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Posted on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:51 a.m.

Attitudes about declaw procedures for cats have changed considerably - what's your position?

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo by Marcin Wichary

Cats can be fickle creatures, and most pet professionals can attest to the numerous questions that arise from those who share life with felines.

"Why does my cat meow at night?"

"Fluffy keeps peeing outside of the litter box. What is going on?"

"Our cat is destroying our furniture with its clawing. What do we do?"

The latter scenario is very common and probably one of the most difficult to deal with. Can you relate? I can.

Our cat, Silver has always been an especially trying pet to live with. He certainly had a challenging life before coming to us.

In his early years, difficulties with Silver's behavior had posed serious rifts in our household, especially the clawing. He had destroyed several pieces of furniture, and despite our best efforts — the scratching posts, deterrents, trimming his nails — nothing worked.

In fact at one point, I was given an ultimatum by my former husband: have him declawed or find another home for him.

I knew that the latter wasn't an option. Silver, in my estimation, would have not fared well in another home and likely would have been bounced around from home to home or mistreated by others because of his behavioral challenges. I couldn’t live with myself knowing that distinct possibility.

After conferring with our vet at the time — and attempts at several different behavior modification methods and other alternatives — I made the decision to have him front declawed.

In the end, it was the right choice; Silver is well into his senior years, he is safe, and I'm thrilled to say is more behaviorally sound than in his youth.

That decision is one that I hope to never have to revisit again, and I know that there are other cat owners who are probably struggling with their feline's destructive behavior at this moment.

The reality is that cats don't claw things because they are trying to be malicious. They do it for physical, emotional and social reasons.

Clawing, quite simply feels good. It stretches the muscles in the shoulder and foreleg and keeps nails healthy. A cat's paws have scent glands that leave invisible cues of ownership to other felines — they warn other cats away from prized feline spots inside or outside. Clawing also serves to comfort kitties if they're fearful or stressed.

Declawing is by far one of the most controversial topics in veterinary circles and among cat lovers. In fact, it's been outlawed in some countries and even municipalities in our own country.

The practice was more accepted in times past, but as of late, there is much dissent for a handful of reasons: we know more about feline behavior, how the procedure is done (there are actually three techniques) and that it's not a medically necessary procedure.

Some people decide that declawing is best because of other factors, like their own health. This includes those with suppressed immune systems or those who have bleeding issues or are on blood thinners. (In the former case, being exposed to any residual bacteria on a cat's claws from litter box waste poses a risk.)

Figuring out why a cat is engaging in the sometimes destructive behavior is important, obviously, and then either providing the right tools to encourage normal scratching/clawing and addressing any behavioral problems or stresses.

Most cats can be trained to scratch in 'legal' areas, like on sisal or carpet-covered cat trees, or cat scratch pads. Click here for tips on selecting the right one for your household. To encourage felines to use these tools, I always recommend sprinkling catnip on them.

There are products available to help discourage kitties from inappropriately scratching, like Sticky Paws (cats don't like the feel of touching any surface that stick to their paw fur) or by employing the use of strong scents, like those in Only Natural pet herbal scratch deterrent. You can spray it on the 'illegal' target directly or you can treat a cloth and drape over the area to help them get the message.

Another approach is to use cat nail caps like Soft Paws is found to be useful.

To address stress-related clawing, — a pheromone-based product — has proven to be a sound choice.

What strategies have worked for you?

How do you feel about the declawing issue? Take the poll below.

Lorrie Shaw is leads the pets section for You can follow her daily pet adventures on Twitter and subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 10:01 a.m.

I find it pretty scary that the author of this article leads the "pet" section of your publication. It doesn't sound to me like she has much knowledge about what is best for the health and well-being of cats. Declawing is absolutely barbaric and I would NEVER find it acceptable. People that insist on doing this to an animal have no business caring for one in the first place. My cats are well trained, but occasional clawing just comes with the territory. I doubt that all other options were exhausted before this cat's toes were amputated. When my poor dog was neutered, the horrible groomer on staff clipped all of his toe nails so short that they all had to be cauterized. Not only was the poor guy in pain from surgery, but all of his toes hurt as well. I never took him back to that groomer and trimmed his nails myself from then on. I CANNOT imagine what THAT would feel like, let alone having all of my fingertips and the tips of my toes cut off! Lets just call declawing what it really is: ELECTIVE amputation. Anyone who has this done to their cat and any veterinarian whom performs this procedure has no empathy in my book.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

Declawing Cats should be illegal, please sign my anti declaw petition <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Check out my website <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Check out my anti declaw bracelets <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Here is my youtube video on declawing <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Ruth Ockendon Laycock

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 7:50 a.m.

