Why We Do Not Declaw
Family Pet Practice and Wixom Family Pet Practice are proud to be one of the few veterinary practices in Michigan to have a solid pledge to their feline patients.
We do not declaw cats under any circumstance.
Debunking myths about declawing.
Declawing, or onychectomy (än-ik-ek-tō-mē), is not minor surgery. It’s a major, potentially crippling procedure. It’s also known as de-knuckling for good reason – it is the amputation of the last bone in each of the ten front toes of a cat’s paws. An analogous procedure applied to humans would be cutting off the fingers and toes at the last joint.
Feline declawing also involves severing the tendons, nerves and ligaments. The results can be debilitating, impairing a cat’s normal functions such as being able to balance and walk on its toes. It also deprives a cat of normal movements such as being able to grasp with its paws.
Declawing will not diminish a cat’s natural territorial instincts. Whether you have an inside or an outside cat, it needs to feel secure about defending itself and its turf. Regardless of the environment – indoors or outdoors – all cats use their claws to climb, exercise and mark territory with the scent glands in their paws. If they cannot rely on these natural
attributes, they may compensate by developing new behaviors, such as urinating on the furniture to mark their territory. The risks for outdoor cats can be dire. When deprived of its primary means of defense, a cat is more susceptible to injury or death, if attacked by other animals.
Declawing will not make a cat more docile. If anything, it is likely to result in one undesirable behavior being replaced by a worse one that’s harder to control. No longer able to defend themselves without their claws, some cats undergo personality changes. They may become aggressive and lash out, some become biters. Chronic pain and other health issues may also produce behavioral changes. For example, litter box avoidance is a common response when digging inflames a cat’s tender paws.
Declawing is not a no- or low-risk procedure. Bad health outcomes long-term are not uncommon. Nail regrowth through the paw pads or residual sharp bone fragments being left behind under the paw pads are risks associated with declaw surgery. Lameness, arthritis, stiff joints, inflammation from infection and chronic pain in cats are bad health outcomes associated with declawing. Changes in temperament or behavior may be associated with feeling just plain miserable. For example, a cat may avoid the litter box, not because it wants to punish the owner, but because it hurts to dig in the coarse sand.
Declawing will not ensure that a cat finds a forever home. There are no data to substantiate the claim that declawing protects cats from being abandoned or relinquished to a shelter. Regardless of the reason – whether the cat undergoes personality or behavioral changes or it experiences health problems after having been declawed – cat owners are often unprepared or unwilling to deal with the attendant headaches and expenses of caring for a declawed cat.
Credit to https://pawproject.org/