What Does Declawing A Cat Do?

As cat owners, we all know the joy of having a furry friend to cuddle up with. However, when it comes to their playful behavior, things can sometimes get out of hand. Scratched furniture and walls are just some of the consequences that come with owning a cat. But is declawing really the answer? What does declawing a cat do exactly, and how safe is it for our beloved feline friends?

Declawing involves removing the last bone of each toe along with tendons, ligaments, and nerves that enable cats to retract their claws. It’s not just a cosmetic procedure – it’s an invasive surgery that can have serious long-term effects on a cat’s physical and mental health.

In fact, declawing can lead to numerous issues such as pain, infection, nerve damage, aggression and improper elimination. Additionally, declawed cats lose their ability to defend themselves properly which puts them at risk in dangerous situations.

So before you consider this drastic measure, let’s explore what declawing does to your cat’s wellbeing both physically and emotionally. We’ll also discuss alternative solutions to keep your furniture safe while keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. Read on to find out more about the risks and dangers associated with declawing so you can make an informed decision for your pet’s wellbeing.

What is Declawing?

Cats are natural scratchers, and their sharp claws serve many purposes, including climbing, hunting, and marking territory. But what happens when their scratching behavior becomes problematic for pet owners? Some resort to declawing, a surgical procedure that amputates the last bone of a cat’s toes to remove their claws. However, this invasive procedure has sparked controversy in the veterinary community due to its negative impact on cats’ health and behavior.

Declawing involves cutting through bone, tendons, nerves, and ligaments, which can cause significant pain and discomfort for the cat. Beyond the physical pain, declawing can lead to negative behavioral changes such as aggression, depression, and litter box avoidance. These changes arise because cats use their claws as a means of defense and communication with their environment. By removing their claws, cats lose their primary form of self-defense and means of expressing themselves.

It is important to note that declawing is illegal or considered unethical in many countries worldwide. In the United States, some states have banned declawing, while others have regulations in place that require pet owners to consider alternative solutions before resorting to this procedure. Many veterinarians also refuse to perform it due to ethical concerns and alternative solutions.

So what are these alternative solutions? Providing scratching posts and pads can redirect a cat’s natural behavior away from furniture and onto a designated scratching surface. Trimming your cat’s nails regularly can also help reduce the damage caused by scratching. Nail caps are another option that can protect furniture while still allowing cats to scratch. Training your cat not to scratch certain areas may take time and patience, but it can also be an effective solution.

Physical Consequences of Declawing

This surgical procedure is not a simple nail trimming; it involves amputating the last bone of each toe on a cat’s front paws. While some pet owners may consider it as an easy solution to prevent their cats from scratching furniture or people, declawing can have severe physical consequences for felines.

One of the most significant physical consequences of declawing is chronic pain. Cats may experience pain and discomfort in their paws for weeks or even months after the surgery. Removing a cat’s claws changes the way they walk and stand, which can cause pain in their joints and muscles. As a result, cats may develop a limp or become less active due to the pain they experience.

Declawing can also lead to infections and complications. During the surgery, a cat’s paw pads and nail beds are cut, which increases the risk of infection. If proper care is not taken after surgery, the cat can develop infections or other complications that require further medical attention.

Another consequence of declawing is behavioral problems. Cats rely on their claws for balance and self-defense, so removing them can cause anxiety and stress. Declawed cats may become more irritable or anxious, and they may develop litter box problems or other behavioral issues. In severe cases, declawed cats may even stop using their litter box altogether.

Finally, declawing can have long-term health problems for cats as they age. Studies suggest that declawed cats are more likely to develop arthritis and other joint problems as they grow older. Furthermore, because declawing alters a cat’s gait and posture, it can lead to back pain and other issues later in life.

Emotional Consequences of Declawing

This procedure may seem like a quick solution to prevent furniture damage, but it can cause severe emotional distress for your furry friend.

When a cat is declawed, they lose one of their primary ways to defend themselves and mark their territory. As a result, they can feel vulnerable and insecure, leading to anxiety and stress. These negative emotions can manifest in behavioral issues such as aggression, litter box aversion, and depression, making your cat’s life miserable.

In addition to the emotional turmoil, declawing can also cause physical pain and discomfort. The procedure involves removing the entire last bone of each toe on a cat’s front paws, leading to chronic pain that can make your cat irritable, anxious, and depressed. Imagine walking on your toes all day without any cushioning- it would be unbearable.

