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Should You Declaw Your Cat?


As a cat owner, it’s your responsibility to make lifestyle and healthcare decisions for your new pet. You determine what food to buy, what litter to use, and whether to spay or neuter your cat. This might have you wondering—should you declaw your cat or not? Once you learn more about this procedure and the reasons for and against declawing, you’ll see why you should only have it done if absolutely necessary.

How Does Cat Declawing Work?

Various techniques are available for declawing cats, from using a sliding blade to a high-tech laser. Regardless of the tool used for the job, the outcome is the same: the claw and the bone it attaches to are removed. If the same procedure was performed on a human, it would be like amputating the fingers at the third knuckle.

Why Some Pet Owners Consider Declawing Their Cats

Declawing is an unnecessary, cruel surgery. Knowledge of this has spread, but some cat owners still consider having the procedure performed for the following reasons:

  • Protect people in the home from injury: Sharp kitty claws deal a lot of damage. If your cat is aggressive toward you or your family members—especially newborns or those with compromised immune systems—scratches are simply unacceptable.
  • Prevent damage to furniture: Many cats love sharpening their claws on the furniture. When a rambunctious feline ruins your favorite armchair, you may think declawing is the only option to prevent a recurrence.
  • Avoid euthanasia: If either issue above is so serious that you’re considering abandoning or euthanizing your cat, declawing may be the kinder alternative.
  • Remove a damaged claw or cancerous growth: An injury or tumor may call for the removal of the cat’s claw and any affected bones in his paws. In these rare cases, declawing may actually improve the cat’s well-being.

Why You Shouldn’t Declaw Your Cat

In addition to avoiding unnecessary surgery and the recovery time that comes with it, here are the top reasons you shouldn’t declaw your cat:

  • Difficulty using the litter box: Some cats experience discomfort when walking on kitty litter while their paws heal from surgery. This may reverse your cat’s litter box training and lead to messes around the house.
  • Biting as a defense mechanism: With their claws removed, many cats resort to biting.
  • Behavioral changes: Without the confidence of having claws to defend himself, a previously playful cat may become a withdrawn recluse after being declawed.
  • Lifelong pain and suffering: A botched declawing surgery may result in bits of bone getting stuck in the cat’s paws. This prevents normal healing and may cripple the animal for the rest of his life.
  • You have alternatives! Instead of declawing, protect the people and furniture in your home by trimming your cat’s claws, providing multiple scratching posts, or having your vet outfit your cat with Soft Paws.

Making Your Decision

Due to the possible complications of declawing your cat—not to mention the inhumane act of removing the animal’s most important defense mechanisms—we don’t recommend this procedure except in dire circumstances. In fact, like many vet clinics across the country, Village Vet of Urbana has discontinued offering this service because of new knowledge surrounding its cruelty.

For more cat care tips, or to schedule a vet appointment, please contact Village Vet of Urbana at (301) 228-0681 today.

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Frederick County’s

Most Trusted Animal Hospital

Adamstown | Ballenger Creek |
Brunswick | Frederick | Green Valley |
Hyattstown | Mt. Airy | New Market

Learn More