A cat owner posted this post on facebook in March 2017. The cat owner obviously had no clue that declawing involves the amputation of the toe bones on a cat’s paw. It’s hard to believe that this is still possible but sadly it is.
This veterinary practice in Oklahoma uses a guillotine clipper for their declaws and tells cat owners that they, “cut off the nail and nail bed then use surgical glue to close the incision.”
They charge $69 for a 2 paw declaw and $97 for a 4 paw declaw.
When a cat owner asks them if there are any negative consequences to declawing or if there will be complications they say, “typically not, we do them frequently with no problems.”
In regards to any post op care they say, “a special litter called Yesterday’s News should be used for 2 weeks.”
Please sign my petition to Purina to inspire them to help us educate cat owners like this about the horrific truth about declawing since all of these vets aren’t. Purina is making millions of dollars from the sale of Yesterday’s News that almost all of the unethical prodeclaw vets recommend or sell for their declawed cats. Petition for Purina
Then this cat owner must have been upset that someone told her that declawing was inhumane and an amputation procedure since she posted this photo of the poor kitty the same day.
A really awesome veterinarian sent me this valuable information about declawing and the humane alternatives.
First, readers should know there is pain involved in declawing. Dr Christianne Schelling put together this article on declawing.com that walks the reader through a declaw surgery from a kitten’s point of view: http://www.declawing.com/great-articles/walk-through-a-declaw-surgery-with-a-kitten
Next, it is important readers should also be educated about cat scratching so they can choose the best alternative to declawing that fits best in their home in the long run. Soft Paws are wonderful, and they work for most homes, but they do not work for every single home.
Declawing should not be the next option for the homes Soft Paws are not a fit for. The well-rounded, educated cat owner should know why a cat scratches to get to the bottom of their behavior to stop it.
PurrfectPost.com has a bunch of educational articles readers may want to check out for specific situations a cat may be scratching: https://www.purrfectpost.com/great-articles/ This veterinarian should of listed educational links like ours for a cat’s well-being before pointing them to declawing if Soft Paws did not work.
CatHealth.com also has an informative article: How to STOMP Out Problem Cat Scratching: http://www.cathealth.com/scratching-alternatives/stomp-out-problem-cat-scratching
Plus, there’s also a great slideshow/interactive quiz to learn why a cat might not be using their scratching post that Dr Schelling put together on CatHealth.com: http://www.cathealth.com/scratching-alternatives/do-you-know-how-to-choose-a-cat-scratching-post-an-interactive-quiz
The importance of sturdy scratching posts and playing around the post/ using catnip on the post to get them interested in it are EASY tips most people could do to help train their cat. Just like dogs need to be trained to behave, cats need some training, too. This article has been very popular for Purrfect Post. It explains why cats scratch, what to look for in a scratching post, and how to train a cat in 7 days or less to use a scratching post: https://www.purrfectpost.com/train-your-cat-to-stop-scratching-your-couch-in-7-days-or-less/
For Soft Paws, people should know that Soft Paws is a quick and cheap declawing alternative: https://www.softpaws.com/soft-paws-the-quick-and-cheap-declawing-alternative/
If someone is worried about their cat might get an infection or an ingrown claw while wearing Soft Paws, there’s nothing to worry about: https://www.softpaws.com/facts-about-cat-claws-that-relate-to-the-use-of-soft-paws/
Soft Paws are great while training a cat to use a scratching post or for people too lazy to train a cat to use a scratching post. It will always work if they apply them correctly. Here’s an article we put together for tips on keeping them on: https://www.softpaws.com/how-can-i-keep-soft-paws-on-my-pet/
Soft Paws also are a great alternative to declawing not only to protect furniture, but they work great to protect a pet from medical problems, too: https://www.softpaws.com/using-soft-paws-for-your-pets-medical-problems/
If traveling is an issue that would make one consider declawing a pet, Soft Paws can help much more cheaply than declawing: https://www.softpaws.com/using-soft-paws-on-the-go/
Anyone who might consider declawing in order to meet management requirement of a rental should also consider using Soft Paws: https://www.softpaws.com/cat-scratching-declawing-and-rentals-how-to-talk-with-your-landlord-about-declawing
Soft Paws are also great for life transitions. As new pets get used to each other, Soft Paws can protect them from each other if they do not always get along: https://www.softpaws.com/use-soft-paws-for-life-transitions/
I received this note from Diana about the two declawed cats that she rescued.