It is crucial to consider alternatives to declawing before committing to this traumatic procedure. Providing scratching posts, trimming claws regularly, and using nail caps are effective solutions that protect both your furniture and your cat’s claws. Not only do these alternatives prevent damage to household items, but they also allow your cat to engage in natural behaviors such as scratching and climbing- promoting their physical and emotional well-being.

Alternatives to Declawing

It’s a painful and invasive procedure that can cause physical agony and long-term behavioral issues. Fortunately, there are alternatives to declawing that can help protect your furniture without harming your furry friend.

One of the most effective methods is providing your cat with scratching posts or pads. These products are specifically designed for cats to scratch on, fulfilling their natural urge to scratch while keeping their claws healthy. With a variety of textures and materials, you can find the perfect scratching post that suits your cat’s preferences and encourages them to use it instead of your couch.

Another option is using vinyl nail caps that fit over your cat’s claws. They’re easy to apply at home and come in various colors, allowing you to have fun with it while protecting your furniture. Regular nail trimming is also an effective way to prevent damage to household items.

It’s essential to note that these alternatives may take time for your cat to get accustomed to. However, with patience and positive reinforcement techniques such as praise or treats, you can encourage them to use the scratching post or wear the nail caps instead of scratching on your furniture. With consistency and persistence, you can avoid the harmful effects of declawing and maintain a harmonious household with your furry companion.

Legal Status of Declawing

On the other hand, in the United States, most states allow declawing, although some cities and counties have banned the procedure.

In 2019, however, New York made history as the first state to ban declawing, except for medical reasons. This landmark legislation is a clear indication of the growing awareness around the negative effects of declawing and a desire to protect cats from unnecessary pain and suffering. Other states, like California and New Jersey, are currently considering similar bans.

Opponents of declawing argue that it’s an unnecessary and cruel procedure that can cause physical and behavioral problems for cats. Proponents, on the other hand, insist that declawing can prevent cats from scratching furniture or people and can help keep them in homes where they might otherwise be surrendered to shelters.

As an expert on this topic, I strongly advise cat owners to research the legal status of declawing in their area and consider alternative methods of claw management. Regular nail trimming, providing scratching posts, or using soft paws (plastic nail caps) are all viable options that are much kinder to your furry friend. These alternatives will allow your cat to lead happy and healthy lives without causing them any unnecessary pain or trauma.

When Should You Consider Declawing?

However, before considering declawing as a solution, it’s important to carefully examine the reasons behind why you’re considering this procedure.

One crucial factor to consider is the age of the cat. Declawing is a major surgery that requires anesthesia and recovery time. Kittens between 3 and 4 months old tend to have a smoother recovery than adult cats, and their claws are still developing so they will adapt better to not having them.

But age isn’t the only thing to consider. Your cat’s behavior is also essential. If your cat scratches at furniture or people, it may seem like declawing is the only option. However, there are other solutions such as scratching posts or deterrent sprays that you can try before resorting to surgery.

Another key consideration is whether your cat will be an indoor or outdoor pet. If your cat will be spending time outside, declawing can put them at a disadvantage in terms of self-defense and climbing abilities. It’s best to explore alternative solutions that don’t involve removing their natural defense mechanism.

Declawing should only be considered as a last resort after exhausting all other options and with careful consideration of the potential consequences for your cat’s well-being. It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian and do thorough research before making any decisions.


To sum up, declawing a cat is a painful and invasive procedure that can have serious consequences for our beloved pets. This procedure involves removing the last bone of each toe on a cat’s front paws, leading to chronic pain, infections, behavioral issues, and long-term health problems. Furthermore, declawed cats lose their ability to defend themselves and communicate effectively with their surroundings, causing anxiety, stress, and depression.

As responsible pet owners, we must seek alternative solutions that protect our furniture while keeping our cats happy and healthy. There are many effective methods available such as providing scratching posts or pads, trimming nails regularly, using nail caps or deterrent sprays. These options allow cats to engage in natural behaviors without causing damage to household items.

Before considering declawing as an option for your feline friend, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian and research the legal status of this procedure in your area.

Declawing should only be considered as a last resort after trying other alternatives and carefully considering the potential consequences for your cat’s well-being.