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Humane Way To Declaw A Cat

Protect Cats From Declawing

Expert talks alternatives to declawing your cat

Were a nation of animal lovers and our values and humane ethic are inspiring advocates nationwide to stand up for declawing bans. We cant give cats their claws back who have suffered declawing, but together we can make declawing history. As the global engine of change for cats, Alley Cat Allies is leading the way.

It does absolutely no good whatsoever, period, no question, for a cat to be declawed, Jennifer Conrad, DVM, Founder and President of The Paw Project

We are working with veterinarians, shelters, and people like you who care about cats to stop declawing once and for all. Join us in working to educate others about declawing, support legislation banning declawing, and pledge to protect cats from this cruel practice.

What Is Declawing A Cat

Before going to the step-by step procedure, we should know what it really means to declaw a cat.

or Onychectomy is the amputation of the last bone of each toe with a scalpel or guillotine clipper. The surgery can be risky and painful. After declawing, the wounds are usually closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the feet are bandaged. Now that you know what declawing really means, we can now go through this article to know more.

How Is A Cat Declawed

The standard method of declawing is amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper. The wounds are closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the feet are bandaged.

Another method is laser surgery, in which a small, intense beam of light cuts through tissue by heating and vaporizing it. However, it’s still the amputation of the last toe bone of the cat and carries with it the same long-term risks of lameness and behavioral problems as does declawing with scalpels or clippers.

If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

A third procedure is the tendonectomy, in which the tendon that controls the claw in each toe is severed. The cat keeps their claws, but can’t control them or extend them to scratch. This procedure is associated with a high incidence of abnormally thick claw growth. Therefore, more frequent and challenging nail trims are required to prevent the cat’s claws from snagging on people, carpet, furniture, and drapes, or from growing into the cat’s paw pads.

Because of complications, a cat who has been given a tendonectomy may require declawing later. Although a tendonectomy is not actually amputation, a 1998 study published in the “Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association” found the incidence of bleeding, lameness, and infection was similar between tendonectomy and declawing.

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Faqs On How To Declaw A Cat At Home

To know more about cats declaw, you can read this FAQs section.

So, lets move forward!

Q1. Can you humanely declaw a cat?Answer: It is considered as inhumane, declawing is just for the benefits of humans, not the cats. See Some Negative Effects of Declawing section.

Q2. What can I do instead of declawing my cat?Answer: Some other ways instead of declawing a cat are:

  • Nail trimming

See also:

Q3. Is it cruel to declaw an indoor cat?

Answer: Once a cat is declawed, it should be kept strictly indoors since the pet will no longer be able to defend itself or climb to escape a potential predator.

Q4. How to train a cat not to scratch your stuff?

Answer: Give them something to scratch to.

How Much Does Declawing Cost

Declawing Cats and Humane Alternatives

Most folks look for declawing alternatives because they want to avoid the inhumane practice but thats not the only reason to seek out other options.

You could easily implement all of the declaw alternatives above for less than the cost of a declaw surgery.

Thats because the typical declaw surgery costs anywhere from $250 to $800. The cost will vary based on your location but that doesnt take into consideration the risks of post-operative complications which can actually be quite high, at least compared to other elective procedures.

The data can be difficult to find but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, The reported incidence of postoperative complications ranges from rare to 50%

Hemorrhage, or bleeding, was the most common complication and its safe to say that getting blood all over your furniture or carpet is not a good outcome when the whole point of declawing is to try and protect your home.

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Understanding The Procedure For Declawing Cats

As veterinary care providers we are here to help provide you with accurate and unbiased information about declawing cats in order for you to make an informed, educated decision on behalf of your furry feline friend.

  • Blade Declawing: An instrument with a sliding blade cuts a straight line through the joint between the entire claw growth and the rest of the cat’s paw. This is the most common method of declawing kittens or adult cats, and is the most invasive.

Alternatives To Declawing A Cat

I even thought of declawing the tips of my cats toes but it is prohibited in a growing number of US states. So, whats next?

Confused? Dont know what to do?

Well, with CatLovesBest you will learn 9 amazing alternatives to declawing. You can use sticky paws, trim their nails, make their favorite place undesirable, and many more.

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How To Declaw A Cat At Home Wrap Up

Scratching is one of the natural habits of cats, and declawing is not the only answer to stop them. As you have reached this far, we hope that you have learned many other ways to prevent unwanted scratches other than declawing. Cats cannot talk and say if they are in pain and such so what we can only do if we opt to have a cat as a pet is to love and understand them genuinely as we should. Reading this far means you care a lot about your cat, thank you!

A Declawing Surgery Can Be Done Safely And Humanely Despite Consistent Opposition

Cat declawing: helpful or harmful?

