Why you shouldn’t declaw cats

Why you shouldnt declaw cats

Hailey Schoutteet, Writer

Someone might think having a cat would be perfect until they get the cat and or kitten and the animal scratches up all of the furniture, and then the owner thinks maybe we should declaw the animal. According to Helier Cheung of BBC News, the percentage of indoor cats that are declawed is between 20%-25%. Although it is not a huge percentage, these are still cats that are declawed. Declawing cats should be banned. As it is very cruel to remove part of their body and their claws are necessary to protect them.  

It is important for people to understand why the practice of declawing cats should be banned. Nicole K Martell-Moran states in the article “Pain and Adverse Behavior in Declawed Cats” state that. “Declawing cats increases the risk of unwanted behaviors and may increase risk for developing back pain.” Declawing a cat affects their balance, which would harm their backs when they go to jump on top of things or move certain ways. 

 When a cat owner is getting their cat declawed, it takes half of their knuckle out along with their claw. That’s like taking the first part of the owner’s finger off. Cats need their claws just as much as we need our fingers. It also shows the importance of normal scratching behaviors and acknowledging the negative side effects to the cat. Martell-Moran, Solano, and Townsend also state in their article.

The long-term impact of declawing cats and the effect it may have on weight bearing adjustments, chronic pain and other musculoskeletal diseases is unknown. Pain identification and management in cats has evolved significantly over the past decade. Cats manifest pain in a wide variety of forms, including, but not limited to, inappropriate elimination, flinching, increased body tension, excessive licking or chewing of fur (barbering) and other abnormal behaviors. (Martell-Moran 281)

Knowing that it has long term effects that are not healthy for the cat, and might cause more problems with money, we would think that the process would be banned to get them declawed, at least in a decent shelter that doesn’t want to harm our cats in any way. 

Melanie Morgan and Katherine Houpt state in the article “Feline Behavior Problems: The Influence of Declawing”, have provided in the article that the information that the percentage of cats that have behavior problems are declawed. Although the cats that have their claws intact can scratch furniture and carpets, there are alternatives to try to prevent it. Like someone can get them a scratching post or something to occupy the cat so they don’t think to scratch furniture or household items up. 

Cats that do not have their claws are more likely to jump on tables, go to the restroom outside their litter box, have aggression issues, chewing on things, hissing and excessive meowing, have all been proven to happen with declawed cats. 

It does not matter if a cat is female or male, it has been proven that both sexes tend to act the same way when they have been declawed. This information may advise owners to the misbehaviors the cat might display. It also displays that the cats are prone to having more problems than cats with their claws intact do.

If a person were to realize the actual effects that declawing a cat has, then hopefully they would see that they shouldn’t waste their time and money trying to get their cat declawed. There are many other side effects that affect the family owning the pet too. Karen L. Overall communicated in her article “Feline Behavior Guidelines From The AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners)” that when a cat starts to have behavioral problems, it leads to the family having stress about whether or not they should or should not declaw the cat. It also includes inappropriate punishments for the pet by hitting or kicking them. Then the family ends up putting the cat outside and that tends to put them in a lot of danger. Then it also destroys the bond between the pet and the owner. When they harm the cat, they make the cat not want to be around their owner or the cat will start to behave badly.  Eventually the family might toss the pet outside or take it to a shelter and give up on it because they think they can fix or take care of the cat properly.  

Another thing Overall stated in her article was that there are ways someone can help the cat’s behavioral problems. They could get another cat to help the cat with the behavior problems calm down.  They would also have a friend to take care of them and to play with. The owner could take the cat to the vet to see why it is acting the way it is. They can also get the cat medicine to help calm it down because some cats happen to destroy things when the owner isn’t home because they feel like the owner won’t come back or they are acting out in anger.

From another person’s point of view Cheung expressed in the article “Cat Declawing: Should It Be Banned, And Why Does It Happen In The US?” that declawing cats affects their balance skills because someone would be removing part of what they use to walk. The article also states that the most used type of declawing is called onychectomy (o-knee-cec-tem-y), which involves cutting the bones the claws grow from with a laser or a scalpel. They compared it to cutting off someone’s toes or fingers at the top joint.

 Many experts believe that declawing a cat will lead to health problems, such as back pain or behavioral problems. Cheung also provided the information that studies have shown cats without their claws have higher levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone associated with the pain. A cat probably doesn’t want to be in pain for the rest of its life or to have many problems with their paws.

 In another part of the article Cheung states that there are some exceptions for declawing a cat. If the cat has a bad infection in their nail bed, then it would be necessary to declaw at least that nail. Cheung talked about the many ways to prevent the cat from scratching and destroying furniture in the home. The owner could buy simple things like toys or scratching posts. Some cats have different preferences for the type of material they use on their nails also. They like to use certain things to fix up their nails so they will attempt to scratch up furniture and that tends to make the owner mad. Cats scratch up furniture because they are marking their territory without spraying. 

Declawing a cat is just cruel and someday hopefully this practice of declawing, essentially harming the pet for the rest of their life, is permanently banned. Considering all of the information so many people have provided, hopefully someone steps up and actually takes action in harming an innocent animal. Cats are essentially walking around on their knuckles for the rest of their lives if someone were to declaw them. It leads to life-long consequences for the pet and if an owner doesn’t want that, they should reconsider declawing their cat.


Since getting cats declawed has been proven to be so harmful to them, someone should consider learning more about cats before they make the decision to get the cat. If fewer people request to get their cat declawed, then maybe declawing won’t be a practice anymore and they will eventually ban getting cats declawed. As declawing a cat should not be the proper way to handle the animal’s behavior, a person should take into consideration that the cat probably wants some toys or a scratching post. Maybe before considering buying a cat, someone should look up the risks of having a cat in their family and figure out whether a cat actually fits to be in their home.