Yes, it is. To remove a cat's
claws is far worse than to deprive cat owners of their fingernails.
This is because the claws have so many important functions in the life
of a cat. A declawed cat is a maimed cat, and anyone considering having
the operation done to his pet should think again. People hastily declaw
cats hoping to protect their furniture as well as themselves from
potential scratches. It's natural for a cat to scratch, but with a
little human effort, you can direct that energy so that you, your cat,
and your furniture can comfortably live together.
Consider the facts. To begin with, it is important that every
cat should keep itself well groomed. A smooth, clean coat of fur is
essential for a cat's well-being. It is vital for temperature control,
for cleanliness, for waterproofing, and for controlling the scent
signaling the feline body. As a result, cats spend a great deal of
time every day dealing with their toilet. In addition to the typical
licking movements, they perform repeated scratchings. These scratching
actions are a crucial part of the cleaning routine, getting rid of skin
irritations, dislodging dead hairs, and combing out tangles in the fur.
Without claws, it is impossible for any cat to scratch itself
efficiently, and the whole grooming pattern suffers as a result. Even
if the human owners help out with brush and comb, there is no way they
can replace the sensitivity of the natural scratching response of their
pet. Anyone who has ever suffered an itch that can't be scratched
will sympathize with the dilemma of the declawed cat.
It has been
argued that a declawed cat can learn to use its teeth more when
grooming. It is true that cats often nibble an irritation rather than
scratch it, but unfortunately, some of the most urgent scratching
requirements are in the region of the head, mouth, neck, and especially,
the ears. Teeth are useless here, and these important parts of the body
cannot be kept in perfect condition with only clawless feet to groom
A second problem faces the declawed cat when it tries to
climb. Climbing is second nature to all small felines, and it is
virtually impossible for a cat to switch off its urge to climb, even if
it is punished for doing so. And punished it certainly will be if it
attempts to climb after having its claws removed, for it will no longer
have any grip in its feet. Even the simple act of climbing up onto a
chair or a window ledge may prove hazardous. Without the pinpoint
contact of the tips of the claws, the animals may find themselves
slipping and crashing to the ground. The expression of disbelief and
confusion that is observed on the faces of such cats as they pick
themselves up is in itself sufficient to turn any cat lover against the
idea of claw removal. If the cat accidentally gets out of doors, it is
defenseless against enemies (other cats in a cat fight, dogs, mean
humans, etc.). In addition, scratching offers psychological comfort
through its rhythmic action, and reassurance of self-defense by the
contraction of the claws.
In addition to destroying the animal's
ability to groom, climb, defend itself against rivals, and protect
itself from enemies, the operation of declawing also eliminates the
cat's ability to hunt. This may not be important for a well-fed family
pet, but if ever such a cat were to find itself lost or homeless, it
would rapidly die of starvation. The vital grab at a mouse with sharp
claws extended would become a useless gesture.
In short, a
declawed cat is a crippled, mutilated cat, and no excuse can justify the
operation. Despite this, many pet cats are carried off to the vet by
exasperated owners for this type of convenience surgery. The operation,
although nearly always refused by vets in Britain, has become so common
in certain countries that it even has an official name. It is called
onyxectomy. Using an old Greek name for it somehow makes it seem
more respectable. The literal translation of onyxectomy, however, is
simply "nail-cutting out" and that is what vets are doing, even though
they may not like to be reminded of the fact when they record their
The consequences of declawing are often pathetic.
Changes in behavior can occur. A declawed cat frequently resorts to
biting when confronted with even minor threats. Biting becomes an
overcompensation for the insecurity of having no claws. Bungled surgery
can result in the regrowth of deformed claws or in an infection leading
to gangrene. Balance is affected by the inability to grasp with their
claws. Chronic physical ailments such as cystitis or skin disorders can
be manifestations of a declawed cat's frustration and stress.
reason for the popularity of the declawing operation in recent years has
been the concern of owners for their furnishings. Valuable chair
fabrics, curtains, cushions, and other materials are often found
scratched, torn, and tattered as a result of the family cat's claw
sharpening activities around the house, and the addition of commercially
manufactured scratching posts to the indoor furniture rarely seems to
solve the problem by itself. It takes other measures by the pet owner
in combination with an alternative scratching area. Home furnishings
are expensive, but a cat's well-being is priceless.
humans can be avoided by always handling cats gently and respectfully
and keeping a cat's claws clipped (described in my care and grooming
section of the Dandy Lions home page) is the single best way to prevent scratches
to humans, as well as to reduce a cat's need for scratching to keep
Your cat should trust you, and depend upon you
for protection. Don't betray that trust by declawing your cat. Below
are safe alternatives to declawing your cat.
Six Simple Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat
Scratching is the very essence of a cat
being a cat. These simple, inexpensive modifications in your cat's
behavior and environment can eliminate damaged furniture and scratched
Remember, declawing is radical surgery that involves
amputating the first joint of a cat's toes. It's permanent, expensive,
and irreversible, and may have unwanted affect on your cat's behavior.
Please consider other alternatives such as SOFTPAWS nail caps before
committing your cat to surgery.