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Readers Respond: Tell Us What You Think About Declawing Cats

Responses: 171

By

Julie Hamilton

Here in the UK declawing cats is banned under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Rightly so. I am appalled that your nation allows disfigurements of natural physical attributes. Let me see, how would those people who have their cats declawed feel if they had their finger nails removed? Do to yourself as ye do unto others. Don't have a cat if you don't like the claws. The only benefit to cat declawing is the saving the lives of 50 to 70 million song birds per year, here in the UK. Imagine how many the US loss is given that you are a much larger country!
—Guest Julie Hamilton

sometime you have to declaw a cat

I had a cat that I loved very much but when my mother got diabetes I had to do one of two things. I had to declaw her or give her away. I love her but she hated my mother and since I could not give my mother away or kick my mother out, I had to have my cat declawed. people with diabetes do not heal as fast as every one else and a scratch could have killed my mother. other wise I would have never had my cat declawed. but I do not see that I had a choice and did what I had to do to keep my cat.
—TDavis42

I feel so bad

This is my story: I took my cat for neutering and they offered declawing as if it was something "everybody does", several months earlier the vet asked me if I was interested without me even inquiring, he said he used a laser to remove the nail and it was not very painful, at the time I said no. This time, again the nurse said, would you like declawing too? I said OK, I remembered that conversation where the vet said he removes the nail with a laser and since everybodies tone was so like "everybode does it", I said OK and went home. During the day, as I was intrigued as how they removed the nail and prevented it from growing again, I got on the internet and researched, needless to say I was horrified, I felt(and feel) sooooo bad, I am so afraid that my kitty wont be the same, that I still have not gone to pick him up,I left him a couple of more days at the vet because I have kids and dont want them to hurt him, I am afraid of how he will look at me. I am sorry........
—Guest HC

100% against declawing but no choice

After much trepidation & a year of being terrorized by my cat I've made the appt to get her declawed. I have owned at least 10 cats in the last 30 yrs. My last cat had to be put down due to cancer, he was almost 19. I had him declawed when he was neutered-recommended by the vet-I was pregnant at the time. She is terrorizing everything. I truly don't care about the furniture or the curtains or the beds, maybe the walls that she climbs-rips the paper covering off the sheetrock & climbs the wall, the other cat is completely bald in spots because of this cat, the dog who is 10 times her size is scared now she is swiping at the kids faces-scratched my eyeball, my 6 yr old's face missing his eye by 1/8th of an inch and now another 1 of my kids. So it's declaw, turn over to a rescue or chance my kids or their friends being hurt, being sued and being forced to have her put down. Her nails get cut every 2wk, has scratching posts, toys, is spade, vetted, clean litter box, no choice at this point.
—Guest Rashi

Allergy Sufferer

Severe allergies are the only reason I choose to declaw my cats. Whenever a cat scratches out of play, love or any other reason, my allergies explode. My skin swells and itches for days...along with eyes watering and difficulty breathing. My cats are all RESCUES from the Humane Society. If I did not declaw then I would be unable to have the wonderful loving relationships that I do with my kitties. Over half the cats at the Humane Society are put to sleep from overcrowding. Although I declaw, I must due this in order to give them a loving home. I also have tried every prescription drug available and also went through 4 years of allergy shots. I would rather NOT put my babies through a declaw, but if I didn't then I wouldn't be able to have them at all. Choices are tough, but my cats are all healthy and happy. Declawing has rescued me too.
—seelagirl

no other alternative

I've owned cats my entire life. While I completely disagree with declawing, three of them were declawed before I adopted them. All three lived long, happy lives with us (one lived to be 15 but had many other health problems, the vets didn't expect him to live past 10. One recently passed peacefully at the age of 18 and the last is 17 and still going strong). We have never had a problem getting cats to scratch appropriately until now. She is about a year old and no matter what I do I cannot get her to stop clawing people or innapropriate things. And believe me, we've tried EVERYTHING. I've now been given the choice of getting the cat declawed, getting rid of her, or getting kicked out of my apartment. So as much as it breaks my heart I made the appointment today to have it done. I have a wonderful vet who I know will take the best care possible of my little girl. So anyone who says there is no reason to declaw, which of my 3 options would you take?
—Guest Liz

Declawing

I had my 3 cats declawed, upon the insistence of my fiancee (get it done or I'll kill them). Did not know what entailed on declawing. When I arrived back home, looked it up, horrified. I would never have had it done, if I only knew. Their feet were sore about a week, but I had a excellent vet and they came out of it fine. They are 13 now. I am totally against declawing, when I hear people talk about it, I tell them, to cut the first joint of each of their fingers off and that's the same thing a cat goes through. There isn't a day that goes by that I regret having it done, nothing is worth it, all my babies are too precious to me. No more declawing-fiancee GONE!
—BigMamaCat

it needs to be illegal. period.

