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post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I know this has been debated before, but I was wondering what kind of problems crop up with a declawed cat.

I gave a rescued kitten to one of my co-workers, and she took very good care of him, but then had him declawed yesterday, because he was "ripping up her rugs and her chair". She knew if she brought it up earlier, we would have had more than one discussion about it. She says she knows that it means cutting the paws and "all that stuff" but I don't think she checked out the psychological aspects of the surgery. She says that she knows he will have a hard time jumping up on smooth things, but that is the way they learn how to handle things.

I tried to tell her that there were other problems that she might face, especially with the litter box, but she did not want to hear it.

What are some of the problems that people have encountered with declawed cats?
post #2 of 39
The two I've heard are biting (they seem to know that they don't have claws) and litter box aversion because it can be very painful for them to use it.
post #3 of 39
when I was little (30 yrs ago), getting your cat declawed was the norm....and I remember a few things. 1st the cat will never let you touch their paws....ever. Not that big a deal. But my cat snuck out 1 time (she was indoors only)....we looked everywehere for her and couldn't find her. 2 days later we heard her meowing at the back door. She was blinded in her 1 eye, it was scratched open, and horrific to see as a teenager, she was limping, and her face was scratched up really bad, her eye was swollen & dirty making it impossible to touch, we had to take her to the vet asap. She was permanently blinded by another animal (they don't know if it was a cat, possum, ground hog or what). And even worse than that, what used to be my carefree, proud good girl, was now always terrified and hiding. Her spirit was completely broken, and she was never the same again. If she had her claws, at least she would have had a chance....
post #4 of 39
There will be some cats who never really develop issues; others that have bad complications. I did a lot of research on declawing to write an article for Stray Pet Advocacy, and read quite a few medical studies on it. Here's what I found:

Any time a cat is put under anesthesia there is a risk of disability or death. Statistics on the rate of complications vary from as high as 29% (post-surgery discomfort/pain as reported by owners, Landsberg, 1991) to as low as 1.4% (as recorded computerized abstracts & medical records from a teaching hospital, Pollari et al., 1996). Potential physical complications include: hemorrhaging immediately following surgery or upon removal of bandages; regrowth of nail (would require additional surgery to correct); sequestrum or shattered nail or bone which causes infection/abscess; lameness or non-weight bearing; infection of incision site, joint stiffness or arthritis; and pain. Pain management is necessary following any major surgery. In addition, there is evidence that some declawed cats develop behavioral issues, such as jumping on tables more often than intact cats, litterbox avoidance, and biting.
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your help. I just feel so badly that I gave her the cat. I will keep these in mind, because if they start showing up, she will come and complain to me.

Thank you all again.
post #6 of 39
This might be unpopular (and unnecessary) advice, but I wouldn't harp on her or make her feel guilty for having declawed this poor kitty. I mean, its not going to change the fact that something terrible happened to this poor baby, but it might drive your coworker away if she was to need advice if her cat, for instance, became nippy or started inappropriately elminating. This way, you might also be in a position to try and head her off should she somehow get another cat and want to declaw this one too.

If she doesn't have you to explain kindly to her why her cat starts doing these things, this may end up being yet another cat given up due to behavioral problems caused by the owner's desire to declaw their kitty. But maybe if she has you to help her out, this kitten can remain in what seems like a good, but ignorant, home, and maybe she will learn something of the horrors of declawing and how cruel it really is. Its just a thought...
post #7 of 39
we rescued maia declawed shes a biter, and she has some box issues.
post #8 of 39
she's just a bad cat nothing to do with the claws
post #9 of 39
Originally Posted by luvmydoodsz View Post
she's just a bad cat nothing to do with the claws
post #10 of 39
My parents' cat Stowaway, who seemed to have somewhat fragile mental health to begin with, became more scared and paranoid after his declaw. My mom said when she saw him, she knew he was different and would never be the same again. That was eleven years ago, and she was right.
post #11 of 39
My cats had good medical/pain maintenance care.

Were declawed WHEN they were already in surgery for altering. I would have never put them "under" a second time to declaw! I got them altered/declawed at almost 4+ months old - the earlier the better for declawing - anything much later - I'd forget it.

