Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | May 26, 2009

No to Cat De-Clawing

Sugar the Claw Advocat

Sugar the Claw Advocat

Greetings Pet Column readers, my name is Sugar – an adoptable cat here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter.   For this week’s Column, I wanted to write on the issue of de-clawing, an issue last discussed about two years ago in this Column.  Second Chance believes this topic is critical enough to be revisited and that if more cat parents and adopters were informed of the realities of de-clawing their cats there would be a greater interest in pursuing other alternatives.

At the risk of being too graphic in this family friendly news publication (I will shortly refer you to a few websites for the graphic descriptions if you choose to go there), the procedure of de-clawing is extremely painful and should not be compared to a torn fingernail, as it is actually an amputation.  (Look down at your fingers and think about what it would take to remove your fingernails and you may get a better understanding…

Although you may know some felines that have undergone the surgery and appear fine (recovery period is typically several weeks) keep in mind that we often try to hide our pain and discomfort as part of our survival instinct. 

There are many potential and common complications and negative implications to this surgery which I will briefly summarize as: chronic pain, lameness, joint stiffness, arthritis, as well as behavioral problems which can later emerge like litterbox avoidance & biting (we feel pretty helpless without our claws).  You should also know that our claws can grow back after surgery.  And last, but NOT least, our primary means of defense is removed with our claws, including our ability to climb to safety…

So, I know I speak for all my feline friends and relatives in clearly stating that we don’t like anything about the surgery or its results (did you know are claws also help us to maintain our balance?).  And, there are many simple, pain-free, and less costly alternatives to this procedure, number one being a good ol’ scratching post.  Yup, it is our natural instinct to scratch, it feels soooo good to our muscles and joints and allows us to leave a bit of our scent to mark our “turf”.  We feel emotionally and physically fulfilled through scratching.  However, we also are willing to learn where our people parents do and do not like us to scratch. 

Other alternatives to de-clawing include protecting the furniture that your feline friend is most partial to with various deterrents like sticky strips or mats, and placing scratching posts near the furniture most enjoyed.  Most cats also love to play and interact with our human families and this keeps us distracted from the furniture as well. 

Don’t forget to keep our nails trimmed and, for those kitties who refuse to be trained and are causing serious furniture damage, there are painless soft plastic caps (called Soft Paws) that you can have temporarily placed on our claws to assist in the training process (just make sure we don’t go outside with these on as we will still be defenseless).

So, don’t think I am being a pussy cat about this whole de-clawing issue, every single animal humane agency that I am familiar with has clear statements against this procedure and it is even an illegal practice throughout most of Europe and other feline-sensitive countries.

Other good resources to learn more about de-clawing facts include: (caution, this one is rather graphic…)

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.


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