We have all heard some of the reasons onychectomy is evil:

It as a barbaric as cutting peoples knuckles off. Cats end up miserably painful and unable to walk and jump for the rest of their lives. No reasonable cat would willingly choose to have the procedure done. Vets have only gone to school for, like, 20 years or so, and are obviously incapable of making intelligent decisions. Plus, theyre in it for the money. Therefore, politicians, lobbyists and activists should make sound decisions for them.

Some of the grounds to allow vets to do declaws include:

It is a surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia, which should only be offered after discussing the pros and cons with the ownerjust like any other surgery. Declawing should not be a convenience or an automatic procedure. It should be chosen as a last resort, when other recognized, established options have failed. Scratching babies, kids, grandmas, chemo patients, AIDS patients and furniture is not always easy to prevent. In selected cases, declawing may then be an alternative to relinquishment or euthanasia. Forbidding vets to perform declaws may lead to backyard declaws, with or without anesthesia. And with or without pain relief.

Of course, there are other reasons. But one small detail always seems to be missing from this debate: appropriate pain management.

Thats the missing detail nobody seems to talk about.

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What Is Involved In Declawing

There is a misconception that the procedure is minor and pain free. Declawing consists of amputation of the third phalanx . This does not entail simply removing a nail and is akin to a human having the end of the finger removed at the first joint. The procedure is painful regardless of pain medications employed.

Short-term complications of the surgery aside from acute pain include infection, hemorrhage, swelling, and nerve trauma. There may be long-term complications post surgery including lameness, neuropathic pain, and behavioral problems. These complications increase with the age at which the procedure is performed.

Protecting Furniture From Cat Scratching Damage

So if declawing is inhumane, how can you protect your belongings from cat claw damage? Luckily, there are several things you can do to ensure that your cat’s claws can exist in harmony with your furniture and other household items. These include:

Providing enough cat scratching surfaces that have the qualities that are important to cats is one of the most important and effective ways for you to minimize cat scratching damage to your home. A cat that has access to scratching posts that meet their needs for marking territory, stretching muscles, and relieving stress will almost always choose to use them rather than the less attractive options of furniture and carpet.

Training your cat to use a scratching post involves making the post as attractive as possible for scratching while simultaneously rendering undesirable any unacceptable surfaces that he may be using. You can learn exactly how to do both things in the article “How to Train Your Cat or Kitten to Use a Scratching Post.”

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Keep Her In Separate Room

The last best thing to protect your furniture and carpets from scratching is to keep them in a separate room. This can be a temporary solution but this can work.

Choose a room for your kitty which doesnt include carpet, furniture, or sofa because cats prefer to scratch these things. It tempts them to turn on into destructive mode.

You can place a litter box, some interactive toys, food, and water for her in that room. Give her love and environmental enrichment. And build an exclusive room for her, so she likes to spend time there.

Trim Your Cats Nails Regularly

Is Declawing Cats Humane?

This is the second main element to minimizing claw damage in your household. One of the reasons cats scratch is to maintain their claws. Cats in the wild do this naturally by climbing trees and scratching against rough surfaces. This sheds the outer layers of dead nail hulls and maintains the length to keep them from becoming so long that they grow in on themselves. Indoor cats need a little more help with this. Helping them keep their nail length in check will go a long way towards ensuring appropriate scratching behavior.

In my experience, there are two kinds of cats. Those that HATE getting their nails trimmed more than anything else on earth, and those that are completely fine with it. I have one of each. To be fair, my more challenging cat, Chickadee, doesnt necessarily hate her nails being trimmed, she just hates the process of being restrained in any way. I used to try to get the job done covertly while she slept, and that worked for a while, but she is on to me now. So now I wrap her in a blanket during nail trimming and make sure to give her plenty of praise and some treats afterwards. That way she knows that everything is OK and can get back to doing the really important stuff

For more information on how to trim a cats nails, see my article here.

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Make Appropriate Scratching Areas More Appealing

You can take things to another level by making your designed scratching areas even more appealing with the addition of catnip or feline pheromones. If your cat has to choose between trying to scratch a couch thats guarded by sticky tape or scratching a beautiful sisal-covered post thats sprinkled with catnipit should be a pretty easy choice.

No need to go crazy with it and your cats powerful nose will quickly figure out whats going so just a few sprinkles should do the trick. Its worth pointing out though that roughly 33% of cats lack the gene required to enjoy catnip so figure if your cat likes the stuff first.

You can pick up catnip from just about anywhere but Id recommend .

You can also consider using a feline pheromone spray like Feliway which is designed to mimic the natural calming pheromones that are released when cats scratch. Theres a lot of debate in the veterinary world around the effectiveness of Feliway but some studies have suggested that it can help with scratching or at least help cats feel more relaxed. It may also encourage cats to use their appropriate scratching posts as many can be attracted to the scent.