They don't have problems with me touching their declawed feet

They have no problems with using the litter !!!

They were using the scratching poles (sisal rope on tree) before 3 weeks out of surgery (just to show that their feet weren't tender from the surgery).

Biting is no more than with a cat not declawed - I think that different personalities/environment/treatment might contribute to the "biting problem", not the declawing alone.

Declawing gives my cats the run of the house, and .... keeping the cat indoors may be a drawback to some - but my cats would be kept inside no matter what, anyway, but with claws they would be restricted to certain parts of the house.

They have a seven foot cat tree, and have no problems jumping into the highest shelf.

Declawing gives me a freedom of handling my cats without the fear of getting scratched (back feet can still be lethal, though) -- If I have to give medication, I only have to worry about the back legs . I also have problems seeing the claws - my reading glasses really don't help me see the claws clear enough to safely clip, or even apply the product to cover the claws.

I'd never get the back feet declawed.

To me, the most important key is to find a good vet that knows how to manage the recovery and pain. My cats got a pain patch 8 hours before surgery, then after surgery they added pain medication to their feet, the pain patch lasted until the 3rd day (if I recall correctly). They stayed in the hospital 3 days after the surgery day, so by the time I brought them home they were well on their way to healing - and they were not showing ANY pain then. Keeping them from jumping off things was my biggest problem - so I confined them in rooms with no place to climb, or areas with "soft" landings.

Our surgeon told us that before ? 5 years ago vets were unsure how much pain medication to administer safely to cats but they now have the information they need, and they are able to keep them out of pain safely.

Declawing, as any surgery, has problems, I'm sure - but my experience has been positive, and I'm really glad that I made the HARD decision to do it.

I'd like to add that you should consider the source of your information. I think that advice/information from a person with personal experience should carry more "weight" than information from what someone has "heard" about a cat after declawing --- remembering that experience is personal and can vary from person to person, and from cat to cat.

I realize that another source, against declawing, is coming from caring individuals in the medical field that have tender hearts towards these wonderful creatures and, after experiencing the actual events of the surgery, are deeply impacted by what they have witnessed resulting in an understandable outcry against this kind of surgery. My heart goes out to them, and I heard them while I was making my decision.

I was really undecided what I was going to do until about one week before they were (Phoebe & Simon) going into surgery for altering.

I evaluated all the factors (and I did do my research -- along with my previous experience) and concluded that we would have the surgery.

We don't have any regrets because the results have all been positive.

post #12 of 39
When we went looking for a cat, we wanted to find one that was already declawed. But, we quickly saw that if you combine declawing with a shy cat or put the declawed cat in uncomfortable circumstances (like loosing it's home and going to a rescue with strangers and other cats who have claws) you get a biter. Of all the cats we saw, accross the board the declawed cats were shy and nippy. Of course that has more to do with a combination of their circumstances and the lack of defense (claws).

So my point. I know a lot of declawed cats who are perfectly happy and healthy and loved. Never had any problems. But, if you declaw a cat, and then give it up, you may have put that cat in a situation where it will become reclusive and aggressive and not find a new home. The rescue volunteers told us that for all the people who have their kittens declawed, there are not a lot of people who want to adopt an adult cat who has been declawed.

Before coming on TCS, I had no idea what declawing actually entaled. I also had no idea that a cat with claws could live indoors and not rip up the furniture. Even after all the threads on here, I was warry to bring Carl home without Soft Paws on. But, he has no desire to scratch our furniture-he prefers the carpet (we are working on that). BUT, after just one claw trimming, the hooks on the end of his claws are gone, so while he can still grab the carpet with his claws, when he pulls his feet back, there is no damage. Once he gets the Soft Paws, this will be even less destructive. I just have to find something he likes to scratch.
post #13 of 39
As far as I know, there has only been one true scientific study regarding the effects of declawing (actually it studied the attitudes of owners regarding the procedure). 90% of owners were positive about the procedure and 5% reported negatively (don't know about the rest). However, there was a commentary by Dr. Nicholas Dodman (Tufts University) that said "what owners considered a success we considered a failure. In other words, owners ignored post-operative pain, withdrawn behavior, house soiling, increased biting years later, when participating in the study.

