The Winona Area Humane Society is against declawing.  Feel free to peruse the links below for more information regarding declawing.  WAHS is against the declawing of animals because it is, at its core, elective mutilation.  Many people believe that declawing is similar to trimming nails; however, for felines, the nail is part of the skeletal structure of their toes.  As a result, declawing is actually the removal of the tips of a cat’s “fingers.”

Side effects of declawing are varied and are not a foregone conclusion.  A declawed cat will undoubtably be in pain for the rest of his/her life.  However, cats, by nature, generally do not show pain or weakness as it says to the world (and possible predators) that they are vulnerable.  Possible side effects can land on a wide spectrum: from the cat being a little less affectionate up to the cat being very aggressive; from minor litter box issues to complete refusal to use the litter box at all.

WAHS receives a number of cats each year (both stray and surrender) that are already declawed.  We see some who seem fine.  They are friendly, use the litter box, etc.  If you want to adopt a cat from WAHS and want a declawed cat, these cats are available for adoption.  However, these declawed cats are the exception.  Many of the declawed cats that WAHS receives have severe behavior problems: some are aggressive with other cats, some lunge at staff and volunteers in aggression, some do not use their litter boxes, etc.  Many of these issues are also the top reasons people site for surrendering cats in the United States.  Many U.S. veterinarians are speaking out publicly about the inhumane nature of declawing.

Neil Wolff D.V.M., “declawing is an inhumane, unnecessary procedure that has many alternatives.  It is never in the cat’s best interest.  With declawing, we are interfering with a species’ nature because of our own whims, misconceptions, misinformation, and sometimes, laziness.”

Nicholas Dodman D.VM., “declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee.  Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery in veterinary medicine.”

In the medical records of one of our volunteer’s cats, the vet noted: “recovery violent and dysphoric – cat attempted to chew off bandages, causing significant bleeding.  Cat had to be sedated again…”

People give many reasons for wanting to declaw a cat.  Despite the stereotype, cats are trainable and many are just as easy to train as a dog.  Training a cat to use a scratching pad and post is relatively easy if one is willing to put in the time.  And just because a cat has claws does not mean he/she is going to use them on the furniture.  If you are worried about being scratched, another animal being scratched or a child being scratched, there are many humane alternatives.  Soft Paws are one alternative which can also be used to assist in training.  The easiest alternative is simply trimming your cat’s nails.  With positive reinforcements, many cats grow to almost enjoy having their nails trimmed.  No matter the reason for wanting to declaw a cat, there is a humane alternative that does not carry many of the possible side effects that declawing does.

For more information:

The Humane Society of United States

The Paw Project