Declawing May Protect Your Furniture, But Does Little To Protect Your Cat

Declawing is a barbaric, irreversible surgical procedure that involves amputating the last joint of a cat’s toes. It is a very painful procedure with strong potential for secondary complications.

A cat’s claws are a vital part of his or her anatomy, essential to balance, mobility, defense, grooming and survival. The front claws are a cat’s primary defense. After declawing, the cat can no longer extend his or her claws. Recovery may be lengthy and painful.

Behavior/Health Problems – A declawed cat may become insecure and distressed
  • BITING – Some cats compensate for the insecurity of having no claws by becoming biters. Trust us, you’d rather a child be scratched than bitten and that should only happen if the little bugger is really bothering the cat!
  • SPRAYING OR INAPPROPRIATE URINATION – Declawed cats will often stop using the litter box due to the pain caused by digging in the litter, choosing instead a soft surface like your bed, laundry, or carpets.
Physical Complications
  • If the bandages are put on too tightly, the foot may become gangrenous and necessitate amputation of the leg. When the bandages are removed, the cat may hemorrhage.
  • In many instances, the entire nail bed was not removed and one or more claws will begin to regrow. The claws that do regrow are usually misshapen and quite useless.
  • Because a cat’s nail is brittle or the trimmer is dull, the bone may shatter and cause a sequestrum, which serves as a focus for infection and continuous drainage from the toe.
  • Because a general anesthetic is necessary, there is the danger of an adverse reaction.
  • The origin of many chronic physical ailments including cystitis and skin disorders can be traced to the period immediately after declawing.
Emotional Complications
  • Upon recovering from the anesthetic, your healthy cat wonders why his feet are throbbing and bandaged.
  • After the bandages are removed, he wonders what happened to his claws and why it hurts when he walks.
  • Frequently, a cat becomes very distrustful of his owner.


There are many solutions to problem cat scratching that do not involve declawing. Since declawing involves ten separate amputations of the distal phalanx, which is comparable to amputating the last joint of a human finger, alternatives to this drastic and painful procedure should be explored.

Soft Paws Nail Caps for Cats

Developed by a veterinarian, Soft Paws are nail caps that look like a cat’s nail, but are hollow inside. The nail caps easily fit over the cat’s nail and are secured with a safe, non-toxic adhesive. Soft Paws effectively blunt the claws so that when a cat scratches , no damage occurs. The nail caps stay on for about four to six weeks and fall off with the natural growth of the cat’s nails. They are generally very well tolerated by most cats, with most cats not even noticing they are wearing them. Some cats will groom them a bit excessively at first, resulting in them coming off sooner, but any removed nail caps can be easily replaced. Soft Paws should not be used on cats that go outside, since nail caps will blunt the claws and also impede a cat’s defenses. To learn more about Soft Paws, click here.

Cat Scratching Posts

Cats will always scratch, it is in their nature. The key is to provide your cat with a post that he/she prefers over your furniture.
We have seen great success with corrugated cardboard boxes that include catnip. Sprinkle the catnip over the cardboard and let the cat have at it! They’ll soon be sleeping and playing on the box and generally spending lots of time around it. If they don’t take to it right away, run a feather toy over it to engage the cat’s nails on it. They’ll soon learn that this is the appropriate place to scratch – NOT your furniture. Unlike conventional scratching posts, it doesn’t feel like your carpeting or furniture, so there’s no confusion on the cat’s part. It’s very successful!
A wicker laundry basket or decorative box – another great suggestion from a past adopter. It will look like a piece of furniture, but serves as a scratching post and, again, doesn’t feel like your other furniture!
Pieces of wood with bark on them – hey, some people swear by this!

Transparent Double-Sided Tape Sheets

Double-sided tape, such as Paws Off! and “Sticky Paws” is sticky on both sides. Simply apply it to the objects you would prefer your cat not scratch on, and his natural aversion to stickiness will put an end to the offending behavior. The tape works as an aversion tool, but you still need to provide a place for kitty to scratch — such as a scratching post.

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