At Austin Pets Alive!, our policy is to not adopt cats to owners who intend to, or would even consider, declawing. Many people perceive this policy to be unreasonable, most likely because they don’t truly understand the procedure and its risks.
Declawing (onychectomy) is not simply removing a cat’s nails, but is amputating the first digit of the cat’s paw – comparable to cutting off the last knuckle of each finger on a human hand. It is serious surgery with all the potential complications that involves. It also can lead to lifelong problems:
- Declawing a cat alters the confirmation of a cat’s foot, causing the foot to meet the ground at an unnatural angle, which can lead to pain and permanent deformity. Read more here: http://www.littlebigcat.com/declawing/physical-consequences-of-declawing/.
- A declawed cat is 30 times more likely to have litterbox problems, because of litter getting stuck inside the declawed paw, causing pain.
- A declawed cat has lost its primary defense mechanism and is more likely to bite, or become withdrawn and frightened.
To manage inappropriate scratching, there are a number of products, such as Sticky Paws and Soft Paws, which do not cause permanent damage to the cat. You can also proactively avoid scratching by providing irresistible surfaces, such as sisal or rope scratching posts, or cardboard scratch trays, and by trimming cats’ nails regularly.
APA! is not alone in its position that declawing a cat is inhumane. Declawing is banned in several cities in the United States and in many countries around the world.