Believe it or not: Declawing cats hurts them more than a cat scratch hurts you. We get that cat claws are sharp, and they can wreak havoc on your furniture. We understand that you'd rather snuggle with your soft kitty, WITHOUT risk of stinging scratches when the cat spooks, seemingly at random. All of your reasons are great reasons to take action.
But don't let that action be declawing. Here's why:
1. It's illegal...at least in Denver. Pretty soon New Jersey?
Lawmakers in the state of NJ have been considering a state-wide ban on this cat care practice for several years. It just needs to get through the state senate to become law. That would make Jersey the first state to enact a total ban on cat declawing.
2. Onychectomy - the medical term for declawing - is a form of animal cruelty.
That's right, pretty much any way you slice...er...scratch it. Many vets refuse to perform this procedure because it causes pain to the cat. Instead, vets recommend adding nail covers, trimming cat claws, and using slipcovers on furniture to protect skin and cherished home goods alike.
Declawing is not an easy procedure to do. It's not just like trimming your nails. Instead, informs PETA, it's more like lopping off the ends of your fingers. During the surgery, vets actually amputate the ends of the paw bone to ensure claws can grow no more. Ouch!
3. Cats need their claws for defense.
True, you say...but I keep my cats indoors at all times. Even an indoor cat needs his or her claws to survive. House cats can escape the confines of the home, accidentally or through devious cat scheming. And you'd never know when you, your kids or your other pets might impose a little too much on your cat's physical space without the hiss, meow or scratch signal to BACK OFF.
4. Declawed cats can suffer for the long-term.
PETA also maintains that there are several negative side effects of onychectomy for the long-term:
Cats can experience continuing pain after surgery
Declawed cats can become insecure and consequentially more aggressive
Declawed cats sometimes have trouble walking
Declawed cats often stray from using the litter box
This means that any attempts to reduce pain and suffering (or furniture damage) with declawing might end up backfiring with more pain and suffering (and furniture damage) for YOU as well as you furbaby.
The bottom line is declawing your cat might seem like a one-time solution to an ongoing hassle. But it's really an inhumane procedure that might make the problems you tried to solve with declawing even worse. Cat scratching is a natural, healthy behavior for your cat to enjoy. You don't have to cripple your cat to make scratching safe.
The Happy Alternative
Please don't declaw your cat. Instead, trim his or her nails regularly (your vet might be able to demonstrate a procedure that works easily for both you and your cat). Invest in a scratching post or two - and treat them with a little catnip to encourage your cat to scratch the pad instead of the couch. And train your furry friend not to scratch you, your family or your furniture with a spritz of warm water from a spray bottle, whenever he or she starts clawing on the wrong surfaces. This method of deterring negative scratching will have more positive results than cutting out claws and nail beds (Read: AFFECTION).