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Weigh In: How Far Would You Go to Support a Ban on Declawing?

Public outcry against cat declawing is getting louder and louder these days. Even as anti-declawing advocacy groups like The Paw Project steadily grow in numbers, the fight against declawing struggles on.

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To be clear, this site is a strong advocate against declawing. It’s a painful amputation of a cat’s knuckles – not simply removing claws, as many people still believe. It’s a procedure that’s extremely painful, and can have lasting, even lifelong, emotional and physical effects on a cat, who’s very nature is to use his claws.

That said, many people for many years have had their pets declawed – on the advice of their trusted veterinarian, possibly as an add-on when the cat was spayed or neutered. If the vet recommended it, how could it possibly be a bad thing?

The Veterinarian’s Oath says:

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

Wouldn’t declawing a cat – and potentially causing a lifetime of pain and suffering – be a direct violation of the very oath every vet has made since 1954?

That got us thinking. Let’s discuss…

Would you have your cat declawed? Or, if you did in the past, would you do it again? Tell us your experience.

Does your veterinarian perform cat declaws? Perhaps it never ocurred to you to ask, because you’d never have your own cat declawed.

But, how do you feel about taking your cat to a veterinarian who is willing to declaw cats?

We’re curious to know what you think. Comment below.

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Sonja Kipp

    Jun 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I would never have a cat declawed. We have had 50 cats spayed and neutered. Our vet does perform this horrible declawing; it needs to stop!

  2. Sue Tobin

    Jun 17, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I am in favor of a law prohibiting a Veterinarian from Declawing. It is surgery that doesn’t save a cat’s life. I did not have my first cat in 30 years, declawed. No furniture or draperies are worth inflicting that much pain. Some say the pain goes away and they don’t remember it. I don’t buy it! It’s simple; if you don’t declaw, there’s no pain! With all the publicity this subject has received over the past decade, I can’t believe anyone would think it is still okay. If you don’t want to take the time to train kitty to use a scratching post, then let kitty own someone else who is kinder and gentler.

  3. Vicki Williams

    Nov 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    It should be outlawed in all fifty states and vets should be heavily fined if caught doing it.

  4. Linda Richardson

    Nov 16, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    If you are going to declaw a cat, just don’t get one. Make up your mind before you get a cat and let that be that. They have claws and need to sharpen them and will where they take a notion. You have to be diligent with keeping their claws trimmed and proper places to scratch. If your friends don’t like your “cats live here” home, they can just stay away.

  5. mahsa levy

    Nov 16, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    declawing should be made illegal. simple and logical.

  6. Kelle Asmus

    Nov 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Totally agai st it! My cat was not drclawed and I would never do it! It is inhumane:( I am all for banning it!

  7. Cindy

    Nov 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I would never, ever declaw a cat. We have had one “second hnd” cat ho came to us declawed. he was a timid and loving kitty but did bite when wrestling with the other cats. My home decor is ct friendly, and the claw marks on the ends of the sofa don’t bother me at all. We have had many,many cats over our 23 year marriage, and currently have 10 plus two new “porch cats” (they just show up — we must be listed on the feral kitty underground). I am not sure if my vet performs declawing but I will surely ask. he is kind and compassionate in all ways, and has even come out to our house to euthanize my 14 year old cat with oral cancer
    who he had taken care of since he was a kitten.

  8. Judy Newbold

    Nov 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I have 19 rescues all neutered and spayed I would never declaw any cat, ever! Yes my furniture is scratched and perfectly catified! If a house guest doesn’t like they can leave! I will sign any petition and help protest in any way I can to prevent the intentional making of these beautiful creatures! Sign me up!

  9. Debbie

    Nov 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve had two cats that were not declawed. For the most part the problems with claws are minor. I do not believe in declawing. However, if it makes the difference between a cat having a home or being put in a shelter or euthanized, I think it’s more important for the cat to have a loving home. I think vets need to educate people about declawing, but of course, it is a source of income for them.

    • Molly

      Nov 17, 2015 at 10:54 am

      It’s a shame since this argument is used the most often, but if 40 other countries have banned declawing and are doing just fine, I think the US and Canada have no excuse not to follow suit.
      If a person brought a cat to the vet and said “Either kill this cat, or declaw it” they do not deserve to ever have any pets if that is how they think of their animals. I understand a lot of people may decide against a cat if they cannot declaw, and am unsure of what the repercussions of this will be, but if it means only the pet owners who actually care about the well-being of their pet and treat it like family will adopt cats, so be it.