The Truth About Cats And Scratching

Scratching is normal cat behavior. It isn’t done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles.

Cats are usually about 8 weeks old when they begin scratching. That’s the ideal time to train kittens to use a scratching post and allow nail trims. Pet caregivers should not consider declawing a routine prevention for unwanted scratching. Declawing can actually lead to an entirely different set of behavior problems that may be worse than shredding the couch.

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Spread Education And Awareness

For too long, declawing has been treated as a routine veterinary procedure, even though it is an elective and nontherapeutic surgery that is largely performed to prevent scratching on furniture. There are plenty of humane and affordable alternatives that veterinarians can suggest to cat owners, including nail trimming, nail caps, spray deterrents, and providing scratching posts with catnip for extra appeal.

Thanks to growing education efforts, more and more people are beginning to understand how much harm declawing causes cats.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the International Society of Feline Medicine, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association all oppose declawing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also does not recommend declawing.

Several major hospital groups, including Banfield, BluePearl, and VCA, have also banned declawing.

Declawing is unnecessary and ineffective. Learn how to humanely address unwanted scratching.

Is Declawing Cats Painful

NYS passes law to ban Cat Declawing

Declawing is a surgical amputation of the last knuckle of each toe. As with any surgery, a .

For this reason, most veterinarians routinely prescribe analgesic medication to assist with pain. If your cat is being declawed, ask your veterinarian about the pain-management protocol they plan to use.

Whether declawed cats experience pain that lasts beyond the immediate recovery period is not known for sure.

The topic is hotly debated and even has a name: post-declaw pain syndrome. Some people believe that cats experience pain after a declaw for not just days or weeks, but months or even years, due to nerve damage that occurs during the surgery.

Pain may be traditional pain or may be phantom pain, similar to what human amputees report . Cats may limp or exhibit other signs of pain or discomfort long after they have healed from the surgery.

Some people also believe that declawed cats have more behavioral problems related to chronic residual pain, such as litter box avoidance and aggression. Because declawing a cat changes the shape of the foot, the procedure may also affect how the cat walks, runs and climbs.

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What Are The Pros Of Laser Declawing Your Cat

Traditional declawing methods use a scalpel to remove the first segment of your cats toe bones, where the claws are located. The wounds are then closed using surgical glue or stitches. The cats feet are bandaged throughout the recovery.

Proponents of laser declawing say that this method is more humane. Lasers have been used instead of scalpels for surgeries in pets and humans for decades. This method uses a laser beam to cut through the bone and remove the cats claws. Specialists say that this method is less painful because it severs and cauterizes the nerve endings

Fewer complications arise from laser declawing surgery because of the lack of an open wound. The laser cauterizes the incision, which minimizes the chance of infection during recovery. Because the laser is more precise than a scalpel, this method reduces swelling during recovery. Veterinary surgeons who prefer laser declawing say that it lessens the amount of time it takes to recover.

  • Fewer complications

Support And Opposition For Declawing Bans


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not support declawing cats. Its website outlines how ill and immune-compromised individuals can live safely with their companion cats and does not include declawing in its list of recommendations for reducing cat scratching. Instead, the CDC recommends avoiding rough play and trimming cats nails frequently. Furthermore, guidelines about living with HIV, jointly produced by the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, states declawing is not advised.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners strongly opposes declawing as an elective procedure, noting there are inherent risks and complications with declawing that increase with age such as acute pain, infection, nerve trauma, as well as long term complications like lameness, behavioral problems, and chronic neuropathic pain.


There are extremely rare circumstances, such as cancer in the nailbed, in which declawing surgery is necessary. Virtually every declawing ban includes an exemption for this. It is not a logical argument for opposition groups to argue that declawing bans limit a veterinarians ability to treat their patients.

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Schedule An Appointment To Discuss Options With Your Veterinarian

At Ingleside Animal Hospital, our veterinary team has provided education and insight to help many concerned and caring cat owners decide if declawing a cat is the right decision to make. If you are looking into cat declawing surgery, or have any questions about declawing cats, please contact us to schedule an appointment with a member of our veterinary team today.

Applying Deterrents To Furniture

5 Humane Alternatives to Declawing  2 Cats and a Blog

Something else you could try is covering the problem areas of your furniture with materials that cats would find unpleasant to the touch. Things like aluminium foil, double-sided tape, or plastic furniture covers are examples of things that might do the trick. The idea is that eventually your cat will learn to scratch in the other areas that you have provided and you can then remove the deterrents.

Citrus spray is another type of cat deterrent. Cats have a natural aversion to citrus scent so the idea is to spray onto the area you DONT want them to scratch to keep them away. You can find a selection of cat deterrent sprays here.

I would also recommend sprinkling catnip on their scratching posts and other areas that you DO want them to scratch. Cats understand scent better than anything else. Good scent YES, bad scent NO.

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