Declawing, or onychectomy, is the amputation of the last digit of each toe. Because a cat’s claws grow directly from bone, the bone itself must be amputated; it is not simply the removal of claws. The surgery is performed with either a scalpel or a laser on either the front or back set of paws. It is the equivalent of amputating a human’s fingers or toes at the first joint.
Because cats walk on their toes, such an amputation has an immediate negative consequence to the cat’s mobility. Cats must shift their weight backwards, walking on their “wrists.” Over time, this unnatural gait can lead to mobility issues, arthritis and other health concerns.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no “right way” to declaw a cat. This is a significant amputation that, even when done by the best surgeon, will negatively impact a cat’s quality of life. Furthermore, declawing is NOT medically necessary and in no way benefits the cat.
Problems After Declawing Include:
- Chronic pain
- Claw regrowth
- Residual nail & bone fragments
- Nerve damage
- Phantom pains
- Arthritis and other mobility issues
- Litter box avoidance & spraying
- Biting & aggression
Alternatives to Declawing Include:
- Regular nail trims (at home or at a groomer or vet’s office)
- SoftPaws / SoftClaws application
- Appropriate scratching surfaces
- Site-specific deterrents
- Don’t let your cat get bored
It’s that simple! Please, if you love the cat, love the claws: Do Not Declaw.