      • L Swan

        Jan 31, 2016 at 12:21 am

        ^^ what Molly said, for declawing does not keep cats in homes. The guardian that is so quick to declaw (or send to the shelter) for scratching the sofa will really be upset when Fluffy has post declawing litter box issues from chronic or acute pain and begins urinating indiscriminately and biting family members.
        It’s time for the dated mindset (by pro-declawers) that cats with claws are defective as house pets ends. It’s the declawed cats that are sadly disabled and made defective by selfish humans.
        Paws need claws! Claws make a cat a cat!

  10. TAM

    Nov 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    We adopted a couple of cats about 2 years ago and at first we were considering having them declawed as mnay people told us to. However upon speaking with the woman at the Humane Soc and doing a little research on our own we decided against it. Our casts are inside kitties and when their claws get a little too long it takes us around 5 min to trim both cats claws, why would you harm a cat for life when you can trim their claws once a month. Also we found that for the most part as long as we have a couple scratching posts for them they leave the sofa alone.

  11. Jacque Weber

    Nov 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I am absolutely against declawing. My cats are happy,calm and well adjusted. They do not destroy furniture because I have scratch posts and cat trees and microfiber fabric on furniture. I,also, clip their claws every couple of weeks. I feel that declawing is mutilation and I would never put my cat ,that I love, through such trauma. I never asked my vet if she does declawing, but I will at my next visit.

  12. Kat

    Nov 16, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Whole heartedly against declawing!
    All 3 of my babies from the age of 4 (I am now 31) were never declawed. People should invest more in scratch posts and in learning to trim your own fur babies claws and less in having their claws removed. Would you rip the nails off of a human? I didn’t think so…(that’s a torture method among others if I’m not mistakened )
    I have scratch posts in all of his favorite places and trim his claws regularly. He is a happy boy!

  13. Eileen

    Nov 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    All these countries ban declawing. Why doesn’t the US?!?

    England
    Scotland
    Wales
    Italy
    Austria
    Switzerland
    Norway
    Sweden
    Ireland
    Denmark
    Finland
    Slovenia
    Brazil
    Australia
    New Zealand
    Serbia
    Montenegro
    Macedonia
    Slovenia
    France
    Germany
    Bosnia
    Malta
    Netherlands
    Northern Ireland
    Portugal
    Belgium
    Israel

    • Barbara

      Nov 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Because it is all about the money. Plain and simple.

  14. Jane

    Nov 17, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Claws are a kitty’s main defense mechanisms. Even if you keep your cat inside she might sneak out and if she feels threatened by another animal, she won’t be able to climb to safety. If you are that worried about your furniture getting scratched up, get a fish

  15. Ruth Ockendon Laycock

    Nov 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Declawing is banned or considered extremely inhumane and rarely done, in 44 countries now and some vets in the USA and Canada are voluntarily giving up declawing now that it’s known it causes cats great suffering. The Paw Project vets are repairing the mutilated paws of countless cats relinquished to Shelters with problems from declawing. It does not keep cats in their homes. It is very cruel unnecessary major surgery as cats need to scratch to stay healthy. In England we have never declawed cats and we manage very nicely with babies, furniture, immunocompromised people, etc, all the excuses given to declaw a cat! It is time declawing was banned worldwide!
    (co founder of The International Coalition Against Declawing

  16. Kim

    Nov 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    All the way, declawing should be banned! There is NO reason a cat should be declawed. All reasonings & myths have been debunked. Declawing DOES NOT keep a cat in its home, there are alternatives to declawing. Declawing is animal abuse for hire, just to fatten the wallets of the veterinarians who declaw. If a cat owner can’t accept the WHOLE cat then they shouldn’t have one.

  17. Kim

    Nov 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    All the way, declawing must be banned. Declawing serves no purpose other then to fatten the wallets of veterinarians. All reasoning & myths have been debunked. Declawing does not keep a cat in its home. Declawing is animal abuse, condemned a cat to a lifetime of pain & suffering. If a cat owner can’t love the WHOLE cat then they shouldn’t have one.

  18. Kim

    Nov 17, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Ok, this is my fourth attempt to leave a comment, the other three never posted.
    Declawing must be banned through out the country, it’s animal abuse for hire. Every reason, excuse or myth for declawing has been debunked. Declawing does not keep at cat in its home. There are humane alternatives, declawing leaves a cat with a lifetime of pain & suffering, that’s animal abuse. The veterinarian community knows all this but continues to declaw because of money, again animal abuse for hire. If a cat owner cat love thier WHOLE cat then they shouldn’t have one!

  19. Barbara

    Nov 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Never ever would I declaw. It should be banned. It should hold a fine, and it should , if repeated, result in the loss of a veterinary licence. Give vets the 3 strike rule. Fine for the first, heavier fine and suspension of license for 30 days for the second offense, revocation of veterinary license for the third. They’s stop. Simple. If every vet was at risk, they all would stop.

  20. Barbara

    Nov 17, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    However, the AVMA is the NUMBER ONE SUPPORTER of cat declawing. They would lose thousands of dollars if they ban it. So the AVMA advocates there is nothing wrong with it.

  21. Maggie

    Nov 17, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Declawing should absolutely 100% be banned in the United States and the rest of the world. When/if a veterinarian asks you if you want to declaw your cat, you should pick up your cat and take your business elsewhere and tell them why. If your vet will amputate healthy, happy toes on your cat then what else is he willing to do for the almighty buck? Money is a powerful motivator. I ask every vet I go to if they declaw, if they do I will take my business elsewhere and let them know why – I prefer a HUMANE veterinarian to one that will harm an animal any day of the week. I know we all want to think that our vet is the best and the most compassionate and the world’s biggest animal advocate, but the truth is that a lot of vets don’t care about the animals they are working on, they only see them as a means of income. I’m a former vet tech, I left the field because of the HUGE lack of compassion I saw in my time as a tech. I wanted to help animals, not hurt them. The first time I saw a declaw surgery it shattered me to my core. The cat wasn’t completely anestetized, just put under with ketamine and atropine, then the “vet” went to work with his guillotine blades and I remember hearing the cat’s bones cracking and breaking as he went on about his work as if he were not maiming an animal for no good reason. Afterwards, the cat sat in his kennel with his bandaged paws and would not move. He would not move even one inch, he was in too much pain. After so long of working with animals you know how to read them. This poor cat was never the same again. People that declaw their cats knowing what it will cause should be punished severely, and the ones that declaw and dump their cats should be punished even more severely. Those cats didn’t ask to be maimed or mutilated, and they sure as heck don’t deserve to be thrown out of their homes for “problems” stemming from a declaw – because there is no “good” declaw, they’re all bad. Period. Veterinarians are the ones failing our animals, and they will continue to fail them until we as a society deem this cruel and inhumane treatment! Why people think it’s OK to amputate toes on a cat is beyond me, do we cut off kids fingers when they scratch themselves or their siblings? It’s not an extreme comparison, my animals are my kids because I do not have kids, so please don’t say that you can’t compare the two because you absolutely can. I love animals, all animals. I would NEVER do anything to intentionally harm them. Declawing is harmful to your cat. Your veterinarian will not tell you the truth, do your own research. Watch The Paw Project and if you still decide to declaw your cat, I think you can honestly look at your self in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a horrible human being.

  22. Amy

    Nov 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I would NEVER EVER maim any animal in such a way. Lifelong consequences for those poor animals.

    I looked around until I found a vet who DOES NOT declaw. I could not stand to have the same human touch my pet who also amputates innocent toes.

    The Five Freedoms outline five aspects of animal welfare under human control. Declawing violates at least 3 of them:

    * Freedom from thirst and hunger
    * Freedom from discomfort
    * Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
    * Freedom to express most normal behavior
    * Freedom from fear and distress

  23. LesLee

    Nov 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I have adopted cats that were already declawed because I knew that I would keep them safe indoors. But I would never, ever have a cat declawed! The practice is cruel and unnecessary. It’s lazy of the human caretaker.

  24. Rebecca

    Nov 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Growing up declawing was the normal thing to do when we got a new cat. Get them fixed and declawed. Our vets never mentioned anything about any long-term effects or anything, so it just seemed like what you did when you got a cat. When I went to college and started working at a humane society I was horrified to find out what declawing really is. When I adopted my 2 boys I never even considered amputating their poor toes, and I make it my mission to educate as many people as possible about how horrible declawing is and what the alternatives are. (Mine use nail caps to keep my landlord happy and I really want to get some for the shelter I work at so we can show them to people still considering declawing). Recently I took in a foster who was declawed and had to have surgery to fix his poor feet. He is doing much better now, but I still look at his deformed feet and wish the person who did it to him knew what a terrible choice it was. He will never really be a normal cat able to do everything my other cats can.
    The vet I have taken my cats to before does declaw, but only the front feet and only if it is the only way to get the person to keep their cat. I don’t agree with that, but there are not many veterinarians in the area and since it is the vet the shelter uses they also know all of my animals’ histories, especially the foster (who I might end up keeping). We are also trying to persuade her that declawing to keep cats in homes is not the solution since it is hurting the poor cats and many of them end up at the shelter because of behavioral problems from being declawed. Maybe we will eventually be able to persuade her. I certainly hope so or better yet it have it outlawed.

