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Cat Declawing: Pros Cons and Alternatives

Cat Declawing: What it is and Pros of the ProcedureCats are among the most beloved pets, known for their playful and affectionate nature. However, their sharp claws can be a source of worry for some owners who fear scratches on themselves and their furniture.

To avoid such situations, some pet owners opt for cat declawing, a procedure that involves the removal of the outermost joint of the cat’s toes. In this article, we will examine what cat declawing is, the methods employed, and the pros of the procedure.

Cat Declawing: What it is

Cat declawing is a surgical procedure that removes the claws of a cat. The procedure involves the amputation of the bones that support the claws and part of the cats toe.

The cats paws are then bandaged to prevent bleeding and aid in healing. Declawing is mainly done to prevent cats from scratching people and furniture.

However, some pet owners opt for declawing as a last resort if their cat displays destructive behavior.

Methods of Declawing

There are three main methods used for cat declawing: guillotine, scalpel, and laser. The guillotine method involves using a surgical instrument to remove the claws.

The scalpel technique requires the use of a scalpel to remove the claws and the surrounding tissues. The laser method involves a laser beam that vaporizes the claw and the surrounding tissues, leaving behind less trauma and bleeding.

However, the laser procedure is more expensive than the other two methods.

Pros of Cat Declawing

Prevention of Scratches on Humans, Furniture, and Medication Users:

One of the main reasons pet owners declaw their cats is to protect themselves and their furniture from scratches. Clawing can cause a lot of damage to furniture and surfaces, leading to expensive repairs or replacements.

Additionally, cat scratches can transmit diseases to humans who are immunocompromised due to certain medications. If cats can’t be trained not to scratch, declawing may be a safer solution for medication users.

Surrender of Cats for Destructive Behavior:

Some cats can display destructive behavior, which can lead to their surrender to animal shelters or euthanasia. Since declawing reduces the damage that cats can cause, it can lead to fewer cats being abandoned, surrendered, or euthanized.


Cat declawing may be a viable solution for pet owners concerned about scratches on humans and furniture, as well as for pet owners with cats that display destructive behavior. Although it is a matter of personal choice, it is important to consider the methods used in declawing, as well as the long-term effects on the cat’s health and behavior.

It is also crucial to take note that the procedure carries certain risks and ethical concerns, and should not be taken lightly. Cons of Cat Declawing: Looking at Complications and Behavioral Issues

Cat declawing, while considered a solution for several cat-related problems, is not without its drawbacks.

While the procedure may protect furniture and prevent scratches, some complications, and behavioral issues may manifest themselves in declawed cats. In this section, we will examine the cons of cat declawing, along with possible alternatives to the procedure.

Complications of Cat Declawing

While the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not oppose declawing, it acknowledges the complications associated with the procedure. Cats that undergo declawing may suffer from bony spurs, which can cause pain and inflammation, and over-grooming, which can lead to open sores and infections.

Additionally, because declawing changes the way a cat walks, it can lead to back pain and litter box issues. Even litter aversion can be one of the serious issues arising from declawing.

Increased Aggression in Declawed Cats

While declawing is believed to reduce aggression in cats, studies have shown that the opposite may be true. According to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 33% of cats exhibited increased aggression after declawing.

Because declawing removes the cat’s first line of defense, it can lead to increased anxiety and fear. This, in turn, can lead to aggressive behavior towards people and other animals.

Alternatives to Cat Declawing

Providing Ample Scratching Surfaces

One possible alternative to cat declawing is providing ample scratching surfaces for cats to use. Cats scratch to exercise, groom, stretch, and mark their territory.

By providing various scratching surfaces such as scratching posts, cat trees, and cardboard boxes, pet owners can redirect their cat’s natural scratching behavior away from furniture and other household objects. Scratching surfaces can even be made more appealing by using catnip spray and placing them in strategic locations around the house.

Trimming Nails and Using Nail Caps

Another alternative to cat declawing is regular trimming of nails and the use of nail caps. By keeping their cat’s nails trimmed, pet owners can reduce the potential damage caused by scratching.

Nail caps, also known as nail caps or claw shields, are soft covers that can be glued onto a cat’s nails to protect furniture and surfaces. However, nail caps will need to be replaced every four to six weeks as a cats nails grow.


While cat declawing may be a solution for some pet owners, it is crucial to consider the potential complications and behavioral issues associated with the procedure. Fortunately, alternatives such as providing ample scratching surfaces, trimming nails, and using nail caps are available.

As pet owners, we must take responsibility for our pet’s behavior and find solutions that are humane while also protecting our furniture and surfaces. In conclusion, cat declawing is a surgical procedure that involves amputation of the bones that support a cat’s claws.

While declawing may prevent scratches on humans and furniture and reduce destructive behavior, it carries risks such as complications, bony spurs, over-grooming, back pain, litter box issues, and increased aggression in declawed cats. Alternatives include providing ample scratching surfaces, trimming nails and using nail caps.

As pet owners, we have a responsibility to understand the pros and cons of cat declawing and make informed decisions that prioritize the wellbeing of our furry friends. Remember that cat declawing should be seen as a last resort and that alternatives exist to help you protect your furniture while keeping your cat happy and healthy.

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