The Nitty-Gritty About Declawing Cats (Original post 1/10/2012)


Sassy, declawed

Sassy, declawed

Sassy, 17 years old. Toothless

Sassy, 17 years old. Toothless

Sassy is considered the old type of Siamese cat. She arrived at our house when she was about one year old. Sassy actually had a home at an apartment that was not far from our back fence. I discovered her one morning sleeping in the driver’s seat of my husband’s bass boat that was parked in the boat port/shed. I called the apartment manager and asked if anyone was missing a cat and I was told that Mrs x’s cat had been missing for about 2 days. I called the number that I was given and soon a young woman appeared and said, “oh there your are.” She related that the cat was always rushing outside whenever she opened the apartment door.

The cat appeared on average once a week for about 5 weeks and each time I would call Mrs. X and she would grumpily retrieve her cat  and take her back home. The cat would alway be lying in the driver’s seat of the bass boat when she ran away. The last time the cat appeared I did not call the woman and she did not call me. I just did not bother for I believed that Sassy liked our place and did not really care for Mrs. X. So I brought Sassy (her new name) into the house and she became part of my cat clan. Previously I had noticed that Sassy had been declawed. Maybe that is one reason she did not care to live with the young woman.

Sassy is now about 17 years old. Two summers ago all her teeth were pulled and she has adjusted very well.  She much prefers dry food. I tried feeding her canned food. Most cats love canned food but not Sassy.

I have never had any of my cats declawed but presently I have 3 cats with no claws. The other 2 cats also came with no claws.

About Declawing

Can you imagine what it would feel like to have the last joint of each finger amputated? I can only imagine the pain involved if you needed to scratch around in the dirt or to try to pick up an object.  Pain medications would enable you to function to some degree but it would probably be difficult.

So what does this have to do with declawing your cat?  So allow me to explain what is involved when a cat is declawed. But first a little info about the feet. Cats walk on their toes which is not like other mammals. A cat’s weight is distributed by the toes- for any kind of movement. The claws on the toes allow the cat to stretch as it digs in on where ever it happens to be. Without claws the cat has no way of grabbing onto any surface so that it can stretch. Stretching is an essential component of a cats well being.

Declawing in medical terminology is called onycgectomy. This means that the last digit of each toe is removed. These digits are the equivalent of the last joint of a humans fingers. The claw is not a nail of itself- meaning just the removal of the nail will not get the job done. The entire digit must be removed or the nail will grow back. The digit is a bone called the distal phalanx. If the surgery is not done carefully the result will involve complications such as infection, hemorrhage, abscess, not to even speak of the pain it causes.

The surgery is an amputation of the joint- removal of  bone, ligaments, tendons, and nerve endings. If the veterinarian is not a good surgeon and some or not just like human doctors, then the cat is really going to experience problems. Behavioral  issues may result such as not using the litter box or no longer being a playful pet.

Cat owners have and still are misled by veterinarians who minimize  the seriousness of the surgery. The amputation of the last joint of ten toes often involves a great deal of pain which could last a very long time. Do you want to put your cat through this kind of torture?

Without the last joint of the toes, a cat will have a little problem such as being able to balance without effort. The last toes on a cat’s foot provide secure footing.

This information was obtained from AVAR (Association of  Veterinarians for Animal Rights.)

The only valid reason for declawing a cat is if that is your only alternative to keep your cat from scratching the furniture or family member is immuno compromised and should not risk being scratched by a cat.

Cat owners can research the Internet and get all kinds of info about providing scratching posts, etc. There is information galore on the Internet.

Post by Yvonne

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53 thoughts on “The Nitty-Gritty About Declawing Cats (Original post 1/10/2012)

  1. Thanks, Yvonne. I wish we’d had Roxie when she was a kitten. We never would have put her through that as her previous owners did. But she has adjusted and we try to keep her inside, although she is constantly trying to escape.

    • I think this is the last or maybe the first comment, from you, that I’m answering. The main thing is that Roxie knows love and I believe that you already know that. I’m sure she feels tremendous love from you. A new adult cat can be a hand full as you try to break her old habits of wanting to be outdoors. When my cats were all younger, they were a nightmare to keep in. All of then had come from a feral life so I can identify with your frustrations. Thank you so much for all your comments. I have enjoyed reading about your cats.

