Percy

What are the pros and cons of declawing a cat?


Asked by Percy on Sep 18th 2007 in Other Health & Wellness
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Alecto

I'm very biased on this issue, but I believe the cons far outweigh the pros.

Pros:
Reduced damage to furniture
Less scratches for children or the elderly (who may have more sensitive skin)

Cons:
Mutilation of your cat - in essence, you're removing up to the first knuckle of each of their toes. Ouch!
Reduced ability for the cat to defend itself if it has to fight another animal
Potential behavioral issues (spraying, etc)

Please consider regularly trimming your cat's nails, or using a product like Soft Paws - a plastic cover for your cat's nails. I've used them for years and they're easy to apply and work very well.


Alecto answered on Sep 18th.

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Winter

Ah a sensative topic, this one. Well the pros of declawing your cat are generally no scratching to humans or furniture. The cons are that you are basically cutting off the better part of your cats toes since in order to remove the claw they have to cut off the toe up to the first knuckle. Also, some cats develop behavioral problem once they realize that can no longer defend themselve with their claws. Some cats may resport to biting since it is now thier only means of defense. Lastly, if your cat gets out and gets lost, it can be an almost certain death sentance as kitty can no longer defend herself or himslef against other animals.


Winter answered on 9/20/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Josie (ILM)

Yes, a very touchy issue. Like Alecto and Winter, I also think the cons outweigh the pros. I agree with all the reasons they gave and want to add 1 more of each:

Pro: For cats who are extremely aggressive with other pets, it can protect the other animals (although it does NOT stop aggression).

Con: Declawed cats often become more aggressive, acting out with their teeth. Mommy volunteers at an animal shelter and this is the #1 reason for returning cats that have been declawed.

That said, if your owners have decided against Soft Paws/Soft Claws (which are EXCELLENT), then declawing should be done only by laser and done early in a cats life (ideally before the age of one). I would also recommend that if declawing is the option of choice, do only the front and not the back paws. I was 4-paw declawed by Mommy's Grandmaw and I was never the same after it.


Josie (ILM) answered on 9/20/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Guest

Yes this is a very touchy subject.
I would never declaw my cats.
I have heard they can now do it by laser, so its not so cruel, the cats aren't undergoing such a painful surgery, and they can walk fine right after surgery instead of being bandaged up and in pain. Thats something you would have to look in to. A lot of vets won't even do the surgery anymore.
And I have also heard of a lot of cats being turned in because the owner decided to get their cats declawed and then the cat had even worse behavior issues.


Member 41554 answered on 9/20/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Darwin

I'm declawed. If Mom wanted to keep me, she basically didn't have a choice. It was declaw me or send me back to the shelter, which had 160+ cats at the time. That was the only way Mom's landlord would let her keep me. Moving was out of the question at that point. She doesn't agree with declawing either, but in my case, it sure beat death. I chewed Soft Paws off in less than a week, that is when I'd even let Mom put them on me without making her arms look like ribbons. I really started to hate her after a few attemps. I didn't even come by her anymore.

After surgery, she made sure I had pain medication from the second I woke up until she was sure I had healed, and I was fortunate that I haven't suffered any adverse effects at all.

However, her old room mate declawed his cat, and she has some minor nerve damange in her paws and walks "flat footed".

I think it's something that should be done only if there is absolutely, positively, no other choice.


Darwin answered on 9/21/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Mingus

I personally would never declaw a cat. I agree that doing it by laser does seem more humane, but even then I've seen quite a few cats that develop problems like biting, change in personality (not for the better), or fearfulness and anxiety (which can cause other health problems for your kitty, like urinary tract infections or blockages). My suggestion for those that think they NEED a declawed cat, is to check your local shelters to see if they have any declawed kitties that need new homes (without other pets, as they are pretty much defenseless with out their claws).
Oh, and a lot of vets won't even perform this surgery anymore...which seems like a good reason to think twice.


Mingus answered on 9/27/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Gabby

My Mom and Dad are against declawing, so Mom has put SoftPaws on me. I don't mind them very much and Mom and Dad no longer holler at me when I scratch at their chairs. Whenever Mom puts the SoftPaws on me or Christy, she gives us special treats while she is waiting for them to 'set', which we really like! I am glad Mom and Dad decided not to declaw me. Besides, my hot pink claw caps are so very pretty against my black fur! Quite the fashion statement if you ask me!


Gabby answered on 9/28/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Casy

My mom got me from a friend, so she couldn't really have a choice. As for behavior problems, I've never had them. And I don't know what soft paws are, could somebody tell me?


Casy answered on 10/1/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


ROMEO Dreaboat #40c

I WAS DECLAWED WHEN MY MOM GOT ME AT THE SHELTER. I DO NOT!!!!!!!!! RECOMMEND THIS UNLESS IT'S A CASE OF DO OR DIE. MINE WAS NOT DONE PROPERLY! 6 MONTHS AFTER MY MOM BROUGHT ME HOME FROM THE SHELTER I STARTED GETTING SORES ON MY PAW. MOM THOUGHT I CUT MYSELF ON MY BROTHER ZEEKE SO WE WENT TO THE VETS FOR SOME ANTIBIOTICS. IT HEALES OVER SO WE ALL THOUGHT NO BIG. HOWEVER IT KEPT REOPENING 2-3 WEEKS AFTER SEEMING TO HEAL. SO MY VET DECIDED TO DO A LITTLE EXPLORATORY SURGERY THINKING I HAD DEBRIS WEDGED UP IN THERE. GUESS WHAT? BECAUSE IT WAS DONE WRONG THE FIRST TIME MY NAILBED WAS TRYING TO REGROW IN THE WRONG SPOT THROUGH MY POOR PAWS!!! IT WAS VERY PAINFULL!! THE ONLY WAY TO FIX IT WAS TO REDO THE DECLAW ONLY EVEN MORE BONE HAD TO BE REMOVED !!!!! NOW I LIMP SLIGHTLY ALL THE TIME. THERE IS ABSOLUTLEY NO FURNITURE WORTH THE PAIN I WENT THROUGH!!! WORSE NEWS IT COULD STILL HAPPEN ON MY OTHER TOES TOO SOON TO TELL. MY VET SAID NOT TO REDO ALL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NEEDED. NO DUH! PAIN!!!


ROMEO Dreaboat #40c answered on 10/1/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer