Declawing: Would You Want The Tops of Your Fingers Cut Off?

Trigg's Paws Claws on Yeowww My Cat's Balls

Did you know that declawing is illegal in most countries? In England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand it is considered inhumane and illegal.

Declawing a cat has been a very popular thing in the United States. Actually, we are the only country that really declaws our cats. Many of our non-USA readers are not familiar with the practice of declawing. Declawing is a surgery performed to remove the last bone in your cat’s toe and claw. The surgery is usually performed on just the two front paws; however, some cat owners choose to have the back paws done as well.

Why Do People Declaw

Most Americans have their cat declawed to avoid dealing with the cat scratching and destroying their furniture. Others declaw their cats because they do not want to be scratched or do not want their children to be scratched. However, if people really had an understanding of the crippling effects of cat declawing, they would think twice about doing it and hopefully choose not to do it altogether. Heck, one Google image search of a bad cat declaw will make your stomach turn.

Cat Health Problems That Arise from Declawing

As with any surgery and post-surgery procedures, there are cat health issues that can arise from declawing your cat.

One common problem is that a cat will stop using the litterbox because their paws hurt and the litter makes them worse. So while you didn’t start with a cat who peed outside the litterbox, you might get one after the fact.

A cat uses its claws to release emotions as it scratches. Think about it – when your cat is excited to see you or when you come home, does she or he go and scratch? By eliminating the very claws or nails that help them release such emotions, you eliminate their ability to fully release their emotions in a positive way. Henceforth, potentially creating more detrimental ways of releasing emotion like peeing or pooping outside of the litterbox.

Their claws are essential in being able to stretch their front body muscles – if they do not have their claws to dig into a scratcher or the like and stretch their muscles, then the muscles will not operate in the capacity they were designed to perform. Also, it leads to early arthritis.

Solutions BEFORE You Declaw

Felix Katnip Tree Company Scratching Beam Product Review and Trigg Ragdoll Cat

Since the reason many Americans declaw their cats is to avoid having them scratch on furniture – you want to start with providing scratching solutions in your home that your kitty can use. We have reviewed a number of cat scratches over the years – cardboard cat scratchers, sisal scratchers and more. To see some of these great solutions, you can browse our cat scratcher reviews

Here are some of our favorite scratchers:

  • TopCat Scratching Post – this is a cat scratching post made of sisal, so well-constructed it will last a year or so and when it’s been used up, you can re-order another post.
  • Felix Katnip Tree Company Tall Cat Scracher – this is similar to the TopCat scratcher, but has a top to it and is rectangular rather than round.
  • Cardboard Cat Scratchers – my two love cardboard cat scratchers – they come in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Ones that double as a lounge are a great choice because the kitty will associate it with a place to relax.
  • Felix Scratching Beam – this is a great one for those cats that like to scratch belly up on your carpeted stairs.

Readers also say how much their kitties like the Ultimate Scratching Post.

Charlie using TopCat Scratching Post

A way to encourage positive behavior when scratching is to get a scratching post that isn’t like other fabrics or textures in your home. For example, a scratching post with carpet on it would be a bad decision because it would teach your cat that it is okay to scratch on carpet. Whereas a scratching post with sisal rope on it might be a good option, since it is likely you do not have this product dispersed throughout your home. Also, you can use treats or catnip to encourage playing and therefore, the instinct reaction to sharpen their nails on the scratching post.

Cats, however, are attracted to their own scent and marking an idea over and over again. If your cat has started to mark their scent on carpet or a piece of furniture, if at all possible, the best thing to do is to remove that piece of carpet or that piece of fabric and put it onto a cat scratching post to encourage them to use that and stop the use of the stairs or piece of furniture that they have been using.

If you are considering removing your cat’s claws, please read all the links to information below and read through the information on those links BEFORE you make a decision about declawing your cat. Declawing has been and will continue to be (until it is banned) a decision pet owners make for their own convenience and not for the convenience of the feline. – Learn about the harmful effects of declawing
As I mentioned above, there are solutions to dealing with the scratching before you remove your cat’s claws. The most important one is keeping your cat’s nails’ trimmed! Click on the link below to learn how to properly trim your cat’s nails.  We have also done reviews on cat nail scissors available on the market.

How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails

A company called, “Soft Paws” makes a product where you literally superglue small plastic nail covers over your cat’s nails. They are very fun because they come in various colors, from black to pink. They also come in a variety of sizes–from kitten to large (for those of us with Ragdoll or Maine Coon cats). Soft Paws / Soft Claws for Cats – Medium Black

More Info on Declawing

There is a beautiful project called The Paw Project that has a plethora of information about declawing – and the humane alternatives to declawing. You can also watch The Paw Project film.

Cat with bandages on paws and person touching hands with text \"The Paw Project\"

I hope in my lifetime that declawing is outlawed in the USA as it is in other first-world countries around the globe.
How do you feel about declawing?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. I looked into declawing as I was waiting for Diva to come home, because every cat owner I know has done this, and the previous owners cat had damaged the knewel post of the stairs. When I read what that was, I was horrified.

    When Diva arrived here, I had a scratching post outside of the crate the breeder brought her in. Eventually, she came out and used the scratching post immediately.

    She is 8 now and has never scratched anything but her original scratching post, her cat tree and the cardboard lounger. She still has the original post, but I have had to replace the sisal twice so far.

    If you give them something they like to scratch, it’s not a problem. The bedrooms are all carpeted, and she has never even attempted to use them as a substitute scratcher. No furniture or table legs either.

    But then, she is a dat; a cat who thinks she is a dog.

  2. Declawing was made illegal here in New Zealand back in 2011 through the New Zealand Vet Association. I was
    aware of the declawing issue though well before that though, through various methods of research. Oh, you would be surprised what conversations I had with fellow members of my local SPCA – I’ve always been vocal about things concerning cats, that they, and people weren’t even aware of. I’ve been cat mad pretty much all my life, and like to inform myself about practically everything regarding our beautiful feline species. There is so much yet to still find out!!!

  3. Thanks for the information Jenny, on the declawing issue, which there is still still alot of debate about as to whether it really is worthwhile, and beneficial to the cat and the owner. I found out quite a few things when I was a member of our local SPCA … that there was no benefit at all to the owner, as once you declaw a cat, the personality completely changes, and subsequently the owner deems the cat an unfit individual, and either has it euthanized, dumps it, or passes it onto someone that can possibly “rehabilitate” it, which I know is pretty much near impossible. Also vets that I have spoken to, liken the declawing procedure as pretty much the same as chopping ones hands off at the wrist. Aside from the fact that the usual gait they walk with is no longer there, they pretty much are disabled, and they have no protection where predators are concerned. Defence mechanisms are lost, medical treatments are assigned as you said due to arthritis and constant pain, appetite is diminished, behavioural problems set in, and in amongst all of that and various other things ( there is a very long list) … you realize that beautiful entity that came into your life … the one you once thought so perfect … no longer exists. Declawing IS a barbaric process, and I am so very glad this practice is illegal here in New Zealand. I wouldn’t wish declawing on any cat, and certainly NOT to your gorgeous Ragdoll!!! If you can’t be a fit, caring and responsible owner who is prepared to put your cats needs above your own …DON’T have a cat!!!

    1. i am surprised, since declawing is illegal in NZ, that it was even discussed at the SPCA. how long has it been illegal there?

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