Originally Posted by eburgess
declawing is a procedure that removes the nails. Pretty basic, can cause pain just as any surgery. It has it's enemies, but it's up to the owners. Most people who keep thier cats indoors all the time opt to declaw thier cats, mostly only the front claws. I suggest to ANYONE thinking about declawing thier cats I recommend to learn as much as you can about it BEFORE your cat goes in for it. Ask your vet any and all questions you may have. It is better to get it does when you get the cats spayed or neutered, or when they are kittens. This is because if you wait until they are adults the weight of the cat may cause complications and aditional pain. If the cat's scratching begins to be a problem people start to look into it too.
Even though I'm a strong supporter of the procedure, I rarely would reccomend it as anything but a last resort solution. There are indeed plenty of veterinarians who will push the procedure simply because it generates income rather than because it is absolutely necessary, but there are also those that keep an open mind. [I reccomend the latter
Also, many people that either have declawed cats, or that consider declawing as a 'standard' practice, don't know that there are other options available. Most of these alternatives are extremely successful, and pose less risk to the animal. Slowly but steadily, more and more veterinarians are at the very least, starting to discuss the surgery in a more open fashion.
The only caution that I would offer to anyone looking into this procedure, is that there is a large amount of misinformation around regarding declawing. There are numerous organizations and websites that take some of the worst case scenarios, namely making an example of the complications of an incorrect procedure and portraying such an uncommon occurrances as if they were routine occurrances. As with anything concerning your animals health, the best resource on this topic is a veterinarian, ideally who is very familiar with the procedure and is patient enough to discuss the procedure with you.
I would venture to say that a large amount of cats who are declawed, were declawed by owners that simply didn't understand that they have a choice. Yet at the same time, the vast majority of cats that are declawed live long, healthy, happy lives. For the most part, cats are declawed, not because they have to be, but because they can be.
Declawing is a practice that is very misunderstood, I wouldn't classify it as either "Right" or "Wrong". It's merely one of many choices available to a cat owner, a choice to be heavily considered, but nonetheless still a choice.