Clearly, I think someone needs to do a large scale study on this procedure. The study I described above only involved 57 cats.

My agreement with my husband before we got our kitten was that I would have him declawed (I know absolutely no one around here that doesn't do it). I was able to prove to him that I can manage my cat's claws by nail trimmings and lots of appropriate places to scratch. He isn't perfect but by keeping his nails trimmed he can't do much damage.

I think 4 mos is pretty young to be giving up on the nail trimming and training. I don't want to be too judgemental because if my cat didn't let me trim his nails or if he refused all scratching posts I might have made a different decision.

Anyhow, he is seven months now and I would NEVER take the chance of changing his wonderful personality.

As for your friend, whats done is done and I wouldn't worry about it.
post #14 of 39
Twitch urinates funny & if I do not use a Rubbermaid tub, she urinates outside the litterbox. I tried using an uncovered box, a box w/ a hood.....still had problems. She will not allow her feet to be touched. She was a different cat after being declawed. Twitch also walks funny. She keeps as much weight as possible off her front feet, twisting her legs & feet odd. She also would not play with any toys, like bat them with her front paws, for 2 years after beig declawed. She now bats at feather toys, pom-pom toys, & crinkle balls. Nothing solid that would hurt her toes(like plastic balls).

What makes me feel the worst about her being declawed is that she had to loose her teeth as well(gingivits). We go to great lengths to be sure she does NOT get outside...having no teeth & no claws makes her really vulnerable, but being deaf as well....she stands no chance surviving should she get outside.

I know of quite a few cats adopted from the shelter here that were declawed so the cat wouldn't hurt the kids. Then the cat started to bite & was returned to the shelter. We cannot hide the fact that the cat bites, we are blunt about any "problems" a cat has, therefore, making it harder to find that cat a new home!
post #15 of 39
I rescued Jasmine as an adult kitty whose former owners declawed her on her front paws. She is very gently...and rarely bites. I have noticed however she walks differently than my other girls, this is because when a kitty is declawed, the front part of their toes are amputated, as a result, they never really walk right again....many people don't notice -sometimes you can bairly tell...but they do walk differently than a cat who has not been declawed. As a result, this can put pressure on their spine and result in spinal problems- especially if the feline is overweight. She is absolutely terrified to have her feet touched- she hates it. She still has her back claws, so I trim those regurally and have to wrap her up in a towl and calm her down in order to have her cooperate. It's so sad to watch, but thankfully she is happy in her forever home with me and the other girls and will never have to go through anything like that again. All of my other kitties have their claws. I wish Jasmine's former owners would have been kindly told about Soft Claws before they had her declawed,....but mistakes happen and sometimes people don't realize everything that declawing entails before they have the procedure done. Many people have it done because years ago, it wasn't announced how bad it really is for the kitty. Hopefully now, with education and wonderful sites such as TCS, people can educate themselves on the details of declawing and try other methods such as soft claws. I guess the one thing I've really notice about Jasmine being a declawed kitty is that she is petrified to have anyone touch her paws (rightfully so) She also walks a little differently (I worry about her developing arthritious or other spinal issues as she ages- I have her checked out reguarally by the vet- so far no problems!! So that's good) One huge problem i've noticed is that she is unable to groom herself as well as my other girls- especially her rearend!!! I have to hold her down on a daily basis and get the baby wipes out after her...sometimes I have to bathe her bottom it is soo bad. (She's been examined by the vet and has had all other issues ruled out- it is definitely related to declawing). Cats use their front paws along with their nails to groom themselves and keep their fur clean...then they have that taken away from them, they loose those important "grooming tools" and are not as able to keep their fur clean and shiny as some non-declawed kitties. This varies from cat to cat, but I have definitely noticed a lot of grooming issues with declawed cats- Especially Persians!! We use to have to shave down several Persians at the shelters I volunteered at because they couldn't groom themselves- it was sad!/ Other than those issues, Jasmine is very loving and has brought soo much happiness into my home!! For anyone looking into adopting- I highly recommend adopting a wonderful adult kitty!!! So many of them need wonderful homes and often get overlooked! I adopted Jasmine as an adult....and I truely think she shows her greatfullness everyday towards everyone- she is soo sweet! She has also fit really well into my home with the other animals- She "adopted" Isabella as her baby when Izzy came along too! Ok, i'm done gushing now lol...sorry! I'm just soo in love with my sweet Jasmine!
post #16 of 39
My Gizmo is very small and slender, and moves differently than the three cats upstairs only in the sense that she is not massively overweight, and walks with the undulating body that a normal weight cat will use.