Declawing is the major surgery of of ten (or 18) amputations.It is a cruel unnecessary operation which disables cats for life. They are born with claws because they need them for many things. It's very easy to teach a cat to use a scratching post and anyone who hasn't the kindness and patience to do so and will only have a cat in their home if he can be declawed is not a fit cat caretaker.Declawing is not an option in 39 countries now and should be banned worldwide.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Oh, you know America, on the for front for all that is good in the world. /sarcasm.

Barbara Bates

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 7:17 a.m.

Quite simply declawing is disgusting and immoral, there are no arguments for it because it violates everything that is decent and loving in a human/cat relationship, it is a total betrayal of trust. Cats can be taught kindly and gently NOT to scratch the kids or furniture, they are not demonic wild animals but domesticated animals that humans saw fit to take into their homes and expect them to conform to human ways, if they are not given scratching pads and boards and shown how to use them how do they know where they should be scratching, and make no mistake about it they SHOULD be scratching to exercise their muscles in paws, legs and backs, no wonder declawed cats suffer so many skeletal problems after being surgically disabled and forced to adapt to a new way of walking. What's with all this &quot;I won't live with a clawed cat&quot; and &quot;my partner issued an ultimatum&quot; and all this worshipping of false gods called sofas and drapes etc? Can't you see how cruel you are forcing cats to go through ten amputations and a lifetime of disability? Why do you think declawing is banned in 39 countries and several cities in the USA? Because it is unspeakably cruel and painful! Declawing does NOT keep cats in homes, get a look at the statistics on animal shelters and see how many thousands of declawed cats are waiting for homes and that is just the ones that aren't killed immediately as unrehomeable. The US and Canada are a disgrace to the civilised world in allowing declawing.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

All I can say is that was not my experience. My cat was much happier after she was declawed. There was no disability. And she was alive and lived for 13 more years. I totally disagree that putting her to sleep or abandoning her at the shelter where they would put her to sleep would be better. I think the reason that declawing is banned is because people don't know what they are talking about or they hate cats and would rather they be dead or feral than have a nice comfortable home with someone who otherwise would not have a cat.

Tex Treeder

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 3 a.m.

I can't improve on many of the posts here. Strong vote against declawing.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

You can get thick double sided tape at the pet store. It worked wonders for our kitty! We used it for about 6 weeks when we first brought her home from HSHV and she doesn't bother much of anything anymore. We keep her nails clipped and she has a few scratching posts.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

What is the tape for?


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

I'm not sure I understand your position. If you KNOW how inhumane it is.....why did you do it? To all of you who voted for, &quot;it's fine,&quot; you have not educated yourselves. The author failed to mention that this procedure is VERY PAINFUL and can lead to life-long pain. If you don't want your furniture ruined, DON'T get a cat! Would you remove a dog's teeth just because he chews your furniture? No, you wouldn't. I learned the hard way that removing a cats claws is absolutely the wrong thing to do if you have any respect for animals. Actually, they remove part of their toe. Not a minor procedure, people. Take the time to train your cat or don't get one. Simple as that.

Lorrie Shaw

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Laura, Were you referring to my position? You're mistaken: I didn't voice one, one way or the other. What I did do, was offer all sorts of information, including links to very reputable and factual websites where people can research the topic more thoroughly for themselves should they find themselves facing this challenging situation with their cats. I appreciate your chiming in.

Lorelei Hickman

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

It is my firsthand experience as a veterinary technician having to assist with declaw surgeries and patient aftercare that have convinced me that declawing is inhumane. The American veterinary establishment is failing to provide cat owners with all the facts necessary for informed consent to this radical and painful procedure. There are numerous more humane alternatives and strategies for cat owners to try before they consider subjecting their beloved pet to an irreversible procedure that can result in a lifetime of chronic pain. Please visit <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> for the solutions your vet is probably not going to tell you about!!!