Dear City, March 20, 2017
A frequent justification for declawing is that the cat would otherwise be banished from the home and that the procedure is a small price to pay for the kitty to live out its life in a safe and nurturing environment.
Sounds good, but it’s complete BUNK! Anyone who would subject their cat to the pain, disfigurement, and lifetime of misery resulting from a declaw procedure would discard them without a second thought.
Over the last several years I’ve rescued several kitties rejected by owners who had them declawed. Here is just one of those stories:
I spotted a small blue tabby in my front yard late one evening. He looked frightened and hungry, and when I knelt down to give him food he put his paws on my back and began to knead. I realized immediately that he had no claws and told my husband that we had to bring the kitty inside right away. The next day I contacted a neighborhood source who explained that no one had seen either of the TWO cats that were deposited at a neighbor’s home by her son’s girlfriend.
The couple moved into a new condo where cats were not allowed, so they decided to drop the two kitties off at his mom’s house. Not IN the house, mind you, but AT the house.
Two declawed cats that lived indoors their whole lives were deposited in the front yard of a stranger’s house.
I tracked down the owner of the kitties who claimed to be distraught over having to eject two frightened cats from her car in an unfamiliar place. “I drove away in tears,” she insisted.
It should be no surprise to anyone that someone who would inflict the misery of a declaw procedure on a kitty, would also abandon it in such a callous fashion.
Needless to say, I took in the blue tabby, named Zachary, and the big tuxedo, called Maximilian both of whom lived happily ever after — in spite of the lingering pain and disability of having had their toes removed…by the very person who literally kicked them to the curb.
Diana, Zachary, and Maximilian
4 Myths to Debunk Before You Consider Declawing Your Cat
Christie Long, D.V.M., C.V.A.
As one of the many veterinarians who refuses to perform declawing surgery, I feel that I’ve heard all the excuses under the sun as to why cats should be declawed. Or, at least, what people thought they knew about declawing. Many people are shocked to learn how awful declawing actually is, and wonder why it was the norm for so long.
This surgery used to be performed fairly routinely, in order to keep cats from scratching furniture and carpets. Now, the procedure has become highly controversial, and many countries and municipalities have made it illegal. In fact, New Jersey recently voted to add onychectomy to the list of criminal animal cruelty offenses.
Read my response to these 4 preconceived notions I’ve heard throughout my career and start setting the record straight.
1. Declawing is a common, humane procedure
While the word “common” may be arguable, declawing is actually amputation. That is, amputation without a medical reason. Many of my patients are surprised when I tell them that declawing isn’t simply taking out the claw, it means amputating of the last phalanx of each of your cat’s ten front toes. On your own finger, this would be the part from the last joint to the tip of the finger. Imagine removing that just so you don’t have to cut your nails anymore!
But why is this done? Why don’t we just take off the nail? Because removing the nail itself often results in regrowth, and the goal of the surgery is to completely rid the cat of his claw, so for the procedure to be effective amputation is required.
2. The recovery will be easy
Your cat walks on his toes, meaning any surgery to this area will result in pain and bleeding. Blood vessels must be severed in order for the phalanx to be removed, and the simple act of walking after surgery will result in excess bleeding. Because of this, to prevent the delicate surgical area from pain and additional bleeding, cats need to wear heavy bandages that look like boxing gloves for at least 24 hours. And ideally, they should stay overnight in the hospital on intravenous pain medications.
Between the cost of the surgery, the hospitalization, and the medications, declawing can get very pricey very fast.
Additionally, the heavier your cat is, the more pain they will experience. Cats carry about 60% of their body weight on their front legs. We’ve now learned that declawing hurts every time it’s done, but heavier adult cats, for example, will experience much more pain than a kitten would as they recover. For this reason, declawing an adult cat is even less humane.
3. Declawing will give my cat a better life
Wrong again. Cats that have been declawed often have lifelong pain. In the past, most vets simply used regular pet nail clippers that had (hopefully!) been sterilized to slice the toes at the last joint. This method can leave behind small fragments of bone that cause pain every time the cat puts pressure on his paws – which is essentially every time your cat moves.
Now, vets take greater precaution, and use a scalpel blade or laser to remove the phalanx at the joint to reduce bone fragments. However, in my opinion, the only way to completely prevent pain is to not do the procedure.
