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Declawing resources  

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

From time to time, a post will crop up on the forum along the lines of "I am thinking of getting my cat declawed. Is this a good idea or not?

Almost immediately members will begin responding. Some pro- most against. The stance of this cat welfare board administration team is that declawing is an unneccessary procedure, more often than not, performed because the owner wants it done to save furniture, carpeting, or other home furnishings.

There are so many other alternatives to declawing today. Years ago you couldn't say that, but now with soft paws, better scratching posts, tall cat condos, innovative cat toys and owners learning how to redirect a cat's natural tendencies (which is to scratch), the need for declawing should be declining.

Why do cats scratch?

When cats scratch, they are communicating with each other. They are leaving visible marks on items, that now since they have clawed the item, bears their original scent. Their mark, they are telling other cats that they are in the area so be warned.

Cats have scent glands in their paws, so when they scratch their scent is left on the item. It is instinct that drives them. They are not trying to annoy you, or doing this for any other reason other than their natural instinct drives them to scratch. Even declawed cats will continue to scratch after the surgery. Again it is their instinct to scratch.

Cats scratch during play, they scratch to shed their nail casings, and they scratch to stretch their body and stay limber. They need their claws/toes for balance, to walk properly, to be able to jump to high places, and most importantly to protect themselves.

So let's take a look at declawing and find out what its all about. Putting aside the hype for a moment and looking at websites that are informative, and thought-provoking. Declawing is it an unneccessary surgery that nine times out of ten, it is being done to protect furniture, carpet or appease a landlord? How often is it performed for medical or health reasons.

Declawing is not a "routine procedure" that is done with a spay/neuter, although there are places that present it as such.

Here are some websites:

Also Tufts University of Veterinary Medicine that is also a hospital will NOT declaw cats.

Alternatives to declawing:

Most cats can be taught to use appropriate scratching items, and with proper care of their claws, i.e. regular trimming, accidental or playful painful scratches to humans or other cats can be all but eliminated.

Scratching posts- you want tall sturdy scratching posts in prime locations.

Turbo scratchers work well

Designated scratching chair- go to a thrift store and purchase an old armchair. Allow the cats to scratch only that chair, and they will leave your other furniture alone.

The following are position statements from a variety of well-respected animal welfare organizations:

AVMA Position Statement on the Declawing of Domestic Cats
The Cat Fanciers™ Association Position on Declawing.
The Humane Society™s Position on Cosmetic Surgery for Animals.
PetFinder - Should I declaw my cat?

We hope that you will find these links helpful in making an informed decision regarding whether or not to declaw your cat. Obviously we cannot control your decision, but if you post in our forums and are pro-declawing, there is a strong chance you will receive strong opposition.

Most of us believe that cats are perfect just the way they are and stripping them of their natural protection is not right. Is it mutilation? No, but it is painful, and unneccessary and it is a pain that no cat should have to undergo.

post #2 of 2
Here are some TCS articles that also deal with declawing:

Why cats should NOT be declawed
Declaw - More than just a Manicure
Declawing and Alternatives
A Personal look at Declawing
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