Lorrie Shaw

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Lorelei, I find that most vets today dialog with their clients very well before any procedure, primarily an elective one. In fact, there is much more discussion about why a cat owner wants to proceed with the procedure, and generally will try and persuade peop;e to try out alternatives first. In years past, this might have been much different, but not today. The suggestions that you offered with the website are good, though - thanks for the link.

Lorrie Shaw

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Thanks for your comments, everyone! It's most definitely a topic that needs to be examined at length, and there is no one-size fits-all way to address it. Great discussion. I value all of your opinions.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

Have you written about the trend that vets are no longer willing to trim dog's ears and tails to make them look like the pedigree brand dog has in the past looked-ears that are up, tails that are short or removed? If they can refuse to make a doberman's ears stand up, why are they not also refusing to declaw?


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

You can cut a cat's nails, and I'm surprised that more people don't know this. The only difference from cutting a dog's nails is that you cut cat nails with the clippers on the top and bottom, rather than on either side like a dog, to prevent splitting. Cat nails are actually easier to cut because you just trim off the thin sharp part that extends from the rest of the nail, which is clearly separate from the quick. Just like dogs, if you start early you can train them to sit still while you do this, or use a towel to wrap them up to keep them from scratching you. Both of my cats were adopted as adults, and I can hold them and cut their nails at the same time... they don't like it, but they tolerate it. Better for the cat and better for me... they don't have a needless surgery and I don't have to pay for it!

Bertha Venation

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I trim my cat's back nails. I bought special clippers that have a rounded blade that wrap around the nail.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

My cats were about 9 weeks old when I got them. So cute! Well, I was laying in bed on my side watching TV. The cats were nestled up behind me. Unfortunatly, the refried beans decided to raise their ugly head and I accidentally ripped one off and the clothing rustled. Evidently, the cats must of thought it was a toy, and they lunged for it claws open wide for the kill. I got them front declawed the next day. True story. They're not suffering, believe me!


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Well Bertha...I guess you're right...Granny never was too sweet. But, none the less...this was one of the funniest exchanges I've ever seen on any forum! : )

Bertha Venation

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Shutthefrontdoor -- You're so right. I think it's a real hoot! SWEET? HA!

Bertha Venation

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

I apologize then. I must have repeated unfounded rumors, which is not good. I feel so bad, I'm hysterical, spinning and spinning around in my Hoveround.... WHOOPS!!! Sorry Fluffy!! You win, Little Old Lady.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Ever crossed your mind that most people still view pets as disposable that a declawed cat is basically dead if it ever gets out?


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

I just checked with the Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances (Title IX, Chapter 107: Animals, Section 9:47). Nowhere does it state that an outdoor cat must be on a leash. It doesn't even state that a dog must be on a leash. It does say that the owner is in violation of the code if &quot;(1) The dog is at any time not under reasonable control;&quot;. Where is it stated that cats must be leashed when outdoors?


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

This is just rich! I mean no offense what-so-ever...BUT...seeing this exchange between the two avatars has hit me in the funny bone! The thought of two sweet elderly ladies scratchin' like cat's over cat's is too much for me! Dear me...

Bertha Venation

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

It is the law in the city of Ann Arbor to have outdoor cats on a leash like a dog, anyway. Bet most people don't know that. Remember that when you're picking cat poop out of your vegetable garden next summer.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Well, LOL, you certainly are entitled to your opinion, but they are indoor only cats. What are they defenseless against.... a throw rug??

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Yeah they are and what's worse, now you've also rendered them completely and totally defenseless! Nice going.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.


Wolf's Bane

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Declawing cats is inhumane.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Keep the claws and let the cat live a harmonious life &quot;OUTSIDE&quot;. I live in the country and it works well for my brute. He comes and goes thru the &quot;escape hatch&quot; I installed in the door. : ) City cats...maybe it doesn't work as well.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

Too often if you let your cat outside it will not return home. I don't understand why people think it's safe or ok to let their cat go outside. They could get into all kinds of problems not to mention being hit by a car. I found a stray cat outside my door a few months back and the owner admitted he lets her out all the time. No collar. No chip. I was lucky to find her own at all. Also, the animals the cats &quot;eat&quot; could have diseases or worms. Not healthy.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

FWIW. Although I don't currently own a cat, my neighbor owns two cats and lets them outdoors. I love seeing them and love it that they catch the mice and other rodents. So please don't let anyone here bully you into keeping your cat indoors if you have a situation where an outdoor cat makes more sense. Not every one has bad neighbors who don't like outdoor cats.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 8 p.m.

my cats are front declawed and are only inside cats. They love to look out of the window, but are afraid of the outdoors.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

The standard run of the mill house cat. I say from experience that cats allowed to roam are the animal pests to top all animal pest....