  25. D

    Nov 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    As a mom of two dumped declawed cats who have life-long post declaw issues, I would most definitely want declawing banned. Remember lobotomies? Declawing has been compared to them, cruel, barbaric, horrorific. A declawed cat loses the P3 toe bones and ends up walking on their P2 phalanx bones, the equivalent of walking on their ‘wrists’. Declawing is legal animal cruelty. More declawed cats end up being euthanized because they develop behavior problems. For those who say their declawed cat is fine, do you get their paws x-rayed yearly to see if there is bone regrowth? All human amputees have to do this. Cats hide their pain, they learn to live with the pain of walking on their wrists and the possible arthritis that comes from an inadequate bone structure. As for the excuse veterinarians give, it is just an excuse that a declawed cat stays in the home. I have found dozens of rescues and shelters who will not let their cats go to people who will declaw them. If a landlord requires declawing, they need to be shown a letter from a veterinarian who does not declaw stating why the cat cannot be declawed, doctor’s order’s, many landlords do not know how cruel it is. There have been apartment complexes who have given up asking their renters to declaw once they found out how barbaric the procedure is.

  26. Melissa

    Nov 18, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Declawing is so catastrophic to a cat’s life, that I actively talk to my vet about stopping the practice and poll vets who made the plunge on what it took to get them to stop and what support they need to turn this around. Good vets don’t like this procedure, but often feel that if they don’t do it, the cats will be abandoned or killed. I personally feel the cats would be better off abandoned than maimed, especially after going through the research regarding longterm effects, but I’m not the one who has to choose between the needle or the scalpel. My goal is to make it easier for those vets to educate and spare cats from harm by addressing the ecosystem that encourages the thriving business of declawing. This must be done rationally and calmly, since being combative makes it harder to get the message out.

    Do I think declawing is wrong? You bet your boots I do! It must stop!

  27. Louise Balmforth

    Nov 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I am in the rather fortunate position of living in the UK where this barbaric procedure is, as it should be, against the law.

    I find it quite incredible that cat owners over in north America can be brainwashed to such a point that they think this procedure is acceptable, the rest of the world is quite clearly able to see how barbaric and unnecessary it is yet over there the very people who are being paid to serve out pets interests, and being paid fairly huge sums of money to boot, can just casually say “Would you like a de-claw with that” as if it is just as trivial as a flea treatment.

    It really is time that the north American population started to think fro themselves and realise these ‘vets’ are simply ripping you off for huge amounts of money, torturing and maiming your cats, and all you actually need is a $10 scratch pole and half an hour to teach your cat to use it – if you even need to because in the majority of cases a cat will PREFER a scratch pole to furniture.

    The sooner this is outlawed across the entire world the better, 23 million deformed cats are begging you to change..

  28. Christine Borisov

    Nov 20, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Never!!! Declawing is barbaric and inhumane. I was a vet tech for several years and assisted in these horrific “surgeries”. Made me cry every time. The cats were never the same. Needs to be outlawed worldwide!

  29. Rosemary

    Nov 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I agree this should be banned. None of my cats are declawed, And they never will be, If you do this to your cat, and they do get out of the house, they cant defend them self’s . If people are so worried about there claws, Get them trimmed or get the little caps you can put on them. The little caps comes in different colors, And you can get them at pet stores.

  30. Julia

    Dec 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    My 17 was declawed when I adopted her. Life long behavior issues, believe me! So instead of scratching, I deal with peeing everywhere. I would take scratching any day of the week! I would totally support an effort to ban it!

  31. Julia

    Dec 12, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Oh! And thank you to whomever suggested to get their paws x-rayed! Nobody ever suggested that!

  32. Fenja

    Feb 26, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I live in Germany and declawing is banned here. Thank God! But if it weren`t, I would never ever allow for my cat to be declawed, and I would most certainly never take my cat to a vet that would declaw. It is so sad and shameful that declawing is still legal in some places, and I truly wish all the pain and suffering in the world on the people that inflict this horror upon cats. How selfish, greedy, and plainly evil does a human being have to be in order to willfully cripple another being in such a way?!

  33. Fenja

    Feb 26, 2016 at 7:56 am

    @ D :

    I just read how you brought up lobotomies. YES! That is exactly what my husband and I said when we read about declawing. Just like humans were maimed and crippled by lobotomies because other people did not like their natural behavior, cats are also maimed and crippled because people do not like their natural behavior. And in both cases some very eviol people tried to sell as many of those surgeries as they can to feed their greed.

  34. Lisa

    May 3, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    This definitely needs to be banned. I’ve had cats for many years and haven’t had clawing problems. You have to train them. A water bottle works well. Buy cat scratchers!! I have 2 cat towers, and I have a cat scratcher in every room. They’re $5 at Walmart. Give them toys to play with. I’ve never had my furniture, curtains ect messed up by any cat

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