I’m privileged enough to have written several books on the subject of cats and my life with them. I often get questions about certain topics and realize that there’s no better way to answer them than to reference what I’ve already written. This is one of those times.
This excerpt is from my latest book,
Total Cat Mojo.
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We love our cats. We share our beds with them, we keep their photos on our phones, we cry when they are sick, and mourn like nothing else when they die. But in the United States, 25 percent of cat guardians still elect to have their cats declawed. In case you’re not exactly sure what declawing is, let me make it crystal clear. Declawing is the amputation (either via guillotine, laser, or scalpel) of the ends of a cat’s toes, up to the first joint. Don’t do it!
- When cats are declawed, they experience incredible pain, both immediately after the surgery (which is often used as a procedure to test pain medication) and due to long-term phantom pain.
- Declawed cats are deprived of natural behaviors—they can’t mark their territory in an appropriate way, they can’t stretch their back muscles, they can’t climb trees to escape predators, and painful paws are not going to make kneading during a loving moment very enjoyable.
- When cats’ toes are amputated, you are changing how they walk, because cats naturally walk on their toes. Declawed cats pay the price later on with arthritis (imagine having to walk hunched over for your entire lifetime).
- Because the amputation is unnatural (and often poorly done), some cats experience claw regrowth under the paw pad, and essentially, your cat feels like he is walking around with a pebble in his shoe.
- The fact is, declawing is something that is done simply for human convenience—to essentially mutilate a living being to protect a couch. That is just crazy to me. Some compromise is needed for living with an animal. Yet many cats are declawed before even given a chance to scratch an appropriate scratching post in the first place.
- No cat would ever elect to be declawed. Cats need and use their claws for so many things: stretching, exercising, marking their territory, playing, protection, and hunting—all those things that boost Mojo!
If the Deed Has Been Done . . .
Perhaps some of you have declawed your cats in the past; I get it—it’s unfortunately easy and in some places even encouraged. I can forgive those who work to educate themselves and never do this to another kitty they live with. This is your chance to join the fight to make declawing a procedure of the past. Let your friends, family, and neighbors know what declawing really is; and let your vet know how you feel about it too!