeks, or that phantom pain from nerve damage and perpetual discomfort of physical bone hindrance will likely follow …
This is the experience of a declawed cat.
HOW CLAWS ARE REMOVED
To remove the claw portion of a cat’s anatomy requires full amputation of the last bone of each toe. A cat’s toes are essential to balance, mobility and survival. In the article “Declawing Cats: Far Worse Than a Manicure,” The Humane Society of the United States says, “If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”
For more about a cat’s life after declawing, and beware the gruesome images, visit Save-our-paws.org.
THE AMERICAN WAY
The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and other countries have deemed declawing illegal due to ethical concerns. In “Declawing Cats Q&A: Positives, Negatives, and Alternatives,” Atlanta veterinarian Drew Weigner, certified specialist in feline medicine by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, tells WebMD that “Some of these countries ban it outright, while more often the policy says it should not be done, but if a vet determines it’s medically necessary it’s OK to do it.”
In America, cat declawing is often seen as a damage deterring convenience, an easy alternative in a quick fix society. Of course, declawing is warranted in some situations, but not to keep the couch intact.
WHEN IS DECLAWING NECESSARY?
Weigner says, “Medically, sometimes you have to remove a claw if the claw is damaged beyond repair or if it has a tumor. Sometimes it’s also trauma to the owners. There are people whose immune systems are suppressed or the elderly on blood thinners who can’t be exposed to the bacteria on a cat’s claws.” Otherwise, she believes what “it really boils down to, cats are born with claws and they should keep them.”
DAMAGE CONTROL: HOUSE AND CAT
Fear not for your household furnishings in the face of denounced cat declawing. Veterinarian Christianne Schelling, DVM, offers more than a few effective and humane methods to avoid destruction at Declawing.com:
Cat Scratching Solutions provides many solutions as well as insight into the psychology of why cats scratch. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I’ve found is Soft Paws®.
IN OUR EXPERIENCE…
With two ridiculously playful, indoor tomboy cats in a single household, I’m here to tell you that the damage can be managed. All it takes is a little patience, attention and plenty of appropriate places for cats to scratch.
We offer plenty of scratching toys and trim our cats’ nails using the Ultimate Touch Cat Claw Clipper (Amazon affiliate link), not only to avoid destruction of the house but, more importantly, to prevent our wrestling contenders from clawing each other’s eyes out. I love this tool because the blade truly clips and does not crack the cats’ nails.
At first, we could only clip 1 or 2 nails in an evening while casually watching TV, gauging stress and never pushing beyond our cat’s tolerance levels. With weekly attempts, they quickly learned to trust. We can now do 80 claws in roughly 5-10 minutes, doling out lots of praise and petting between the clipping of each.
THE ONLY UNSOLVED MYSTERY LEFT…
Jed and Jackson slam into walls and shelves mid-chase, knocking items over time and time again … no matter how much I rearrange. Who’s got a remedy for that?
FOR MORE GREAT INFORMATION…
This article is featured on Sensible Feline Blogger Edition, a free, online resource for cat lovers written by cat lovers and sponsored by World’s Best Cat Litter. Be sure to visit for more great cat topics such as:
- “Making Vet Visits Less Stressful for Your Cat” by aFURmation
- “Dental Hygiene in Cats” by FloppyCats
- “Don’t Fear the Virus: FIV is not a Tragedy” by Paws and Effect
- “Overcoming the Litterbox Blues” by Romeo the Cat
- and much, much more…