4. Declawing will give me a better life
Let’s be real: many times this procedure is done in an attempt to avoid scratching of furniture, floors, or due to housing restrictions — and really isn’t to make the cat’s life better at all, but your own. While some situations may be unavoidable, cats who have been declawed may experience personality and behavioral issues that will cause you and them stress later on.
Many veterinarians believe that declawed cats can be more aggressive. As they can’t express their natural drive to scratch, they experience frustration that leads to aggression toward you, your family or guests who enter your home. Also, as we reviewed, many cats have chronic pain stemming from the surgery that will cause their paws to hurt constantly. Aside from putting your cat in pain, this often makes them avoid their litter box (as digging to bury will put their paws in even more pain) and may do their business elsewhere.
So, between the possible aggression and litter box accidents, it seems that declawing will actually make your life harder. Some solutions to avoid declawing include scratching posts and similar toys. Try a number of different ones, including cardboard, sisal, and carpet, and sprinkle catnip on them to attract your cat to them.
Another option is gluing plastic caps on your cat’s nails, such as Soft Paws, a veterinarian-developed and humane solution, which helps prevent damage from scratching without putting your cat in harm’s way. They are also much less traumatic than putting your cat through an invasive and painful declawing surgery.
About me: As a small animal veterinarian, I’ve done everything from working in a busy dog and cat practice, to doing volunteer work in Mexico, to teaching veterinary students about how to better communicate with the humans that their patients come with. I’ve also written over 250 articles and answered countless questions on PetCoach, a service that help pet parents better the lives of their pets through direct communication with veterinarians.
Photo of Christie and her cat Sidhartha aka “Sidh”
March 14, 2017
Good news! There is a bill to ban declawing that was just introduced in West Virginia.
Unfortunately there are many pro-declaw vets in that state who don’t want declawing banned. They make good money from amputating cat’s toe bones and claws so they want to protect the welfare of their pocketbooks.
Some of these vets even go to great lengths to lie to the public and their clients about declawing like this in a weekly column by two West Virginia vets, Gary McCutcheon and Jennifer Canfield from All Pets Animal Clinic. Points for Pets Column
My research team looked into how this veterinary practice addresses declawing. They called the practice posing as first time cat owners who wanted a price for a neuter/spay-declaw. This is what they found.
According to employees at All Pets Animal Clinic, these vets declaw cats with a guillotine style nail trimmer to “cut off the bone tip”, they say. This is the old school way that crushes the tissue, tendons, nerves, and often bone.
When the cat owners asked the employees if there are any long term negative consequences to declawing, they say no and said, “after 10 days, they are back to their normal self.”
They say it is cheaper to do the declaw with the neuter. A front declaw is $162 and a neuter/declaw is $180. They say that they do several declaws a month.
They tell you will need to use Purina’s Yesterday’s News cat litter for two weeks after their declaws.
Please sign my petition to Purina so that we can inspire them to help us end declawing with some of the money they are making from it from the sales of Yesterday’s News cat litter. My Petition to Purina
Here is the full text of the question and answer.
Q: I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors and concern recently about the declawing of cats. My mother recently adopted a young cat, and she very much wants to take care of her properly. She has atrial fibrillation and is on a blood thinning medication. Consequently, she very much needs to have her little cat declawed to help prevent a situation that could be harmful if she was to be scratched. Is it going to be possible to have this surgery done because I realize some people want to make it illegal?
A: I’m sorry to hear your mother has A-Fib, but I’m so glad she’s receiving treatment. Yes, declawing of cats is a very commonly performed surgery, so your mother should not have any problem finding a veterinarian who will be more than happy to help her. This surgery, like any other surgery, is performed under general anesthesia using sterile technique. And, like any other surgery, post-op pain control is addressed, and recovery times are very similar to every other routine procedure.
You are right when you state there are those who would like to make declawing illegal. Many of those opinions have been formed by misinformation and what I call “internet-hype.” When performed properly, the declaw procedure results in no harmful side effects. In our experience, the cats have no higher incidence of any behavioral problems, which is in direct contrast to some of the fabrications that are now circulating. Please consult with your veterinarian to receive specific information concerning this procedure.
Here are the studies and facts about declawing that will show you the truth. The “misinformation” and alternative facts that are being spread are by these pro-declaw vets who say there are no harmful side effects and that this inhumane procedure is ok. It’s not and here are some of the many facts to back it up.
The truth about declawing
The Painful Truth About Declawing