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

&quot;Please do NOT let your cat out (unless on a leash). They destroy fences, window screnes, harass ours' tied/ caged pets, pose bite hazards for children,...&quot; Good grief...what kind of cats do you have in your neighborhood...Mountain Lions???!!!


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

Please do NOT let your cat out (unless on a leash). They destroy fences, window screnes, harass ours' tied/ caged pets, pose bite hazards for children, tear-up flower beds and gardens, and are a grade AAA++++ nuisance! I once had to sue a neighbour to recoup damages done by her &quot;visiting&quot; cat. Sadly, it shouldn't be too surprising that the numbers of incidents of harm done to cats on the loose is increasing. Cats are notoriously stubborn and will typically continue to make pests of themselves as long as their roaming is allowed. My experience has been that most who let their cats roam do not collar their cats. So asking the &quot;owner' to kindly keep their cat in is often not possible, as the owner is not often known. Even if the &quot;owner&quot; of the cat is known, dialoguing with cat people who let their cats roam is typically a pointless exercise. &quot;My little Fluffy not never harm anyone or anything,&quot; they'll typically say and end conversation.... Cats are the environmental nightmare <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Equivelant of zebra mussels in the water ways, purple loosestrife in the wetlands, and buckthorn in our forests. They wipe-out song birds and other small animal populations. With an estimated 115,000,000 cats on the loose in North America (from what I have last read - maybe someone can cite a link to figures), the impact of cats allowed to roam is anything short of ENORMOUS.... If you care about your cat, keep it in. No one wants to deal with a cat on the loose anymore than a dog, boa constrictor, or any other pet.... Thank you kindly.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I agree TruBlu... I used to have a chipmunk problem...not anymore. Racoons also take a pass along with the opossums as well. The geese choose NOT to land at my place either. Our crazy cat does a job on moles, voles, and country mice too. With us living next to a farm we didn't have a shortage of outside pests before the cat. Although it is a comedy show when he brings in a chipmunk that gets loose in the house...LOL! Believe it or not...our song birds are doing just fine though. We keep our feeders elevated and I haven't noticed a problem. I guess we're lucky.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Actually, introducing cats to the &quot;outdoors&quot; is another invasive species assistance program. In the case of predatory species like cats: they indiscriminately kill native species which are already under environmental pressure.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

I will never declaw. You value your furniture and drapes over your cat? I find that sad. All my cats came to me already declawed. Two have all their claws removed and the third has his fronts gone. He somehow survived for months out in the world. My first two came together and their paws are horrible deformed from the procedure. To this day, I have no idea how many years, they do not like their paws touched for any reason. As I understand it, having your cats declawed is taking away the first knuckle. Not just the claw itself. How would you like that happen to you? I didn't think you would. It is painful and pointless surgery. If you can't stand to have a cat claw up your house, then maybe you shouldn't have a cat.

Renee S.

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

I don't think it should be illegal, but I seriously question the moral fiber of anyone who chooses to declaw a cat. What's more important, your cat or your couch? I think that people who value the look of furniture over the happiness and well-being of any animal they claim to love have their priorities seriously wrong. I worked as a vet tech in a clinic for a little while that did declaws. I provided aftercare for the kitties that had gone through the procedure. Every time I cared for one it was heartbreaking. The buprenorphine they received helped ease their pain, but their suffering was unnecessary, and it wasn't temporary. One day I doped up a particularly cute and fluffy kitten who had been declawed. A month later I saw the same kitten come back to the vet; she had fractured a leg. I'm not saying she wouldn't have broken it without her front claws, but it certainly made it more likely. Cats need their claws; they depend on them for survival. For them, it's the equivalent of Chinese foot binding; they are more likely to fall and hurt themselves and they can no longer hunt. A declawed cat, if they were ever to run away or get lost, would die pretty quickly. There are many alternatives to declawing, even if you can't change your cat's behavior. For one, nail clippers. For another, soft claws. For another, don't get a leather couch! We've had our cat and our couch for years, and it still looks great. It's not that she doesn't scratch it, it's that it's upholstered with a thick weave that her claws sink into and makes it difficult to damage. But even if she did destroy our couch, I wouldn't care. It's just a piece of furniture. It's an object. Permanently disabling your cat is not worth it to have nice furniture, unless you're superficial.

