What’s your first reaction when you hear someone say, “I have to get my cat declawed”? Don’t think about it—how does your gut react? My first instinct is to grab that cat and run! Personally, I believe it is an inhumane thing to do, and, as such, I can’t imagine ever having it done to one of my felines.
To better understand the issue, I spoke to my semi-local veterinary clinic about it. Dr. John Werth helped put things in perspective for me. He explained that if a cat is very destructive, the owner may be faced with ugly alternatives—euthanasia, perhaps, or turning the cat in to a shelter (where the cat may be put to sleep if not adopted). Dr. Werth stated for a situation like that, it comes down to the lesser evil—declawing. It makes sense. He also said the vets there talk people out of declawing in many cases. Good for you, Dr. Werth!
We discussed the procedure itself, which disgusts me. According to Dr. Werth, declawing is not simply the removal of the nail and nail bed; it is the removal of the entire first joint of the toe. Ouch, and no thanks.
I asked about claw tips (or covers), and he said that he would be concerned unless the cat owner is very diligent and monitors the appliance carefully. Any device can be misused, either intentionally or unintentionally. In either case, it can harm the animal.
I guess the decision to declaw would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, but I am still against it unless the animal’s life is at stake.