  2. desertrose7 says:

    That’s just horrible 😦 Glad you have put this information out there!
    I also saw on a show the other night that declawing cats can lead to litter tray aversion because the litter actually hurts their toes.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, I agree that declawing is awful is animal abuse.
      USA is one of the few countries that still butchers on their pets with tail docking, ear cropping, debarking, and declawing. We are so far behind in many ways. Fault of the people is all I’ve got to say. I am against all of that. There is a post about ear cropping, etc.I can’t tell you where to find it at the moment. I’ll have to look in archives and let you know later.

      Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash I am so tired and sleepy.

      • Desertrose says:

        This reply is for Desertrose but my computer picked it up to send back to me. I was going to write more but just have little energy left. USA is one of the few countries that still butchers on their pets with tail docking, ear cropping, debarking, and declawing. We are so far behind in many ways. Fault of the people is all I've got to say. I am against all of that. There is a post about ear cropping, etc.I can't tell you where to find it at the moment. I'll have to look in archives and let you know later.

  3. tchistorygal says:

    Hi Yvonne, This is your stand-offish Californian friend, Marsha here with not much of importance to say, but always willing to say it anyway! We have 2 cats presently, both feral. Mama is something over 12, and Scardy Baby, her son, is about 12. They are outdoor kitties, so we had them fixed after several batches of babies, who have homes around the neighborhood. After that our kitties had no more parts removed. De-clawing sounds like the worst torture ever. You should probably do a banner of that article. We think our babies are the sweetest cats, and can roam the world here in the country, dig their claws into a few rattle snakes, kit foxes, owls, coyotes, and mountain lions, but they always end up staying right here for most of the day. The dog loves them. I’m not sure the feelings are mutual, but they put up with her. 🙂 Have a great week-end, and nice blog, BTW 🙂 Marsha Lee 🙂

    • Thanks Marsha for reading and commenting. I would like for you to read the post that I wrote about keeping your pet safe from PREDATORS. I will have to look for what category it ended up in for I am not sure where it went. My dear blogger friend from Wales fixed my messed up blog and I don’t know for sure if I had some of the posts tagged as they should have been, etc. I will contact you again when I find what category it is in. I am glad that you “fixed” the cats and that you are feeding them. They should be put up at night at least- don’t know how they have survived to this age. The OLDER THEY BECOME the more susceptible they are to sucumbing to being eaten by a predator.

      • tchistorygal says:

        They can get away from predators. We have some protected areas, but my husband is very allergic to cats, and absolutely won’t have them in any inside place. I have to get along with him as well as the cats. 🙂

        • Well it is what it is when someone is allergic to cats. But- if they’ve made it this far then maybe they will be good for a few more years. Allergies are bad. Nothing to sneeze at. (pun intended) 🙂

        • tchistorygal says:

          hahaha. They have a pretty good set-up here. The worst things are other cats that come to visit, skunks and maybe raccoons that come out at night. We hear some noises on the roof once in a while. WE had a visitor that we named Motley. He was not liked, but he needed food. As soon as he built up enough weight, and his coat started looking like cat fur and not dreadlocks, he left again. 🙂

        • I envision you living in northern Cal but if your cats have enough smarts not to stray from a safe place they will probably be ok since they have made it this far. And yeh, cats come and go if unneutered and maybe he was eaten. You’ll never know unless he shows up again.

  4. dailyspro says:

    Sassy is very lucky to have found you! She’s so regal and beautiful as well.

    I completely agree with your take on declawing! I believe it is a selfishly human practice. If you keep your cats claws trimmed, it’s really not that bad.

    • Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your time very much. It is true if the nails are trimmed on a regular basis and a scratching post is available there should be no probem with a cat/s scratching up the furniture.

  5. katrina says:

    I’m totally against cat declawing..its cruel…and after reading your article here, it is more obvious man should not do that to cats…
    to me cats are natural ballet dancers and without the claws, what show would that make for them..I love cats..

