Declawing is a painful, risk-filled procedure that is done only for the convenience of humans. There are only extremely rare instances, when claws are affected by a medical condition, that declawing cats can be considered anything but inhumane.
In the United Kingdom, declawing was outlawed by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which explicitly prohibits “interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of the animal, otherwise than for the purposes of its medical treatment.” California and New York each banned declawing, as did the city of Denver, Colorado. Some veterinary chains like Banfield Pet Hospital have decided not to practice declawing surgery.
“Just say no – they like their toes,” said Tulsa SPCA veterinarian Dr. Megan Buford.
Cats need their claws because they use them. Yes, they like to scratch. If your cat is scratching your furniture or carpet, buy or make a good scratching post, and train your cat to use it.
Here are reasons to keep your cat’s claws:
Cats need claws for protection
If your cat ever gets outside and doesn’t have claws, he will be defenseless. Cats use their claws to climb trees, which can help them escape from dangerous situations.
Cats need claws for exercise
Scratching is a great form of exercise and cats use their claws for stretching their muscles.
Cats need claws for marking territory
Scratching communicates a cat’s presence with both physical and scent marks. Scratching is an emotional outlet just like any form of communication.
Cats need claws for good health
Declawing is amputating the claw and related bone and muscle tissue. Without their claws, cats often have trouble balancing. Many declawed cats suffer from joint stiffness and arthritis. Because their paws often remain painful from the surgery, they avoid scratching in the use of their litter boxes.
Train your cat to use a scratching post:
How to trim a cat’s claws: