Declawing cats is inhumane

Daniela Aguillon


Vets compare declawing the same as chopping off human fingers at the first knuckle. Imagine being tied down, put to sleep, and waking up to discover that your fingers are all gone.

Megan Winters, a manager at the West Olive Harbor Humane said, “Harbor Humane Society is strongly opposed to declawing cats. We recognize that scratching is a natural behavior of cats.”

What is declawing

   Declawing is the procedure of cutting a cat’s third “toe bone.” Declawing is a controversial procedure and is frowned upon by The American Association of Feline Practitioners.

There are different types of declawing procedures, including cutting the tendon so they can’t control or extend their claws. Even though a tendonectomy doesn’t involve actually cutting off the nail, it’s still as bad as declawing.

Effects of declawing

Many vets refuse to declaw cats because of the negative effects it has on physical health and mental health, such as behavioral changes which can be aggressive changes, depression, long-term anxiety, and fear because they lost a sense of defense. As well as causing back pain, and foot pains because cats walk on their nails to balance them. A more serious effect is tissue death. All of those horrible side effects are caused by uneducated individuals who are not concerned with the aftereffects.

Declawing should be a last resort measure. Exceptions include if the cat’s claws pose a threat to the household members’ well-being. Not because the cat is scratching at furniture. When cats get declawed they feel helpless, with most becoming biters. Declawed cats are never allowed out of the house because they won’t be able to climb up trees or use their nails to fight. After the procedure takes place, the cats have to adjust to walking on their paws because they will no longer be able to walk on their toes. There is no amount of furniture ripping that should lead a cat to be declawed.

There is also a study about the after-effects of declawing called the “Paw Project”. Winters said, “The Paw Project has done studies on declawed cats that have aggression, and in most cases, they identify that the cat has severe arthritis or painful bone regrowth related to the procedure.”

Why is it so normalized?

Cats being declawed isn’t new. Vets say many do it because they don’t do research and don’t think it’s a bad idea. But this is wrong; if owners have enough time to take care of a cat and to pay for declawing they should have enough money and time to do research on what declawing is and how it may affect the cats. Winters said, “As an organization, we do understand that many people are not aware that declawing has negative consequences, due to it being so commonplace for so long.” Many people don’t know the consequences and effects of this procedure, but that should also mean that they should look it up and learn before doing something this extreme without no knowledge. It is very understandable not to know about declawing, but this should be used as a learning opportunity for adopters. Vets commonly perform this procedure for the cat’s health, such as if they have cancer in their nails.

Why people declaw

   People declaw for all sorts of reasons. Not wanting to deal with the problem and getting a solution or just being a personal prefrence. Most who declaw haven’t been educated on the declawing topic. But some do it anyway knowing the consequences their cats will suffer. More info about declawing and the effects it has on cats should be spread around the internet instead of dumb Tik Tok trends. A graduate of West Ottawa High School Caitlin Nunn said, “I understand why people declaw because it seems like an easy solution and not many adopters do their own research when it comes to stuff like that.”

Rixibel Rodriguez, a Holland resident who owns two cats, said this about declawing, “I have two of my own cats, and they are horrible with scratching. They scratch everything they can put their claws on. I have noticed that scratching posts have been helping but if declawing cats didn’t have bad consequences I would most likely have gotten it done.” Many adopters have this mindset of an easier way out which is understandable.

Alternative to declawing 

There are so many alternatives to declawing than straight-up declawing a cat. Getting a scratching post so cats can stretch their joints. It’s a win-win situation. Another solution is getting training done for the cat. Many adopters end up getting their cats trained to help with behavior issues, like spraying them with water. There are too many alternatives to declawing and it shouldn’t just be a personal preference or because the people who declaw are too lazy to deal with the problem. If they are too lazy they shouldn’t have gotten a cat in the first place, especially if they aren’t gonna be able to handle their needs. A final alternative is trimming the nails regularly to keep them short, if that is a hassle, set up an appointment with a groomer so they can cut them trouble-free.

Laws & policies

   Harbor Humane Society has one of the smartest policies for adopters wanting to adopt cats and declaw them. Winters was asked what policies they may have in place when adopters want to declaw and she said, “If an adopter is still set on moving forward with the procedure, which has zero benefits to the cat, we will only let them adopt an already declawed cat from our care.” This policy that is set in place has saved many cats from being declawed. In 28 Countries declawing is banned, not including the United States. There are 10 states in the United States that currently have declawing banned. But these laws do not stop many from still completing this practice and going out of state for it to be done.

  Declawing education should come from the point of view of trying to educate and not judge. Educating adopters on declawing could save many cats from being traumatized. Declawing is not only physically hurtful but mentally scars a cat and changes their behavior completely. Harbor Humane does an amazing job of taking care of these issues and educating many adopters about declawing.