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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this site is accurate, Berkeley's Place shall not be liable for any losses or damage arising in any way from inaccuracies published on the website.

Note: These articles are provided for information only and are not meant to replace veterinary care.

What, EXACTLY, is Declawing?

Declawing is not just the trimming of the claws. It is the surgical amputation of the claws and the entire first joint of the toes. This procedure would be the same as amputating a human's fingers to the first knuckle. You can imagine the pain . 

The Truth About Declawing


Aside from the initial pain, other short-term effects of declawing can also lead to physiological and behavioral long-term problems. 

1. Litter Box Avoidance

The toe stubs of the declawed cat will be very painful for days or even weeks after the surgery, and "phantom-limb pain" may be a lifelong legacy. Every time he scratches in the litterbox, he will be in pain. Some cats eventually avoid the litter box completely because they will start to associate it with pain.

2. Aggression and Biting

Cats use their claws to protect themselves against other cats, dogs, or even humans. When they are taken away, the cat may turn to biting, as a defense, or as a "warning". Many cats become withdrawn and depressed.

3. Arthritis and Crippling

Cats walk on their toes. Pain in the toes can cause changes to their normal step, which eventually can cause stiffness and pain in their hips, legs, and spine.

Many cat owners who have had cats declawed in the past now say they would never consider it again, knowing what they now know, and remembering the aftermath of the surgery.

Alternatives to Declawing: 

• Nail Trimming - Cats cannot do the serious damage to furniture, curtains or rugs with blunt nails. Trimming is a simple procedure. Wait until your cat is sleepy and quiet, and take it one nail at a time. Lightly squeeze the cat's toe to extend the nail tip, and then snip the tip. It's a lot less expensive than declawing, and a lot easier on the cat and your conscience.

• Scratching Posts - Invest in different types of scratching posts. Most cats can be easily trained to use the post instead of your furniture. Many cats enjoy having several surfaces and elevations (vertical, horizontal and plane.) If one post doesn't work, get a second one, and experiment with their locations.

• Soft Paws - are vinyl nail caps which glue right over a cat's claws. They come in clear or fancy colors, and are easy to locate if they fall off. The caps last four to six weeks.

A Final Word

There is no valid reason today to even remotely consider declawing as a solution for destructive scratching. Any of these alternatives or a combination of them, can put an end to your furniture-damage problems.