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Is declawing wrong??


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 16, 2005
I put this in the kitchen because I know that people will have strong opinions about it.

Now, I sort of have a problem. I have a 5 year old cat that has a neurological problem with her claws and they will not longer retract at all. I try to keep them nice and clipped, but she is still constantly getting stuck on things like the couch and even on the wall, She then begins to scream in pain for me to come and free her. I was told to just keep them trimmed for now by my vet and that if we had to declaw, we had to. However, I was not aware of how painful declawing really is. My problem is that she is in just as much, if not more danger right now when she goes outside. I have seen her get stuck when she scratched a tree. What if an animal would have came up?? She would have had to tear her own claw out. To me that would also be very painful. I don't want to cause my cat any pain, but I don't know what to do about this. So far she only has about 3 claws that will not go back in, but soon all of them will be this way. She loves to go outside and either way, she will not really be able to go out without proper supervision, because she is at risk from predators with her claws and without them. I wish that they didn't have quicks so I could cut all the way down, because that would solve the problem, but unfortunately I can only cut so much off, so she still gets stuck. Any ideas....I really want to do what is best for her, but I can't leave her this way. I really don't want to turn into an argument, I would much rather just have help for my cat.
Have you heard about soft paws? They are plastic caps that you glue on the cat's nails after you cut the nails. They last several weeks and then they pop off as the nail grows. www.softpaws.com They come in different colors too.

I would never declaw a cat because it is so painful and debilitating. They don't just remove the claws, they remove the first joint of the paws as well. Many declawed cats stop using the litterbox because it is painful on their feet; and many also become biters because they have no other means of defense. The American Veterinary Medical Association has taken a stance against declawing because it is so cruel, and Canada and other countries have made it illegal. Quite a few shelters will not adopt out cats to people who plan to declaw.
Ummm...I live in Canada and it is not illegal to declaw your cat. I'm gonna get flamed for saying this but you won't hear it from anyone else. Do what you feel would be best for your cat.
I will not say it is wrong, but I know it is an unnatural state for the cat, and the older they are, the more difficult and more painful the surgery is for them. I sympathize that your cat has such difficulties with her claws, but I worry that you are letting her outside if she has such a neurological condition. :-( If you are supervising her, that's great but I would worry about letting her out alone if she's having trouble with her main defense mechanism.

Have you discussed it with your vet? I am sure they could offer you some alternatives. Softpaws sounds like a win/win for you and your cat but there may be other ways to avoid her getting her claws caught.

I agree with you about the strong opinions on this issue - I have seen debates rage for weeks on other forums, but each person's situation is different. I personally would never do it to my cats but I cannot condemn anyone who has. I can only educate those who might and let them decide for themselves.
It's definitely a hot subject. But the only issue here is your cat's health. If softpaws do not help, and your vet says there are no other viable alternatives, it may be called for in this particular instance. Do an internet search on this neurological condition in cats so that you are prepared to discuss all aspects of your kitty's situation with the vet.

I wouldn't declaw for convenience or behavior for the reasons mentioned above - however, I have had two cats who were declawed before I adopted them (along with some intact ones as well). Neither were biters, and they both used the litterbox without problem, including my dear old man who lived until the age of 18. I do NOT want to start a debate on this; I just want Suzy to know that declawing can work out should that be her only option. Best wishes for you and your kitty!
My mother-in-law had to have one of her cats declawed because he had too many toes and he was hurting himself. They had to get his back and front claws done which vets in Canada won't due unless in refusing to do it would harm the cat. He would get stuck to things and he would try to rip out his claws with his teeth. The vet was the one who recommeneded it for my mother-in-law's cat, so consult your vet and see what he/she thinks. They will help you determine whats best for your cat. Maybe in this one case the risks of declawing out weight the risks of not declawing.

But you all should have seen this cat. His paws are huge. He has at least one extra toe on each paw. I don't think the soft paws would have helped. His claws were really messed up thoug. He would have two claws comming out of one toe. He is also blind (can't even see light and shadow).