    • Thank Katrina for taking the time to read and to comment. It is true that cats need their claws just as people need the ends of their fingers. It is nice to know that you are fond of cats.

  6. Fergiemoto says:

    Really interesting information. It sounds like Sassy needed someone like you and it’s wonderful you were able to rescue her.

  7. Lynda says:

    I did this only once thinking it was the right thing to do.
    I cried all the way home from the vet’s office. The kitty in question lived a long life and learned to compensate using her back claws as defense.

    I would never ever do this to a cat again.

    • Lynda,I am so sorry that you realized too late that delcawing was not the right thing to do. But I am assuming that you kept her as an inside cat or at least mostly as an inside cat since she lived a long life. my three declawed cats came my way already declawed. They still try to sharped their front paws on the scratching posts. This is an inate thing with cats. Just as dogs have certain traits that are hard wired into their brains and we humans do as well.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.I appreciate you a lot.

      • Lynda says:

        Yes, she was a mostly inside cat. We took her out for supervised yard time, then back in when we couldn’t watch her. She was a very special girl. 🙂

        • Thank for the reply Lynda. You are indeed a special and wise person that monitored your cat outdoors.So many people are so careless and act as if nothing is going to happen when there are perils in every nook and cranny just waiting to pounce, eat, maul, steal, run over, or a cat hater that shoots or poisons cats and dogs. It gives me the shudders to think of all that can happen to a pet- cat or dog.

  8. I totally agree with not declawing a cat. Pretty cat.

  9. Wow, I had never heard of cats being de-clawed I don’t think it is legal here in the UK and I am pleased that it is the case. Cats need their claws, the only legitimate reason I can see for such a practice is if a cat is so aggressive that it would save them from euthanization.

    • Thank you for visiting and commenting. I appreciate you comment very much. Yes, I believe declawing is illegal in many other countries but it is sad to say that it is not in the states. It is a form of abuse not matter how much the owner and the vet say that it is not. Cats never walk the same and they can not defend themselves if the situation should arise.

  10. Amputating an animal to awoid getting your furniture harmed, that is abuse, it is torture. I have never heard about it, and I have the feeling it would be illigal in my country, if there wasn’t a medical reason. At least I hope so.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Bente. I agree with you and I wish that it were illegal here but many poeple are still insisting that is the only way they will keep their cat. I have talked to quite a few pople over the years to give them all the reasons for not declawing their cat. Some people insist anyway so I can’t stop wealthy people for going forward with this procedure done.

      Many things that is consdiered abuse in Great Britian and Europe is not deemed abuse here in the U.S. We are so far behind most other countries in many areas and that includes human medicine and insurance as well. We are supposed to be such a great country yet we are sadly lacking in many areas.

  11. Ralph says:

    Star the kitten has found her spot in the house on a chair by the fire that the other cats don’t use. I only need to get her potty trained in one spot and she is gradually getting the idea.
    That’s nice of someone to tweak your blog back into shape. There are some nice people blogging here in WP.

  12. Margie says:

    You would think people who don’t want their furniture clawed would simply get a different pet. Cats will be cats.

    • Margie that is so true. People that do not understand an animal’s behavior do not need any pet at all. Those are the kind of people that think nothing of dumping a cat or dog at the shelters where most of those pets are destroyed.

  13. Ralph says:

    Hi Yvonne. You have been working hard !! New Theme? Very nice. After reading some of the comments I don’t think my three cats will be declawed. Two are 10 now and I have just taken in a skeleton of a year old kitten who is now gaining loads of weight after deworming (more worms than poo) and regular food, warmth and cuddles. Ralph xox

    • Thank you agaim for commenting. And I am so glad that you took in the starving waif. The kitten will repay the debt to you just as I think a stray dog does that is given a home. They seem to make the best pets.

      I didn’t change my theme. The bog had just gotten messed up probably with me fiddling with it. A blogger friend from Great Britian offered to fix it for me and she did a very good job.She is a wonderful lady but does not want it known that she helped me. The bog realy needs some type of different theme but not sure in which direction to go.

