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Pros & Cons of Declawing Cats

Many cat owners have struggled with the decision to get their cat declawed or not.  Some think there is no other choice than to have it done to save their furniture.  Others would never dream of it.  So, we’ve put together a pros and cons list for everyone to make an informed decision!  First, the pros!

The main reason cat owners decide to get their cat declawed is to save their furniture.  The thought of having the sides of your brand new leather couch gouged out just isn’t appealing to most of us.  The positive side to having your cat declawed is that you can be 100% sure the sides of your couch will be scratch-free.

Without front claws, your cat poses little threat to your other pets or children in the house because they can’t lash out and scratch anyone during playtime or out of anger or fear.  No front claws may leave your cat a little safer to everyone in the house.

Now for the cons!

While your cat cannot use his front claws to put some new designs in your furniture, the back claws can do just as much damage.  While walking, running, playing or jumping across the furniture, your cat’s nails can create punctures and scratches throughout the furniture.  This damage cannot be seen quite as easily on fabric furniture as it can on leather.  Keeping the front claws trimmed back as short as possible and providing plenty of scratching posts can help to train your cat NOT to scratch on the furniture at all.  You can also keep a spray bottle handy so that if he does try to scratch the furniture, a little blast of water will tell him it’s not such a good idea.

Your cat may not be able to scratch with his front claws if he’s declawed but he can certainly bite and use his back claws which are just as painful and can be just as damaging, if not more.  Not having front claws to protect himself with may also make your cat feel more threatened, thus causing him to act out in fear more easily.

Declawing your cat involves removing the first digit of your cat’s toes on their front feet.  That is the equivalent of removing a joint from our fingers.  Although it cannot be proven, the procedure seems to be very painful and, to some, even torturous.

Declawing can also cause behavioral issues – the most common being not using the litter box properly.  This is probably because after being declawed, the cat’s front feet are sore and using the litter box causes pain.  Therefore, they stop using the litter box and there is no more pain.  This becomes a habit even after they are healed.

For many of you considering declawing, it may be within your, and your cat’s, best interest to try different methods before something so extreme and irreversible.  There are things on the market to keep your furniture safe such as scratching posts as well as plastic caps to go over the nail to keep your household safe from scratches.  There is always more than one way to go about something.  And we say try everything else before resorting to a painful procedure like declawing for your cat.