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Please Don't Declaw Your Cat

Updated on March 17, 2012

This Is Moses

Moses is a cat without any claws on his front paws. That’s right. His owners declawed him, but you want to know the worst part? They throw him out of the house everyday while they’re at work.

I got to know about him because his "owners" live next door to my parents, who let him inside their house whenever they see him.

Moses is primarily an outside cat with only his teeth to defend him, should he happen to run into any unfriendly animals. As if it isn’t inhumane enough to declaw a cat in the first place.

Do You Know What Happens When A Cat Is Declawed?

What? Declawing a cat is inhumane? It’s just like clipping a human’s fingernails, right? Wrong! Cat declawing is major surgery, and the U.S. is the only country in the world that commonly practices it. England denounces it for being the inhumane practice it is, and Europe has completely outlawed it.

When a cat’s claw is removed, the vet must also remove the end bone of the cat’s toe because the two are attached. So, in addition to taking away the “toenails,” you are also removing the final, crucial section of the cat’s toes.

Think of it as having everything up to the first joint in all your fingers and toes amputated. That's right, amputated. Recovery from this surgery is slow, and it can be very painful for the poor animal, who has to keep walking (and relearn how to balance) on the injured feet until they heal.

Here's the proof that I know about scratched and mutilated furniture.
Here's the proof that I know about scratched and mutilated furniture.

But What About Your Furniture?

Believe me. I understand. I really do. I have two cats of my own, and look what's happened to my furniture at the claws of one of them.

Well, actually, the chair used to belong to my grandmother, who must be rolling over in her grave because of this. She had a cat in her house for years who was never declawed, but she always covered her furniture in plastic.

I don't believe in covering furniture in plastic anymore than I do declawing cats, so I just live with the scratched-up furniture.

There Are Alternatives to Declawing

If you're really worried about the damage your cat can do to your furniture, you might want to consider trimming its claws, rather than taking them away altogether.

There are also really fun claw caps on the market now called Soft Claws. Maybe you've seen them? You can get them clear or in a variety of colors. They will come off when your cat's nail grows out in about 4-6 weeks, but they're reasonably inexpensive - a lot cheaper than paying for the declawing surgery.

Take care, when buying these, that you get the correct size. The small fits a very young cat, one that weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. The medium fits a 9-13 pound cat. And the large Soft Claw will fit really large cats - 14 pounds and larger. For your average house cat, if you get the medium size, you should be just fine.

Here's one of those completely destructible scratching posts.
Here's one of those completely destructible scratching posts.

Or You Could Always Invest in a Scratching Post

And when I say scratching post, I don't mean one of those little dinky ones that get tossed around the house and come apart at the least little use.

You know the ones I'm talking about? Sure, you do. We've all seen them at Wal-Mart. And some of us have even been suckered into buying them.

But have you ever known one of these to stop a cat from clawing furniture? I sure haven't. My cats either completely ignore them or just stare at them in disdain and then turn their backs on them.

Now There's a Better Post

The Ultimate Scratching Post is 32 inches tall, so your cat can get a really good stretch, unlike the little 12-inch post shown in the photo above. The only way your cat can get a good stretch with that one is if you put it on top of a little stool. But then the thing would fall off right on top of your cat when the cat pulled on it because it's so flimsy - especially if your cat is over 10 pounds like mine are. This would absolutely not happen with the Ultimate Scratching Post. It has almost 20 pounds of heft to it, making it super-sturdy and virtually tip-proof.

This post is also virtually indestructible. It's made of sisal fibers, instead of the usual cheap carpet-like material that usually covers most scratching toys. Sisal is a really strong fiber that comes from the agave plant. No matter how sharp your cat's claws are, this fiber is guaranteed to keep looking great for several years.

Yes, the Ultimate Scratching Post is quite a bit pricier than other scratching posts, but the quality is so worth the price! Your cats will be much happier, and your furniture will be much safer.

One Final Plea

If you've been thinking about having your cat declawed, I hope this hub has helped you consider some other options that would be workable for you and your pet.

You cannot stop your cat from scratching. You just can't. It's instinctive behavior. And even if you declaw your cat, it will still want to go through the motions of scratching, anyway.

There are so many much more humane options available to you and your cat. But if you do declaw your cat, please, please don't leave it outside alone for any length of time where it will be totally defenseless. Your cat, like Moses, would be better off if you just gave it to another family who would keep it safely inside.


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