  14. Val says:

    Even though I’m not a cat owner (though we had a cat when I was a child, before my allergies were diagnosed) I detest the practice of declawing them. How absolutely cruel it is. I don’t think there is any reason for declawing a cat, certainly not for any human reason. If a cat won’t stop scratching the furniture, maybe those people shouldn’t keep a cat? And if a person is allergic to cat scratches, again, maybe they shouldn’t keep a cat in the first place.

    My mother taught our cat to keep its claws retracted. Can that not be taught by other cat owners to their cats? Cats are intelligent animals.

    • Val, your mother was quite a smart lady to teach a cat to keep its claws retracted. You must have inherited all those smarts of yours from your mother and I know for sure your father. So you got a double dose of super intelligence from both parents.

      And, yes cats are quite smart. At least I think some of mine possess esp. 🙂

      It is true that many people have not a clue about anything they adopt. One should dang well should know all there is to know about any pet. That goes for the little “fisheys” (fish) if you prefer- where some ignorant people use a fruit jar for a solitary beta.

      I saw an article in the local paper where two women are doing very well selling exotic and the usual pet store fare such as hedge hogs, flying squirrel, rats, mice, hamsters, etc, etc. I am totally against the sort of thing. Oh and I forgot ferrets.

      Thanks for commenting val. I appreciate that you took the time, especialy since you are super allergic to cats and dogs.

  15. I think that the claws are their pride and joy! Our cat has a board attached to the wall that she has adopted as her scratch and show post. So, we’ve left it there for her since it keeps her happy and our furniture safe…

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • That is ideal for your cat. I have old fencing nailed to the corners of the kitchen cabinet and some of the door frames. The cats like the old boards. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate that you read and commented.

      Blessings to up as well,

  16. TexWisGirl says:

    i’m glad you took her in – if only because she was defenseless outside w/o claws.

    i had one indoor cat in my life. before we moved to our first new home (with carpeted stairs), we had her declawed. it was traumatic as her paws kept breaking open and bleeding – even a long time after. i’d not do it again.

    • Theresa, yours is just another story that I have heard about declawing. Soem say that it changed the cats personality. Some cats cats became mean and some ran away just like Sassy did from her owner. Thanks so much for commenting.

  17. Andrew says:

    I’m glad you and Sassy found one another, Yvonne. Im sure she is happier now. I guess after 16 years she would have let you know if she were not! To be honest I didn’t realize people do declaw cats. It sounds dreadful when you transpose it into human terms.Sassy has a lovely face – ageing gracefully. My brother kept Siamese cats. Would never have any other. Haughty things they were but quite beautiful. Just like Sassy.

    • Andrew, I remember one time from a comment that you made that your brother always had Siamese cats. I’ve often thought about your brother every time I write about cats. You had written me that he had died I think you said when not yet 60 years old. But back to our comment. I would be intersted to know what people in Asia do with their cats. The Japanese like cats very much. I don’t know about other orientals but I think declawing is barbaric and I compare it to the ear cropping thing of some of the dog breeds. Thank you for commenting.

      • Andrew says:

        After some research Yvonne it seems declawing is illegal in HK. But like many other illegal activities it goes on. There are many cats in HK and too many end up on the street and becoming feral. If they are given to the SPCA they will try to find a home but it is hard. Just as in many other countries people don’t take the responsibility of pet ownership seriously. So sad.

        • Andrew, thanks for the comment. I have been reading about the horrific cat and dog situatuon in Greeece and in Indonesia. It is awful beyond words. I can not understand mankind and the powers in control I also read about the very poor in Hong Kong. Oh, my gosh, those poor people. What an awful turn of events when an area that is so wealthy can not support the poor.

          So it is no surprise that animals get the brunt of man’s inhumanity to man and creatues. Animals don’t seem to have any meaning except for the very wealthy. So again it is no surprise how bad the pets are treated. Wealthy people can get away with just about anything such as illegal declawing of the cats. Just wave the money in front of a vet and they’ll jump through hoops for you.

          Why there is no spay and neuter of the feral cats and dogs is beyond my comprehension. Of all places that has so much money one would think that a service such as that could be put in place.

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