There's still so much ignorance out there! a guest is that afraid of getting sick from a scratch? how often do you think that actually happens? very RARELY. So many of you strain for justification! another guest says "life's 2 short 2 argue" as if disfiguring a living animal & permanently changing their personality is TRIVIAL? could he have typed that question without fingers? come on all of you pro-amputation types: the surgery is FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE OWNER ONLY. anyone that does this to their "beloved pet" is selfish, lazy, and cruel. I have had almost 20 cats in my lifetime and have NEVER had a scratching problem-not to humans OR my furniture. even if they adopted me later in their lives I just gave them their own scratching post, let them play outside during the day, trimmed their nails when needed, and that was that. cats are easy to distract-if you have a willful kitty then put a bit of time into it! to lazy? get a stuffed animal! imposing PAIN & SUFFERING on your pet IS NOT LOVE.
—crittersaver

declawing

in Ethiopia it is not yet practiced & it is practiced in large animals!
—Guest habib

Debbie

I've had cats all my life - all declawed at an EARLY AGE and have NEVER seen them display any discomfort or physical difficulty. They all adjusted well.
—boonedeb

Declawing cats

My own personal opinion is that cats should NOT be declawed. Even though I personally have one very old cat whom was declawed, we were talked out of it by our vet this last time around. My two younger cats are 6 years old and not declawed. Mostly the female sharpens her claws on the bathroom carpet (burber - can't see it at ALL), and the male likes to sharpen on our bed mattress. I hate it and have tried numerous things to change their behavior, but it is what it is. I'd rather have a torn up boxspring than the guilt I felt the last time I had a cat declawed. They are our family, after all.
—Guest blc1025

Declawing is unethical

The American Veterinary Association (AVMA) and Canadian VMA have position statements about declawing. They say vets must inform clients about normal scratching behaviour, how to properly redirect this behaviour to appropriate items, & how to perform routing nail trimming. They're also supposed to disclose the nature of the surgery (amputation of toe bones), how extremely painful it is, & insist proper pain medication is provided. Many vets in the USA & Canada DON'T DO THIS. This is unethical. Given this fact, combined with the evidence that it is inhumane, West Hollywood, California was able to get declawing banned in that city; those who declaw a cat in that city can be charged with animal cruelty. West Hollywood has realized that cats need protection from this procedure. Please join the Paw Project to help educate about declawing & bring an end to this cruelty.
—Guest Chris H

'owners' problem

The opinions from people who agree with declawing are clearly people who DON'T like cats! If you want to mutilate an animal (however you justify it) don't get one then you won't have to worry about the so called problems they cause!
—Guest Lorna

Declawed cats and rescue

I work at an animal shelter that is open intake. We end up killing about 90% of the declawed cats that come in (far higher than our normal euth rate of about 50%). Even declawrd cats that had "no problems" in their original homes tend to go one of two ways when left at the shelter - either they bite anyone who comes close, or they shut down and won't even eat, because they feel so threatened with no way to defend themselves. You say you'll never get rid of your cat? Most of these were surrendered because someone in the family developed allergies, or because the owner died. Quite a few, a new grandchild, born years after the cat was declawed, was the one with allergies, and the grandparents are given the choice of getting rid of the cat or not seeing their grandchild. The worst case was Cleo, whose owner developed life-threatening allergies. The owner even said Cleo had gotten to the point where she hated most people. Cleo screamed for the whole two days we kept her before she was put to sleep.
—Guest Emily

Declawing Hurts

After working in the veterinary industry for the better part of a decade and witnessing more declaw surgeries and recoveries than I can count, I can say with assurance that not only is declawing a form of animal abuse that happens to be socially acceptable in North America (unlike most of the rest of the First World), but furthermore, that this is the case primarily because American and Canadian vets have utterly failed both cats and their human caretakers by promoting this procedure as harmless when it is not and by neglecting to provide their clientele with all the pertinent facts necessary for informed consent to elective surgery. I support banning the procedure not only to protect cats from unnecessary pain and suffering, but also to protect their owners from a morally bankrupt industry that is blatantly taking advantage of public ignorance about this procedure in its pursuit of profits.
—Guest Kathleen

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