Renee S.

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Re: Woman in Ypsilanti Like I said in my original post, I don't think it should be illegal. If a person really feels that scratching is such a huge problem and the only other option is euthanasia, then by all means, declaw your cat. But like I said in my post, I feel that people that feel that way have their priorities wrong. It's not that I think that pets are always above material wealth; I don't think that families who can't afford medical care for their pets, for instance, should mortgage their home or go without food in order to pay for chemotherapy. I'm sympathetic to people who can't always afford to do the best by their pets. Nor do I think that people should live with all manner of behavioral problems. Peeing or defecating outside the box, for instance, has health implications for the other people living in the home in addition to making living in the home very unpleasant. And certainly biting and scratching pose a danger to others, too. Unfortunately if a cat is aggressive, declawing will sometimes means they will simply resort to their teeth which makes the cat even more dangerous; and declawing can make a cat even more aggressive, because they feel defenseless. However, I think of all the behavioral problems, scratching is not really that big of a deal. Not owning a leather couch is not what I would call &quot;very unpleasant.&quot; A leather couch is a luxury, and to choose a luxury over the well-being of a pet? Like I said, superficial.

Renee S.

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Re: Lorrie Shaw A month after declawing the kitten fell and fractured her leg. Cats are more likely to fall if they're declawed, because it affects their balance and their ability to grip surfaces. As I said in the original post, you can't necessarily draw any conclusions; maybe the kitten would have fractured her leg even without the declaw. But personally I can't help feeling that declawing was partially responsible for her fall and resultant injury, and I felt guilty for being complicit in that act.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

@ Woman in Ypsi - Please consider getting a cat that is already declawed to spare another cat the trauma. Or a faux leather couch to save you money!

Lorrie Shaw

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

Renee, I have to say that I'm a little confused by your reference to the leg fracture: how does that relate to the declawing? Thanks in advance.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Would you rather a cat died for want of a home than be declawed? Because maybe it is superficial but I do like leather furniture, am about to invest several thousand dollars in it and I don't want it clawed up. Currently that isn't a problem. I don't have a cat. But I like cats and might get one in the future. Any cat I adopt and declaw is one less cat getting put down because there are too many cats in the world.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Nice post!


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

I would never opt to have one of my cats declawed yet I won't judge others who do. My solution has been to place kitty condos around the house and spritz them weekly with catnip spray. In fact, we have a weekly catnip party at my house. Everyone gets happy on catnip then we have treats and a nap. Small, wimpy scratching posts (under 24&quot; tall and on a wobbly base) are not a good purchase. If a kitty condo is not your idea of furniture then look at the sisal-covered scratching post (Smart Cat Ultimate Scratching Post is my favorite). They're not cheap but neither is replacing your scratched-up furniture. And finally, our pets reflect our moods. If we're anxious, they're anxious. And anxiety can manifest in different ways. If one of my felines is scratching where he or she hasn't scratched before then I put some thought into what is currently happening in the household. Most solutions don't involve anything more than a slight adjustment or some confidence-building exercises.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

I think it's unnecessary and inhumane. It can lead to infections, also. People need to do more to help the cat, not harm it. We have a few cats and the first one clawed a chair and ripped out the woven threads. We found that tapping a wrapping paper tube (sans the paper) on a table when she began to scratch created a noise she didn't like and she would stop. The second cat decided that he not only would claw the chair but loved picking at the trim and eventually loosened the backing to the chair which had to be renailed. He was a bit more difficult to dissuade. When the other five came along (as a litter), they used their nails to climb the chair. We did our best to take care of the chair until they were able to jump up. We finally resorted to putting tape (single sided clear packing tape) on the four corners where they kept clawing and that ended that. Noise makers to scare the cat away from the activity, tape on corners of the furniture, and if possible, closing the cat out of the room unless you are in the room, will help protect the furniture.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Trimming the claws every month helps a lot also.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

Just seven and they fit in the house without any problems and it looks like humans live here so no, the cats haven't taken over quite as much as it might seem.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9 p.m.

