Since we're discussing pets....

What do you all think about declawing cats?

I have heard that it is extremely painful for the cats. They never get over losing their claws. It makes them have a bad temperament. Well, all sorts of bad things.

From my friends that have had it done to their cats, I have heard… It only hurts for a few days and no more than any other surgery. They get over it right away. It has no effect on the cat’s personality at all. They don’t even realize their claws are missing.

My dilemma is this. She claws the furniture to get my attention. I would like to get new furniture soon and I would prefer if it didn’t get destroyed. In addition, she puts up a HUGE fuss when I try to cut her nails. I’m very careful and I’ve never cut her, but she hates it. And, it’s not sensitive paws or anything, because I can play with her paws all I want, but the second she sees the clippers she goes ballistic.

The long and the short of it is this. If these horror stories are bogus, I’m having it done. If declawing could do any real harm to her, forget it - I’ll live with a scratched up couch and take her to a groomer to cut her nails.

I know that we have a few resident animal experts - what’s the real scoop?

There’s no snooze alarm on a hungry cat. =^…^=

It is best done before your cat is 2 years old. If he/she, it is older then try one of those multi level scratching posts.

Most of the arguments against it that I’ve heard have to do with the cat not really realizing that it now has an oversize Q-tip at the end of its leg instead of a gripping and fighting tool, and getting in fights that it has no hope of winning or trying to climb trees or whatever with no traction and falling off.

It seems to me that the older the cat the more likely it would be to have trouble adapting.

Posting from work–shhhh!!! :slight_smile:

Personally, I advise avoiding declawing unless all else fails. Ask your vet for tips on training cats not to claw. try Soft Paws. If those ideas fail, you have two options: a traditional declaw or a procedure called a tendonectomy. A tendonectomy leaves the claws on the cat but they are unable to stick them out. You can ask your vet for a more thorough explanation. Vets have different opinions on these procedures. The first two vets I worked for did not like the tendonectomy, feeling that the procedure made the cat’s feet more sensitive. Also, since the cat still has its claws, you still need to do nail trims. Since your cat doesn’t like nail trims, this option probably would not work for you. traditional declaws remove the claw and the first bone of every toe. Some vets actually use lasers to perform the surgery. This results in a less bloody, painful procedure. Lasers are not common yet though. Most vets will use either a scalpel blade or a nail trimming device called a rescoe. After the toes are removed, the feet are pressure wrapped and the cat will stay at the vet overnight, sometimes two nights. pain medication is usually given after the procedure and your vet may give you some meds to give your cat at home. You will also have to use special cat litter for 7-14 days after the declaw. Clay litter can get into the wounds in the paws and cause infection. Shredded paper or a litter called yesterday’s News, or Carefresh is what you will have to use. Your vet may also send the cat home with antibiotics. As long as the procedure was done correctly and you follow up on home care, there should not be any major problems. Declawing hasn’t changed any of the cats I have come across, and in my years as a vet tech, I think I have seen my share of cats, with their claws and without. Once a cat is declawed it can NEVER go outside, as it can no longer defend itself. Otherwise, the cat will be fine. My female cat has been declawed for 5 years and she still pretends to use the scratching post. I just had my youngest cat done over the weekend, and he is acting like nothing ever happened to him.

Go to your vet and discuss your concerns over this issue. Don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Declawing is a controversial issue among vets and cat owners. Make sure you have all your questiones answered and go from there. Good luck.

Veterinary technician

I have the same dilemma. I’m dying to buy some furniture, but I’m hesitant, as my two kittens will rip it to shreds. I never used to think twice about declawing cats, but when I got my guys at the Humane Society, they told us that declawing was outlawed in some countries! I had no idea that people thought declawing was that evil- I’ve had a number of cats before, and they all seemed pretty happy in spite of being declawed.

We’ve started clipping their claws at home (so far, so good!) but I have no doubt this will get to be more of a battle as they get older. I’d rather not declaw my guys, when all is said and done, but if the damage become unmanageable (which it is not at the moment), I will. Good luck making your decision!


Does your cat go outside? I think this has to be taken into consideration as well. I have two cats (3 months and 8 years) and they rip my furniture to shreads and the kitten uses the carpet as a scratching pad. I live in the country and both cats tend to spend a lot of time outside (depending on the weather naturally). Anyway, I would strongly suggest NOT declawing if they go outdoors.

My parents cat (Bandit) is a house cat only and has been declawed. It appears that she’s somewhat unaware she’s minus her claws and still “tries” to sharpen her claws on the furniture.



I went thru the same thing. We built a brand new house and after we moved in my two cats started scratching on the wall to wall carpet and all the wooden banisters. One cat is male who was 3 at the time and a female that was 5 at the time.