My husband (who lived with him) adds: The cat ripped out a claw in a wooden shelf. He blead so much it would bleed through all the bandages they and the vet tried. It blead for a week. After the paw healed we got him declawed. Now he's a happy fat kitty. Very fat. This poor kitty has lots of problems though. Allergies, he's blind and he has many toes. I thinks it's because it was his mother's first litter and she didn't seem to know what to do.
I have a polydactyl cat too, though he doesn't have the other problems your mother-in-law's cat had (thankfully). I think it was Earnest Hemingway who adopted only polydactyl cats (a bit of trivia for you).

Mine has no less than seven claws in each front paw. They grow thick, tough, and in weird shapes. We have to trim all the time or it gets completely out of hand - a few times we've had to have the vet do it. Other than that he's completely normal and okay.
I think declawing is very cruel, I'm glad that it's illegal where I live.
For the health of an animal I don't see the problem in declawing. I have never had to declaw an animal before. Though I suggest doing whatever it takes to inprove your cats way of life. Yes I have heard it is very painful. But with the new meds they have these days your cat should do fine. Its like any other surgery. I mean take spaying. That is done so your cavies can live with males and not produce. Well it isn't a needed surgery but people do it anyway. And it is very painful. I don't see the differance in declawing to spaying/nudering your cavies. Except here it is to better improve life for an animal.
The other is just so people can have male/females together and I think that is wrong. Unless it is a medical issue it shouldn't be done.
Thats my 2 cents.
Only in your heart will you know what is right in this siuation. I would declaw if that would help him/her out with the quality of life. For the outside situation. We built a cat cage on the outside of the house that has a cat door for them to go in and out at there own choosing. This keeps my cats safe and free from traffic. Works great. I even have the litter box outside so I don't have the mess inside. They love it. My mother-in-law has the same and she has her cats leash trained so when she is outside doing yard work she has her cats on a leash by the front door so they can come in and out as they wish.
Just another suggestion. Sorry my posts always end up so darn long.
I'm against declawing. I used to work for a vet and helped out in many declaw surgeries. They are horrible things.

That said I also believe in doing whatever you can to improve an animal's life even if it means causing them some temporary discomfort. Such as...If my dog badly broke their tail and it was causing them great pain I would probably have it surgically removed although I am against tail docking.

If your cat is constantly ripping nails and getting it's paws caught and panicking then perhaps declawing would bring relief.

Be warned that infection is a major concern in declawing. If this is the manner you wish to treat your cat's condition then be prepared to be vigilant in your after care.

Good luck with your decision.
I think that it should only be done when absolutely necessary, not just on a whim or because the people don't take the time to clip their cats' nails. If the cat is in pain, I would recommend trying out an alternative. However, if s/he is really having a rough time and you think that a declawing would help the situation in the end, do what you think is right for this situation. I've never had cats personally, but I know many people that do. Maybe I'm not as knowledgable here, but it seems like a choice of "what's the best option here for the cat?" to me. Good luck any way you choose to fix the problem!
Thank you guys for all of your input. It will definetely help me make a more informed decision. I am not going to declaw her unless it is absolutely necessary. Someone mentionned above that I should not do it for the convenience/behavior reasons that I gave, but I wanted to let everyone know that she usually wakes me up about 5 times a night because she is stuck on something and can't get free, this happens everytime she scratch anything. I really do not want to declaw her, because around here is it illegal to have a declawed cat outside and we have never had a cat that was not allowed to go outside. We live very far from the road and have hardly any predators at all that eat meat. All we have are moose, deer,rabbits and sometimes we will get a raccoon that was brought up from the city, but they are more like pet themselves, so my cats generally come and go as they want (they never leave the yard, this took like a year of training for each one, and we have never lost an animal to anything outside). I can't imagine her not being able to go out and play, especially since this has been her life for so long.

I will defenitely try the soft paws and I really hope they work. Declawing is only a last resort and we are nowhere near that point yet, but I decided that I should think of this stuff in advance.

Another related question: Is there anything that I should put on her paw when she tears a nail out to reduce the chance of infection??
crittermom said:
I wouldn't declaw for convenience or behavior for the reasons mentioned above
I'm sorry, Suzy! When I referred to convenience and behavior, I was thinking of cats who scratch the rug and furniture, not your cat at all. And the reasons mentioned above which I referred to were the negative consequences of declawing which bunnyluv17 had already mentioned. To say it more properly, I wouldn't declaw a cat who was scratching the furniture because it is a painful surgery with possible negative outcomes down the road, but I would consider declawing a cat for medical reasons.
If it helps you feel better, I've lived with 9 declawed cats (not all at once and not all of them mine). Before I get flamed, some were done long ago before there was any negative press about declawing, some were on cats I adopted who were already declawed and some were not my cats. Every single cat was happy, well adjusted, used the litterbox without trouble, and one could even climb trees (all had back claws). Although it is obviously painful and very greusome, every cat recovered and seemed to have no ill effects.