I can play with her front paws; we regularly play Bed Mice and I also bat at her front paws while she plays under a Mission chair.

She has a very strong grip, and I can only conclude that her doctor did a very good job on her. And Gizmo never bites; she has the sweetest disposition of any cat I've ever seen.
post #17 of 39
Please read this about declawing..


It's an very good story to show what happens in declawed cats!!!

Please talk her into Soft Claws..
post #18 of 39
The only reason a cat should EVER be declawed is for medical purposes--if a cat has ingrown or foot deformities. A person who can't deal with cat claws doesn't need a cat.

Declawing is a mutilation of the cat's physique. No good EVER comes to a cat because of it. It is done SOLELY for the convenience, selfishness and laziness of the owner, and personally, I think people who would do this shouldn't have cats, because their priority is NOT the health of the cat. This same type of person cuts the voice boxes out of dogs.

Cats walk on their toes. Declawing causes the cat to walk differently and can cause arthritis and joint problems.

Some cats get infections from the declawing that affect the heart, lungs and other organs that can kill them years later.

Some cats have phantom or real pain for the rest of their lives.

Some are so emotionally wrecked by the experience, they are never the same again.

Sure, some cats appear okay with it--but that doesn't mean they are. Cats hide pain better than any other animal. And seriously, how "okay" would we be if the first joint on every one of our fingers were removed?

I have 9 cats. They all have their claws. I love them more than a chair or couch or anything material. When they are operated on, it's to be spayed or neutered or for some other reason dealing with giving them better health, not possibly destroying their health. I kiss their wonderful feet often. I play with their toes and nails. I trim their nails when they start feeling like needles. I've always done it and while they may complain a little, it's no big deal.

As for your "friend", I'd simply say, "Maybe you should find your kitten a new home. I don't think that you really understand cat behaviour or what it means to be a "caretaker" of a cat. Let me get you a hamster." So what if she never comes to you with other problems she'll have with the kitten. Apparently she doesn't listen anyway.

I hope I get to "come back" as a cat some day. I think they are fantastic. But I can tell by the remarks made in this thread who I wouldn't want as my caretaker.
post #19 of 39
Bravo Gaia! I couldn't have said it better.

What saddens me is the cat doesn't have a voice; doesn't have a choice; doesn't have an opinion. They are silent victims of selfish people.

I'm sorry folks but I have five cats; a beautiful homes with expensive furniture that has been scratched beyond repair. I hope we don't get ganged up on here and we're allowed our opinions.

Do I get mad, frustrated and wish I never had a cat! Sure, I'm human but when I look at my babies, the importance of that shredded chair isn't so important. They are only doing what comes natural to them. Cats scartch. That's what they do.

I keep several scratching posts around, all shapes and sizes. Their favorite scratching place are my stairs that has brand new floral carpeting on them.

I just pick them up (when I catch them doing it) and bring them to a post. If I'm not in the mood, I just tell them to please stop scracthing the stairs. THey don't listen but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

You have pets, there are responsibilites and it's not always smooth but the joy they give you is more important than things!

