Q: Should I have my cat declawed?

June 26, 2010 | By Mary T. | 2 answers | Expired: 2037 days ago

Mary T.

I’m worried about having my cat declawed. Suppose he gets out of the house, a dog chases him and he has to run up a tree?

Chosen Answer

Right worry, for the wrong reason.

In an emergency, even cats without their claws can usually get away — jumping several times their height, shaping their paws and clamoring to where they need to be.

However, declawing a cat is a cruel, painful (to the cat), and needlessly knee-jerk reaction (by cat owners) to a perceived threat (furniture shredding). Onychectomy in a cat is the surgical removal of the toe bones that produce the nails. The pain goes away after a while, the bandages come off (hopefully without infection), and the cat adapts to walking without part of the toes.

These days, so many veterinarians refuse to perform the procedure that there is now a special web site: Enter your Zip code to find a declawing vet within limping distance.

There are good alternatives to declawing (tiny covers that slip over sharp nails, scratching posts your cat will learn to use if you show him the aforementioned vet web site) but those toes, once cut off, will never grow back.

Whichever decision you reach, make it an informed one that you (and your cat) won’t regret.

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Readers' Answers (1)
Dennis S.

Jul 10, 2010

1st off it is not a declawing of the cat, it is an amputation. The term declaw is much too benign. The cats digits to the 1st joint are amputated and somehow I don't find furmiture or almost any reason acceptable for such a severe surgury despite what the AVA may say.

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