Cat owners commonly want to know whether declawing cats is a “humane procedure.” Cats need to scratch, and this can upset cat owners whose furniture and walls can become clawing targets.
The cat declawing surgery is invasive and traumatic. Technically called onychectomy, the procedure involves amputating the end bones of cats’ toes, rather than simply removing cats’ claws.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that declawing cats be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from destructive clawing or when clawing presents the risk of an injury or disease.
Cats hide illness and pain, as part of their instinct to appear less vulnerable to predators, so they can experience more pain than they exhibit after being declawed. Owners also report that after declawing, cats often become excessively fearful and shy. Inappropriate elimination (missing the litterbox), too, has been linked to declawing.
Talk to your vet about strategies against scratching before ordering a declawing operation. Alternatives to declawing cats include redirecting scratching to appropriate places, blocking targeted furniture from cats, covering inappropriate scratching surfaces in StickyPaws or double-sided tape, trimming cats’ claws or placing nail caps on cats.