I took them to the vet to get them declawed which was something I was always against. I bawled my eyes out at the vet, he was very sympathetic. I finally decided that I would go through with the procedure.

They stayed at the vet for two nights and by the time they got home they didn’t have bandages. They have never acted any differently since the declaw and didn’t exhibit any signs of pain. Of course, animals deal differently with pain, but I didn’t notice any uncomfortableness.

This was five years ago and both cats are fine and the same loveable cats they were before. My female cat has gotten out of the house a few times (she lurks by the door) and has stayed out overnight. While it has made me extremely nervous (we live out in the sticks)she always comes back very tired but healthy and in one piece.

Have you tried getting her to use a scratching post? Rubbing catnip on a post or one of those sisal (sp?) rectangles may help attract her to it. When she scratches the couch, move her to the post and make scratching motions with her paws so she can get the hint. You might also try spraying your furniture with animal repellant - different sprays are available. Or squirting her with water or shaking a can of pennies by her ear while she is scratching. Or, as Michelle says, there are Soft Paws - little plastic caps that slide on over the nails. Keep in mind that scratching is normal behavior - your cat is trying to shed dead layers of skin from the nails. (Think how you would feel if you could never cut or file your nails, no matter how ragged they became). The goal is not to have your cat stop scratching, which she needs to do, but sharpen her claws in an appropriate place.

I have to say I’m in the anti-declaw camp, and will be until owners who declaw prove to me the surgery is no big deal by amputating their own fingers to the first knuckle. Front declawed cats I have known are awfully good at lashing out with those back claws, and/or biting. They also seem to be more neurotic, though I’ll grant their neurosis is probably a combination of several factors.

I have to run now but will try to post more later.

At the risk of C&P-ing too much text, I wanted to reiterate everything Felinecare said, particularly the bolded part. My cats have two scratching posts and a huge kitty tree. Cats enjoy climbing and stretching out their claws, and it’s important that they have a way of removing that nail sheath. Outside, they can do this on tree trunks - but if your cat will be spending a lot (or all) of its time inside, get at least one good scratching post.

That being said, I would never, never remove my kitties’ claws. Being declawed may not hurt them, it may not bother them, but let me tell you a story before you make up your mind to do this…

My sis-in-law brought home the most astounding (adolescent) orange cat from the pound for her daughter several years back. Jinx’s personality was comical and adoring, one of the most friendly, cuddly, unafraid of anybody or anything cats I’ve ever met. Jinx was talkative and playful and VERY well mannered. Whoever owned him before obviously trained him well. Never jumped on tables or counters, never bit or scratched, very curious about everything but he had a way of “asking” if he could do or look at something before he’d actually do it (sounds dorky, I know, but this was Jinx).

Anyway, the previous owner had had Jinxy’s front claws removed. My sis-in-law figured this was ok, he’d just be an indoor cat. For as well mannered as he was, keeping him in the house all the time was never an issue - he never made messes or disturbed the household.

Except that ol’ Jinx was VERY curious about what was outside the patio doors, and would often try to sneak out. Finally, one day, he succeeded (unseen). A little while later, my young niece heard Jinx screaming bloody hell and dogs barking and growling out in the neighborhood somewhere. She frantically raced outside to try to find Jinx and save him - she arrived just in time to see two neighborhood dogs (shepherd mix, pit bull) ripping the poor cat to shreds, at the base of a tree which (apparently) Jinx was trying to climb in order to escape…

Ask youself if there is ANY possible way your cat might get outside, now or in the future. Then ask yourself if you could live with yourself if your declawed cat did escape the house, and suffered a fate like Jinx’s. The whole thing just makes me SICK - I would never purposely remove the only weapons my pet had to defend itself.

I understand your nail-clipping dilemma perfectly. Derwood doesn’t like it but will tolerate it. Kirby, on the other hand, will fight me with every fibre in her little 9 lb. body. I do the best I can, sometimes I don’t get them all… If it gets too difficult, you can always take the cat to a professional for the occasional manicure. Or you can have a friend do the clipping while you hold the cat. Any of these options is better than removing claws, IMHO.

One more furniture protection tip: get some wide, clear packing tape and tape up all the corners and edges of the sofa - they don’t like to scratch on that. And DO put the scratching post near where the cat tries to scratch the furniture. You can gradually move it to a different spot once the cat figures out what she may and may not scratch on, but start with the post close to the furniture - when she goes for the furniture, pick her up and let her sink her claws into the post. She’ll get the hint soon enough.

Please don’t declaw your cat…

I am too in shape! :::muttering::: Round is a shape.
C’mon up and see me sometime.

Grrrrrr… I’d C&P if I could just figure out how the hell to do it… :slight_smile:
My childhood companion/confidante/best friend was a cat named Arrow. Mom had him declawed because we lived in the city, and he NEVER went outside…and had developed a habit of clawing the sofa. At that time, I think Mom figured we’d always be living in the city.

Flash forward a few years: We moved to CA. House in the San Gabriel foothills, nice backyard, trees… lots of moles and gophers. Cat heaven!! :slight_smile: Arrow became an indoor/outdoor cat. There was a cactus he would sit under while he surveyed his domain.

Summary: Arrow, minus his front claws. Neighborhood dog pack (6 dogs). Arrow’s grave under his favorite cactus.

Neither Simon or Baby are declawed. My mom has asked me about it (they’ve taken to clawing her roomates sofa). I will NOT allow it.

Soft Paws is a viable option, I told her. The boys get their claws trimmed whenever mom can convince the roomate to help (the boys HATE it).

I think if you have young kittens, if you start trimming their claws now, and love them and cuddle them and give them a treat when you are done, they will probably be good about it for life. I could be wrong (after all…cats DO have personalities and some of them are just ornery…<G>).

Mom always said there’d be days like this…she just never said there’d be so MANY of them!!!

Oh…and Tyler?? Please give scritches to Kirby and Derwood for me :slight_smile:

Ours always lose their front claws at the same time they lose their reproductive capacity - as young as possible. When we had indoor/outdoor cats, they managed to defend themselves well with rear claws & teeth; and to climb up - and more importantly - back down trees. I suspect that they learned to compensate for the loss. I suspect that it would be quite difficult for an adult cat. Because there are so many predators where we live, it is strictly indoors for the cats now.

My pleasure! and please do the same for Simon and Baby.

BTW, whazzup? Where are you? Are you coming back to LA anytime soon? I want to see you before you leave us permanently!

I am too in shape! :::muttering::: Round is a shape.
C’mon up and see me sometime.

I just got my cat declawed and neutered last week. He is 5 months old. He is doing just fine. He had to spend the night at the vet. We picked him up the next day. He is not as active, doesn’t climb the furniture, doesn’t destroy stuff, etc. If I had to do it over again I would have still goten it done. I don’t think he even misses them.

Hmmm… I have two cats, both declawed. One just appeared on my doorstep that way, the other I had done when he was a kitten. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have had it done. I’ve lived in homes with cats with claws, and as long as there’s scratching posts around (preferably with a little catnip on top) they never caused a problem.

That said, I beg to differ with the above posts. My declawed cats routinely climb trees (it’s the back claws that get them up the tree), catch mice, and defend themselves (the usual fighting stance for a cat is to lie on its back and kick with the back claws.) Both cats are outdoor cats, they come and go through the cat doors whenever they want. Granted, I live in a neighborhood where there’s no packs of dogs running lose, but aside from one bad bite resulting from a cat fight several years ago, I’ve never had an injured animal.

I’d venture to guess that a lone cat against a pack of six dogs is going to get hurt, regardless of whether or not it has claws. I don’t know that I’d allow a cat outside in an area where dogs roam free, claws or no claws. Just seems like you’re asking for trouble.

Hmmm… after writing this, I realize that some people declaw all four claws of a cat, and I guess that a cat without ANY claws wouldn’t be able to climb a tree or anything else. But in my experience, I’ve only been around cats who only have the front claws removed.

Around here vets will only declaw the front paws. I think that’s a good policy. A cat needs some kind of protection.

Thank you very much for all of your stories and advice.

To answer some of the questions:

  1. She has 4 scratching posts. One tall multi-level sisal one, a sisal one that hangs on the door knob, another that hangs on the door knob that I’m not sure what it is made of, and this sort of mat/rug looking thing. She does use them at times. She scratches the furniture to be annoying.

  2. She is strictly an indoor cat. Unless she breaks out a window and jumps from the 2nd or 3rd floor, there is no way for her to get out - even by accident. I’m too nervous a person to let her out. Besides I live near a street that gets busy - I’m not worried about animals, I’m worried about cars.

There’s no snooze alarm on a hungry cat. =^…^=

After having one cat declawed I would not do it again. He was the only one I was ever not able to keep from clawing furniture. He was fully mature and quite heavy when it was done. His front paws were tender after the surgery so he favored them a lot and that never went away. he was never able to walk normally, walking on the “wrist” bones instead of toes.

The only time I reconsider is when the cat I have now lays on my chest and starts kneading my shoulder. Nnnnngggg! Nothing pointier than freshly sharpened kitty claws.