Cute as they are, cats have behavioral problems and one of these is destructive scratching. But they’re not out on a mission to destroy your most expensive sofa or favorite drapes when they release their claws and start scratching. They only want to satisfy certain innate needs. The practice is also a marking behavior, similar to dogs peeing different areas to mark their territory. In the case of cats, scratching allows them to deposit scents coming from special glands found on their paws.
But you have to admit that the destruction and mess they leave behind would make you want to cut off their claws, stopping them from doing any more damage. Declawing cats, however, is often considered inhumane, especially because the process is intrusive and takes out a natural part of a cat’s anatomy.
List of Pros of Declawing Cats
1. For medical reasons
There are instances when removing cats’ claws are done for their good. If the claws are damaged, or have tumors or other maladies, it’s safer and more humane to remove the appendages altogether. Doing so will keep the problems from spreading, eventually saving the life of a cat.
If the owner is the one with a medical condition, declawing is also considered a solution. Someone with a suppressed immune system, an elderly, or someone who suffers from any form of blood disorder should not be exposed to cat’s claws due to the bacteria contained within.
2. To minimize risk of injuries
When a cat is not trained or can’t be trained, declawing is often perceived as a means to save lives and minimize risks. Without the sharp, pointy claws, cats pose little threat to children and other pets around the house. This keeps them from lashing out and scratching anyone while playing or when they feel threatened or angry.
3. Prevent cosmetic damage
Preventing cats from tearing up carpet or destroying furniture is one of the most common reasons that cat owners opt for declawing. This is especially true if your cats are partial to your leather sofa and uses it as a scratching post.
List of Cons of Declawing Cats
1. Painful for the cat
Declawing is described by veterinarian Dr. Judith Shoemaker, DVM as “amputation of the third phalynx at the knuckle, so it’s like cutting off your finger tips”. That’s got to hurt, big time. This is probably why most vets prefer spaying or neutering when declawing cats, and performing the procedure while they are still kittens.
2. Results in adverse medical effects
There may be many ways to remove a cat’s claws but none of them are actually painless. There are also known side effects, such as chronic pain or infection due to the bones left after claw removal. Because the tendon attachments are also removed, cats can also develop arthritis in their hands, feet and other joints.
3. Violates the laws of nature
Cats are born with claws and removing them would make them feel less of what they really are. What would a cat be without claws? Declawing also effectively removes their defense mechanism and the means of grabbing holding and handling things.
There are a lot of oppositions to declawing that some people would choose euthanasia over it. But different circumstances call for different approaches, and it is best to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision to remove your cat’s claws.