Companion Connection

Questions People Often Ask—Declawing

What does it mean to declaw a cat?

Humane Society of the United States:

If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.


The standard method of declawing is amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper. The wounds are closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the feet are bandaged.   


Another method is laser surgery, in which a small, intense beam of light cuts through tissue by heating and vaporizing it. However, it's still the amputation of the last toe bone of the cat and carries with it the same long-term risks of lameness and behavioral problems as does declawing with scalpels or clippers.


A third procedure is the tendonectomy, in which the tendon that controls the claw in each toe is severed. The cat keeps his claws, but can't control them or extend them to scratch.


The Paw Project— Utah

Facts About Declawing


Declawing is amputation; it is not merely the removal of the claws. To declaw a cat, the veterinarian cuts off the last knuckles of a cat's paw – cutting through bone, tendons, skin and nerves. In a person, it is equivalent to amputating each finger or toe at the last joint.


Declawing is a serious surgery.
People often mistakenly believe that declawing cats is a harmless, quick fix, for unwanted scratching. In fact, it is the equivalent to amputating a human finger at the knuckle closest to your nail. Unlike humans whose nails grow from the skin, cat’s nails are embedded within the bone. To completely extract the nail, both the nail and the bone need to be removed. The removal of the bone and claw has unhealthy, harmful side effects for your feline, including infection, abnormal claw growth within the toe, inflammation, arthritis, behavioral changes such as increased aggression and biting, as well as emotional trauma and an inability to walk comfortably. The entire claw can grow back inside it's toes and the infection to cause puss to enter their bloodstream and effect their liver and heart. Declawed cats will often resort to biting and becoming more aggressive. The pain may also discourage the use of the litter box or cause them to walk on their wrists which will result in early onset of arthritis. A lot of people will wind up surrendering their cats due to these behaviors. 

Declaw surgery can be an extremely painful procedure with associated health risks and complications such as infection.

Declaw surgery can produce permanent lameness, pain or arthritis.

Declawing is the same mutilating procedure for house cats or big cats.

These results have led to its ban in over twenty countries. 
Some alternatives to declawing are: Scratching Posts, Nail Caps, Frequent Nail Trims, Feliway.

The Paw Project has a great documentary if you are interested in watching it.

Just Remember:

Scratching is an instinctual habit for your cat– and a healthy one too since it helps them stretch, release pent up energy, and shed loose layers from her claws.



Read about BlueBoots and how declawing almost cost him his life!



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated...

I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." -Mahatma Gandhi-

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Why did my cat stop using the litter box? (Revival Animal Health)

Cats who start to house-soil after having been reliably using their litter box may do so because of a litter box aversion, a surface or location

preference, or to mark territory.  Determining the reason that you cat is house-soiling is the first step toward solving the problem.

What can I do to prevent scratches?

Soft Paws are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat's front claws. They're great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can't exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post. Soft Paws® are easy to apply and last about four to six weeks. They come in clear or colors--which are really fun. Now that's a kitty manicure! The colored caps look spiffy on Tabby or Tom and have the added advantage of being more visible when one finally comes off. Then you simply replace it. You can find Soft Paws® on the web