Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat

February 12, 2019
Discover the reasons why you should never declaw your cat. Cats naturally are inclined to use their claws to bury their waste.

We’ve all heard that a cat’s claws are part of their feline nature. With their claws, cats hunt, play, mark their territory, walk, and climb. In this article, we’ll explain to you why you should never declaw your cat.

Should you declaw your cat?

If you want to declaw your cat, take into consideration that there are risks. Declawing is the amputation of the last bone of each toe, and carries with it long-term risks of lameness and behavioral problems.

Most people think that to declaw your cat is a simple process that removes a cat’s nails. Sadly, this is far from the truth. After this surgery, cats become handicapped and they can’t carry out daily activities such as climbing or playing.

Removing claws is very painful and changes the ways a cat’s foot meets the ground. Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue death, lameness, and back pain.

Defense mechanisms

An owner with her cat.

Remember that a cat’s claws are tools to protect them against attacks from other animals or predators. Scratching is normal cat behavior. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles. It’s quite common for declawed cats to develop different conditions that alter their behavior, such as anxiety and aggressiveness.

Many countries severely restrict declawing procedures, and most veterinarians should refuse to perform this procedure.

Destructive scratching: prevention and solutions

Coexistence

Owners are worried about their cats scratching everything at home. Cat owners should be well informed about how cats use their claws, as well as the elements that can be acquired for the cat to sharpen them.

Keep in mind that domestic coexistence between humans and cats is possible. You can easily ensure that your cat doesn’t destroy the furniture at home.

It’s important to know that cats are usually about 8 weeks old when they begin scratching. That’s the ideal time to train your kitten to use a scratching post and allow nail trims. Remember, trim your cat’s nails regularly.

Cat scratching post

Why should we have scratching posts in strategic points at home? Is it preferable to trim your cat’s nails?

On the one hand, placing several scratching posts throughout the house will prevent cats from scratching their nails in less desirable places.

You must place the scratching post in a vertical position, sturdy and tall enough to allow your cat to stretch well when doing his sharpening exercise.

The sooner the better! Encourage your cat to use the scratching post from when he’s a kitten. It’s much simpler for a small kitten to get used to the scratching post than an adult cat.

A cat scratcher to avoid declawing your cat.

Scratching posts usually have different textures. You can test to see which one your cat likes the most. Sometimes they prefer a softer area to rub against and a rougher area for their claws.

You can also try different angles. Some cats prefer the scratching post not to be fully vertical, but rather a kind of ramp. Many scrapers offer different shapes and positions.

In the case of having more than one cat at home, you should know that cats mark their territory by scratching the scratching post and leaving their smell on it.

Ideally, you should have two or more scratching posts at home, at least one scratching post for each cat. Encourage your cat to use scratching posts by sprinkling catnip on the posts regularly.

  • Fritscher, S. J., & Ha, J. (2016). Declawing has no effect on biting behavior but does affect adoption outcomes for domestic cats in an animal shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2016.04.023
  • Rollin, B. E. (1998). An ethicist’s commentary on the case of the cat who fractures both legs after a declaw. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. La Revue v??T??Rinaire Canadienne.