Feline declawing, or onychectomy, is an unnecessary, mutilating surgical procedure, which too often results in longterm, permanent health problems. Negative changes in a declawed cat’s temperament and behavior are not uncommon. If you’re thinking about the best way to protect your kids, your other pets and your furniture, there are better alternatives for your cat than resorting to potentially crippling declaw surgery. Read on to learn how you can keep your home a healthy environment for your cats, with their toes intact.
How well you would function without your fingers and toes? Feline declawing is a major surgical procedure in which a cat’s toes are amputated at the last bone. It’s not like removing an ingrown toenail in a human. So, unlike human nails, which grow from skin cells, a cat’s claws grow directly from the bone. Consequently, declawing involves severing bones, tendons and nerves.
How would you like to walk with a pebble in your shoe every minute of every day of your life? Nail regrowth or bone fragments left behind from declaw surgery can inflict a lifetime of excruciating pain for cats simply trying to stand or walk on their tender paw pads. Longterm, permanent health problems may develop, including infection, arthritis or lameness.
How would you feel if you lost your sense of touch and the exquisite dexterity in using your hands, or the ability to merely stay balanced on your feet, much less walk or run normally? You might get a little grumpy, irritable, even depressed. Now imagine your cat being deprived of its most basic, natural instincts – unable to climb, exercise, defend itself or mark territory with the scent glands in its paws. Disturbing personality and behavioral changes after declaw surgery are not uncommon and sometimes lead to abandonment or relinquishment to a shelter.
Many veterinarians refuse to perform declaw surgery, because they believe amputating a cat’s toes is an unethical, mutilating procedure. It provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat and can cause permanent, negative impacts on its health and disposition. Hundreds of veterinary clinics throughout the United States and Canada have asked to be listed in our “No Declaw” directory. Click a state or province in the map, or visit our No Declaw Directory page for more information.
The Paw Project’s mission is to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to rehabilitate cats that have been declawed. Read The Paw Project’s position statement on declawing »
There are many misconceptions about what declaw surgery is, and many people are not aware of how potentially crippling it can be or how it can adversely affect a cat’s personality. Get answers here to the most Frequently Asked Questions about feline declawing.