The simple answer is “no.” Declawing is literally maiming a cat, a mistake that can lead to physical, emotional and behavioral complications. It’s a trivial procedure similar to trimming fingernails. A cat’s claws are a vital part of its anatomy, essential to balance, mobility and survival.

Simply put, declawing is an irreversible surgical procedure that involves amputating the last joint of the cat’s “toes.” It is a very painful procedure with strong potential to secondary complications (Imagine having the last joint of your own fingers amputated.)

On rare occasions declawing may lead to secondary contracture of the tendons, making it uncomfortable for the cat to walk. Since the last joints of their front paws are missing, they compensate by placing more of their weight to the hind quarters, causing them to be out of balance. This shift of weight may lead to atrophy of the muscles of their front quarters.

In addition to being an intrinsic part of a cat’s normal conformation, its front claws are a cat’s primary defense. Deprived of its front claws a cat may become insecure and distressed, and may become hostile to people and more apt to bite.

Some cats develop an aversion to their litter box because of the pain associated with scratching in the litter after a declawing procedure. If kitty doesn’t go in the box, she will find a more comfortable place to do her business. Often times, these habits are hard to break.

One more reason not to declaw – some European countries have ruled declawing illegal, considering it inhumane.

It can be remarkably easy to get your cat to stop clawing inappropriately.
Temporarily taping tinfoil to kitty’s favorite scratching area, while providing appropriate alternatives works quite well in many cases. Securely fastened sisal-wrapped posts are available virtually everywhere and are a favorite of most felines. Putting these posts near where kitty likes to scratch, while making the spots you want them to stay away from undesirable works like a charm.

Alternately, you can trim kitty’s claws yourself with a pair of nail clippers. Be sure and only trim the claw tips, however, or it could lead to an infection.

Remember that scratching is a natural, instinctive behavior for a cat – you can’t get them to stop altogether, but you can get them to stay away from the drapes!

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