Yes, I agree with Gaia, it's mutulation and should be outlawed.
post #20 of 39
Just a reminder to all, TCS is strongly against declawing as stated in the forum rules:

3. This website considers declawing a drastic way to curb cat behavior. A painful ordeal for your kitty we would suggest that declawing never be considered for any behavioral issue. Health issues are entirely different. It is up to you as a responsible pet owner to explore all the different options available instead of declawing. Your cat is dependant on you to make wise choices for her, and not put her into any more stress or discomfort. Please be a responsible pet owner and research this subject thoroughly. Understand that if you are pro-declaw in your posts, you will encounter opposition. Please learn more about alternatives for declawing here in our forums as well as on our website itself. Declaw - More than Just a Manicure. Hopefully those of you with claw-related problems will find solutions by spending time in our Behavior Forum.
Having said that, I would like to bring to your attention this part of the forum rules

TheCatSite.com Forums is dedicated to cat care & welfare. We are a worldwide forum and therefore a mix of different cultures, races and religions; there is always room for different opinions, however, intolerance, bigotry, and religious ridicule will not be tolerated. Additionally, there is no room for flames, slams, and personal vendettas that carry on to the public view.
Please be very careful in wording your posts. Personal attacks on other members is not allowed on this site. The orginal poster has stated that her friend has already declawed her cat and is wondering what possible problems could occur with declawing. Please keep your comments on topic.

I suggest you all read this thread:

post #21 of 39
Originally Posted by gaia33 View Post
... who can't deal with cat claws doesn't need a cat.
... No good EVER comes to a cat because of it. It is done SOLELY for the convenience, selfishness and laziness of the owner, and personally, I think people who would do this shouldn't have cats, because their priority is NOT the health of the cat. This same type of person cuts the voice boxes out of dogs
After re-reading this thread (and gaia33's post), it appears that I am one of those that perhaps these "words" were directed to, and I feel a (gentle) response is necessary.

Moderator: (AbbysMom) I appreciated your post, thank you. I read the thread of the link that you provided. It's a good thread, and I hope everyone takes the time to read it. I also hope that I have stayed within the guidelines of the forum with this post, it isn't my desire or intention to be demeaning to anyone. However, I do feel a response is necessary.
But, if this post in out of line, please don't bother contacting me, just delete it if you feel it's inappropriate. Thanks!

When I posted my contribution on this thread, my intention was to share my
personal experiences in response to the member's initial question.

I believe that my experience is as valid as anyone elses experience or contribution. I also
respect our members and the contributions they provide.

As for the judging of those of us who chose to de-claw as being "for our convenience", "selfish", and "lazy", -- well, from my personal experience - that conclusion is harsh, generally misguided, and just plain wrong.

And then the worse accusation about those that declaw as being the same type of person that "cuts voice boxes out of dogs" - well, that statement is just "over the top"!

Let me add - I dearly love my cats - they are spoiled, happy, painfree, well-adjusted, and loving furbabies. My experience has been positive with none of the problems people have attributed to the declawed cats as having. I'm not denying some problems exist, it's just that it's not been my experience with declawed cats.

Let me end by saying that I do appreciate the anti-declawing group's passion, their passion is absolutely understandable.

Hoping this was a kind (and gentle) enough response,
post #22 of 39
One of the cats at my local shelter was declawed; the paperwork said "owner surrender"... she was using the litter box fine but seemed pretty defensive about having her feet or belly touched, and had problems with other cats. Here's her picture and the comments I put in my notes when I was visiting her:


She's three years old, spayed, and front declawed. She's a big cat--at least twelve pounds--and, when it comes to humans, all love. She loves to be petted, and will wind around you and push her head under your hand. She doesn't like having her belly or paws touched. She doesn't do well with other cats--she was probably raised as an only cat--and will hiss upon seeing one. Other than that, she's pretty easygoing, though I think perhaps her declawing affected her temperament--she's more defensive than she needs to be. She loves having "conversations"--meow at her, and she meows back!
post #23 of 39
she sounds like my Chip! he's also front declawed, doesn't like his belly touched [or his nether regions]. i'm getting him used to letting me brush/comb him there, tho - he's quite fluffy & needs it. i've had him for 6 months, & he's becoming much more trusting of me. he allows me to touch his feet, no problem.

Pixel, my other declaw, also allows me to touch her feet, & loves belly rubs. but i raised her from kittenhood, & she knows i can be trusted.

both of them use the litterbox unless it's really dirty or they're ill.
post #24 of 39
The one cat I had declawed (the others came to me that way) was done as a medical necessity after all other solutions were exhausted.
He was a biter, but he was a biter before the declaw, and he did have litterbox issues, but they were all due to chronic UTI's and crystals.

