Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To Declaw Or Not To Declaw

Please weigh in on this issue. . .either for or against. I'm needing some major help in deciding. What I do know is. . .Autumn is a very docile cat who lets me cut her nails very easily. I have already trimmed them once with very little protest. Are nail caps easy to put on? I also know, however, that to become a welcomed addition to our family, she really can't ruin our furniture or leave scratches on people. I understand that it is a painful surgery, but she will be under anesthetic with plenty of pain pills to help her recover. I have also been told that it is less painful to do it if they are younger, so I'd hate to wait and then decide to do it later. Please help as I would not want to be known as someone who does something inhumane to another living creature. I'm just trying to do what is best for my family.


Jennifer said...

if you can trim her nails easily, then nail caps would definitely be the answer. One, because they're painless, two, she can keep her nails, just in case you ever want her to be an outside cat (she's stuck inside for her lift if she loses her nails).

McTriplet Mommy said...

I think you'll find people have pretty strong opinions on this! My best friend from college is VERY anti-declaw and has lots of animals. She beat me over the head with research and information (when we were looking to have our cat declawed) and screamed and yelled about it. It's inhumane, it's unnecessary... etc.

That said - we had both of our cats declawed. We actually did the front and back for both cats (which even our vet was against but it was the best decision for us). After living with said aforementioned roommate in college - and seeing her house, couch, clothes (skin!) destroyed - I couldn't stomach it!

Whatever you do - sounds like you've committed to educate yourself and make the best decision for your family - so it WILL be the best decision no matter what it is! It is also so dependent on the personality of the kitty (sounds like you've got a good one!) If you've wavering, you could always have her declawed later if you change your mind (though I agree with the vet that one surgery to get it "all" done may be easier on all of you!).

Good luck - she is so cute! :)


Sarah M. said...

I'm really against it. It is basically amputation because not only are they removing the claws, they are removing bone and tendon up to the joint. It is also outlawed in most of Europe which says a lot to me. Plus, if she ever got out, she would be defenseless. has a lot of information. has information on declawing from a vet textbook so you can see exactly what they'd have to do to do it.

If you're really worried, I'd try Soft Paws. With that said, we have two cats, 3 kids 3 and under and we've never had a problem. The cats do scratch our furniture sometimes, but, well, they are cats and that is their nature - and if I clipped their nails more they wouldn't ;)

Sarah M. said...

Another thing to remember about declawing - while she may be on pain pills to recover, it will completely change the way she walks and for some cats that can be really painful. It can also cause them to lose some of their sense of balance so they have more issues with jumping and such.

Becca said...

Reposting this to add to the collection on this post - hope that's okay.

Jodi - please, please don't get her declawed. It's not just removing the claws, it's amputating the ends of her toes, like cutting off the end of a finger at the last knuckle. With her temperament you really don't need to worry about her hurting Olivia - as I'm sure you've already noticed. She'll enjoy having a scratching post to use and yeah, she may occasionally also try to use furniture but a few days watching with a water bottle to spray her if she DOES have a scratch on your sofa is more than enough to deal with that.

This amputation is so painful for the cat that it's actually illegal in many countries, including the UK, where I live. I do trim my cats' claws - just like cutting a human's nails, it's very easy to do with a docile cat and takes just the very tip of the claw off so that if she DOES try to scratch on something she won't be able to do much damage.

Some vets - particularly older, old-fashioned ones - do still declaw. Many won't do it at all. Many of those who still will do it are motivated by money and only money. If you Google just the word 'declawing' you'll see the balance of opinions on the topic. One of the clearest pages on it is this one.

I'd like to explain that I'm just a lurker who's been following you and Olivia's story for a few months, and I'm also someone who loves cats.

Again - please please don't declaw Autumn. She doesn't need it, you don't need it.

And yes, it is inhumane. People saying it's not doesn't change that.

Anonymous said...

We spayed our cat and declawed her at the same time when she was a kitty. It is very sad to seem them come home and act differently but in a week she was back to normal. It seriously helped save our furniture and scratches.(It would have made me a nervous wreck to have claws around my baby) The only thing was she was then stuck inside for good. If you want her to be indoor/outdoor I wouldn't do it, but if she is going to always be indoor, I would do it. But I know you will do whatever is best for you. Everyone who reads your blog knows you always have the animal's best interest at heart!!

Candice said...

For what it's worth, my aunt had both her cats declawed and it completely changed their temperment. They went from friendly, loving cats to completely withdrawn and always hiding. I realize your vet said to do both at the same time, but it is there any other reason to give it a while and see how she acts, or try nail caps first? Do scratching posts not work? I'm not a cat person (we have a dog), but all the cats I've known that have been declawed weren't very friendly.

Anonymous said...

We had our cat declawed (all 4), when he was a kitten and I never noticed a change in his personality or walk. I didn't realize it was considered cruel. We used to joke that he thought he was a dog because he was so friendly with everyone. Our cat also vomited a lot. I found out that if he ate anything but Iams dry cat food he would vomit, so we just stuck with the dry food. He couldn't go outside because of the claws, but we were happy with a house cat. Unfortunately he had a heart problem and died at the young age of 9 a few years ago. I now have family members with allergies, so no kitty anymore - so enjoy yours -they are so much fun.

Anonymous said...

We have 3 cats (ages 7, 8 and8) and 3 children (ages 6, 4 and 2). We have never even considered having our cats declawed. We think it's inhumane and anyway (it is against the law in the country). They have not ruined our furniture, nor scratched either us or our children. They don't have the temprament to do so anyway. If Autumn isn't showing any signs of using her claws to scratch you or your furniture now, I would definitely NOT even consider having her declawed. If she is to remain an indoor only cat, then buy her a scratching post and one of those big cat playgrounds (I have no idea what the official term is) and lace it with catnip. She can exercise and use her claws there. If she is to be allowed outside, definitely do not declaw her. An outdoor cat without claws doesn't stand much chance of surviving. Please don't do it!

meredith said...

We just got a kitten about a month ago. He actually looks like your kitty. I'm pretty against de-clawing. Whatever you do, you'll do the right thing for your kitty. Good luck!

Heather in Texas said...

I have 7 cats. None are declawed. The do not destroy furniture and have not had issues with children. My concern is if she ever happens to get out, she would be able to defend herself.

Anonymous said...

If you really feel like that about your cat then perhaps you should find her a new home.