Cat Declawing: Unnecessary or Acceptable?

Rayne Thompson, Staff

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Oh, Mittens, stop scratching the furniture!

When a playful kitten begins sinking their little claws into things, owners are quick to set up an appointment with the local vet, seeing to get rid of the tiny havoc-causers attached to their darling pet’s paws.

Cat declawing is a serious surgery that can be done in a few different ways, including laser, blade, or cosmetic. Declawing is an operation to remove claws surgically by means of amputation of all or part of the distal phalanges (end bones) of the animal’s toes. Meaning, a part of the cat’s bone is cut off, not just the claw itself. Just imagine having your fingers cut off up to your knuckle, that is essentially the procedure.

There is debate on whether pet owners should declaw their furry friends or not. Some find it a last recourse, others believe it is entirely inhuman. It’s even banned in some countries.

“I think it should be illegal,” English teacher Rachel Wilkinson states who does have a cat. “I have a scratching post for them. They don’t scratch furniture at all,” she continued.

Let’s cover the facts: declawing hurts. Although sources vary, cats, regardless of age, will have a hesitance to move around due to pain of walking on surgery-sensitive paws. Professionals say owners should comfort and nurture felines during their healing cycle, and some even say they will never heal. If your cat is declawed, it is mandatory they become an indoor cat the rest of their lives. Being outside without their #1 sense of protection can put them in danger.

Humansociety.org also says that it will cause your cat to bite more and scratch less. Not a good trade.

Scratching is a normal cat behavior that begins when they’re kittens; it’s not done to make their beloved owners mad. Cats scratch to stretch, mark territory, and clean dead husks from their claws. Declawing will ultimately go against their nature and instincts.

English teacher Maria Thrailkill who has had four of her feline friends declawed in the past didn’t even know what she was doing,

“When I found out I was horrified!” she exclaimed. Mrs. Thrailkill has two new cats, who scratch often, but it doesn’t affect her.

“It doesn’t even bother me anymore, to be honest,” she said.

Still, for some it DOES bother. If you are not comfortable with the idea of declawing, what else can you do? There are many alternatives to declawing your dear pet without getting rid of them. Here are just a few of many:

  • Frequent trimming
  • Behavioral training
  • Giving toy/scratching post substitutes

So, cat declawing appears to be a needless and cruel operation that perhaps isn’t the way to go when the cat is scratching the furniture, especially when there are other routes.