So that's how you got your first seven cats. How many do you have now?


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

As well as providing scratching posts, condos, and other scratching materials.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

I see no reason for back claw declawing. Front claw declawing is sometimes unfortunately necessary. Of course the cat should never then go outside.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

I've had a few cats, first one not de-clawed and the furniture suffered a lot. Part of it could be because my parents would not allow the cat to be in the main part of the house - so it was lonely. Second, it didn't have a good scratching pad. Second cat I had was de-clawed, but I got it after it was de-clawed and didn't know it before. It ended up peeing all over the house. The cats I've had recently have not been de-clawed, and owned since kittens. For many years, we have not had problems with furniture. We do clip their nails much like humans do, and that helps with scratches on the body as well as temptations to claw at things with their little hook claws. I find this is a great approach in general. With that said - it really comes down to the personality of the cat. Some cats can be trained to use the toilet, while others still will not stay off counters. I don't agree in outlawing it, but I also believe that if people are educated, humane people will try everything before de-clawing, and the inhumane people will be inhumane regardless of law :(

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

I used to be very against declawing cats. That is until I had an especially destructive cat and a partner who gave me a similar ultimatum when the cat destroyed his favorite couch. I had her declawed and it was the best thing I could have done. Now I don't own a cat but if I ever do get another cat, it will be declawed. I will never live with a cat who isn't front declawed again.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

I may or may not get a cat in the future regardless of whatever sanctimonious opinions are expressed here regarding my fitness as a cat owner. I do appreciate your insight though. Now I know if the shelter asks me if I plan on declawing the cat, I'll be sure to tell them &quot;no&quot;.


Tue, Feb 14, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Please don't get another cat.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

Mutilation vs death is a false comparison. There are several places in your area that will take your cat in and adopt him/her out to someone who won't mutilate them because they want expensive furniture. I have several cats with claws and none of them touch the furniture because they have scratching posts and we clip their claws. I adopted a cat someone else declawed and dumped, and she has major insecurity issues and bites far more readily than any other cat I've had. Declawing is more than physical, although it often results in nerve damage too. There is absolutely no excuse for chopping off the fingers of your pet. By the way, have a look at where your leather couch comes from. It involves horribly treated cows that die for the cause of your furniture, which has hundreds of gallons of chemicals poured on to preserve it (and guess who handles them? Poor people who have no health insurance). So you're going to spend over a thousand dollars on a couch so you can sit on the skin of abused cows, then buy a cat and have it mutilated so it doesn't puncture your dead cow throne? I hope Please look at your choices and think of the lives you are affecting.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

If I had to choose between having all of the tips of my fingers getting cut off and being put to death, I would choose losing the fingers. See? This is not a choice between having a cat with claws or having a cat with no claws for me. It is a choice between having a cat with no claws or not having a cat at all (which means one more cat put to death for want of a home), I tried the claw caps (and every thing else) with my former cat. She was about 6 when I had her declawed and she lived a nice happy long time before dying at 20. She was none the worse for wear for having been declawed.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

But you take off the first knuckle of their paws. How would you like it if someone did that to you? All my cats came to me declawed and whomever did the first two did a horrible job. Their paws are deformed now. They don't like having them touched to this day. They have to use those paws to dig in litter and I can't believe the pain it must have been to do that with newly declawed paws. How horrible. I strongly urge you to try the claw caps.


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

&quot;Another approach is to use cat nail caps like Soft Paws is found to be useful.&quot;-- And yet another approach is to join the De-Cat America Movement. ;-) Sorry, my maternal grandmother was a Cat Hoarder. Yech!! You haven't seen all sides of cat loving until you've sat in an apartment with 12 cats for an hour.

Sarah Rigg

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

I don't know what the justification has been for total declawing, including the back paws. I've had two cats that were front declawed (got them that way - I wouldn't have declawed a cat that was intact) and they don't scratch, so I never understood why some people find it necessary to do the back ones too (unless, like you say, it's for someone who can't afford to be scratched under any circumstance).


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

@tmil Cats are funny like that! LOL!


Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

My parents had a cat that was front declawed and still used it's back claws to destroy the furniture.

Lorrie Shaw

Mon, Feb 13, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Sarah, Agreed - and I am sure that there are few, if any vets that would do a back declaw. In my experience, a cat's front paws are involved if there is an issue with scratching.