Many people don’t realize what’s involved in a declaw surgery and the fact that the word ‘declawing’ can be misleading doesn’t help. Declawing is not a simple removal of the claws but a full blown amputation of parts of healthy toes. Declawing a cat means removing the entire distal phalanx (up to the first joint) of each toe. It would be like cutting our fingers off at the first knuckle. Declawing causes extreme pain to the cat and often numerous problems down the line, such as: Litter box avoidance from associating the litter box with pain after surgery, personality changes, skittishness and resorting to biting from having their first line of defense removed, arthritis from having to learn a new way of carrying their weight (cats walk on their toes!), and more. I hear people say all the time, “Better declawed than in a shelter!”, but in actuality many declawed cats end up in shelters anyway because of the behavioral problems they experience after being declawed.
It’s actually illegal and considered inhumane mutilation in most countries outside of the U.S. and Canada to declaw a cat. Declawing has no benefits to the cat, only the owner. There are numerous alternatives to declawing including scratching posts and surfaces, Sticky Paws tape, deterrent sprays, Soft Paws nail caps, and claw trimming.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman (a veterinarian and director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine) author of ‘The Cat Who Cried For Help’: "Declawing involves more than simply trimming a cat’s nails to the quick; it actually involves amputation of the tips of the digits, bones and all. The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats’ recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain.
Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by the overwhelming pain. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.”
Cat Declaw Surgery (YouTube/Warning: Graphic)
Warning: Picture past the read more break is somewhat graphic.