If I had new cats now, I would hesitate to do it for all the obvious reasons. However, if it is medically necessary and would relieve suffering caused by leaving the claws in, I would do it in an instant because based on my experience, the cat will be fine.

For example, I've had my belly sliced open twice and babies removed. Natural state of event - No. Extremely painful - Yes. Very horrific - Yes. But also medically necessary. I do have some nerve damage and an area of my stomach that doesn't feel anything but I also have two live children to thank for it.

Sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do and in this case, after a week or so you're cat will be fine and will never know the difference.

(broken link removed)

I can't find another link from a local cat rescue that gave a speech on it. They handed out pamphlets at a rescue event. I don't have cats, but I'd never do it. Sometimes they have even more behavioral problems afterwards and you have to have them indoor only because they can't defend themselves outdoors.
I had a cat a few years ago that could not retract it's claws, She would run down the hallway and you could hear her coming because her claws would snag the carpet. She would also get stuck in the drapes if she was playing with them. One horrible time we came home to discover that Gizmo, my cat, was hanging by one toe from the string on the blinds, we don't know how long she had been like that but it gave us a scare. I wish that I would have had her declawed as she may have led a more happy life, but she died when she was only 3 from an abscess in her mouth.

I would definatly do it and don't wait to long to make your descisoin because it would be awful if something happened because of the poor cat's calws. But you need to do what you believe is best for your cat.
I personally believe that declawing a cat is wrong and 100% cruel. If the cat ever got outside it would most certainly die.. without its claws the cat can no longer climb. Alot of people do get them declawed just because they scratch.. you would not take out their teeth if they bit you!

But, Suzy I think it would be in your cats best interest to get her declawed. If her claws are causing her so much trouble and pain it really is not worth keeping them. If you do get her declawed do not let her outside unless it is in a pen.
I would be really careful if you don't get her declawed. Cats sometimes panic when they are caught on something (fight or flight) and she may rip her claw out. My husband has seen it happen before, it is possible and his poor cat Sparkler blead for well over a week. And it's easy to catch a blind cat to change it's bandadges, it's harder to catch a paniky cat that can see where it's going.

At the very least I would try the soft paws, but I don't know how well they will work if she can't retract her claws. Normal cats can still retract thier claw with soft paws. She can still get snagged of things like knit sweaters and lace if she can't retract her blunted claws.
thank you all again. I am not worried to much about her going outside because we have 2 other cats who love being outside but she doesn't really care for it all that much. She is basically a fat house cat. When she does go outside she will sit on the proch and what us from the window, so I really think it would be no problem to bring her out for supervised time outside.

My biggest concern with her is what if something happens when nobody is home to free her. I am going to continue to just trim her nails for now because it is manageable with just 3, since she doesn't always use one of those three to scratch on something, but when all of them become that way she will be getting herself stuck every minute or so and neither her nor I will be able to handle that and ensure her safety so that is when we will probably declaw. I am actually hoping that it won't get to that point, but I doubt it because this just started a few months ago with one claw and no its already up to 3.
o_o ive never heard Declawing was bad before. We declawed our two cats and while thier feet were sore for the first week back they were back to running around friskily like they had before right after. does it maybe have something to do with having a vet who does it cleanly? would it be so bad if the cats were given something to dull the pain for a week or so after? My cats never even realized they were gone. They still try to claw things like furniture and such. I never saw a temperment chang either, Puddins still a jealous little brat who bites you if you dont give him what he wants, and Baby is still the frendliest little Three-legged furball in the neighborhood (my neighbors always remark about how hell run over, visit and be friends with thier cats) (oh and for the record, Baby had to have one of his front legs amuptated when somehow it was dislocated and casting didnt heal it at all.)

This does concern em a lot since my mom scheduled to have my sisters kitty declawed in a few weeks.

._. Id get laughed out of the room if i suggested not doing it though...
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