When he wasn't suffering from urinary tract problems, he used the box beautifully, unless someone ticked him off, then he would pee an on item belonging to the offender only.
He was affectionate, but only on his own terms, he was this way before the surgery.
He did not like having his feet touched, but he was this way before the surgery.

He did develop arthritis in his front legs though at a very young age, this was due to the surgery, declawing alters the way a cat is supposed to walk.
Cats normally walk on the tips of their toes, after a declaw, they do not have the tips of toes any longer.

All of the major issues I have witnessed that are caused by declawing, were due to bad declaw surgeries, declaws performed on adult cats, or a combination of the two.
post #25 of 39
In the following countries, a person who has their cat declawed would be arrested for abuse and their vet would lose his/her license. I stand by every word I wrote. Just because it's legal in the USA doesn't make it right.

How can anyone research the possibilities that could happen, then do it anyway? I can understand someone not knowing and going by what their vet tells them (who by the way does it for money), but how can someone research it and then still do it? Sorry, but I don't understand that kind of thinking at all. And actually, "devoicing" a dog doesn't cause nearly the problems of declawing, but it's done for the same reason: the owner's convenience. I have never read ONE single good reason--outside of medical--for removing the first joint of a cat's paw. Not one.

Northern Ireland
New Zealand
post #26 of 39
I think actually in the UK it's not technically illegal, because we haven't adopted the EU law in this regard (the UK seems to be able to opt out of some EU legislation).

However the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons states that declawing for cosmetic reasons is unethical and abusive, and would disbar any vet that performed a declaw. So illegal or not, you still couldn't get a cat declawed. (excepting cases where there is a clear clinical need, ie. tumour or trauma to the foot making amputation necessary)
post #27 of 39
Don't know if this has been mentioned or not. Just thought I'd chime in.

DO NOT declaw your cats!

How would you like your fingernails removed AT THE BONE and then have to walk on them afterwards?

There are other means of keeping your furniture and drapes safe from kitty's claws other than having them removed like malodorous sprays, double-sided sticky tape and so on!

post #28 of 39
Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
Don't know if this has been mentioned or not. Just thought I'd chime in.

DO NOT declaw your cats!

How would you like your fingernails removed AT THE BONE and then have to walk on them afterwards?

There are other means of keeping your furniture and drapes safe from kitty's claws other than having them removed like malodorous sprays, double-sided sticky tape and so on!

please read all the posts - then you'll know if things have been mentioned.
post #29 of 39
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
When I posted my contribution on this thread, my intention was to share my [/color]personal experiences in response to the member's initial question.

I believe that my experience is as valid as anyone elses experience or contribution. I also
respect our members and the contributions they provide.

As for the judging of those of us who chose to de-claw as being "for our convenience", "selfish", and "lazy", -- well, from my personal experience - that conclusion is harsh, generally misguided, and just plain wrong.

I think that you experince is as valid as anyone else's as well. Honestly, I think your first post in this thread was well put. You sound like the type of person that will keep your kitties should they ever have any issues that were caused by the declaw. It is sad that so many people do not. It is a decision you made & it is not up to us to judge you for it. I have known people who declawed(I believe there is at least one member here) their cats that they got from the shelter(or elsewhere) as they could not have them in their apartment if they had their claws. Better to declaw them than to leave them at the shelter risking euthanasia.

As for grouping people who declaw as selfish...sadly I've been guilty of that, too(snap judgement).

This thread got very off topic. The intention was only to find out what possible behavioral changes could occur after a cat was declawed. Please read the original post & all posts before posting. It makes for a much....friendlier...thread.
post #30 of 39
I'm totally against declawing a cat as many of you are. But, if the question is does it change behaviour, I can tell you that my daughter's friend had both her cats declawed. She stated "there happy, I'm happy". She wanted to prorect her leather furniture was the reason she gave. Why she adopted cats in the first place baffled me but to move on; both her cats urinate inappropriatly and have been for over a year now. She's about to turn them into a shelter and you can guess how long they will last there!

So, did the declawing cause this behaviour; I would bet money on it. Oh, I might add that one of her cats is so skittish that he hides constantly and seldom comes out other than to eat.
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