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Debarking, No, Declawing, Yes …?

Written by PETA | February 22, 2011

Crazy cat ladies of America, you have some explaining to do. According to a recent Associated Press poll, 55 percent of cat guardians are in favor of declawing, while only 8 percent of dog fanciers agree with debarking, or surgically removing dogs’ vocal chords.

I can only hope that most of the people who voted for declawing don’t know exactly what it is. Declawing is like taking a hatchet to a hangnail—literally. It involves 10 separate, painful surgeries, severing not just the nails but the whole joint, including the bones, ligaments, and tendons.

Complications of declawing include chronic pain, nerve damage, hemorrhaging, bone chips, recurrent infections, and abnormal regrowth of the nail inside the paw. Oh, and let’s not forget those other two common “complications”—biting and spraying. I’ve had two declawed cats in my life (both were already declawed when they came to me), and one was a biter and the other is a sprayer. Think snagged furniture is the worst of your problems? Try walking into a house that reeks of cat urine. It takes destruction of property to a whole new level.

Declawed Teddy: He’s so gorgeous, I can forgive him for spraying on anything in a box or plastic bag.

Not all declawed cats become biters and sprayers, of course, but you have no way of knowing how your cat will react until it’s too late. Declawing is a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem. Kittens usually outgrow their urge to scale the drapes and attack your wiggling toes. Most cats naturally gravitate toward scratching posts and cardboard scratching boxes, especially if you make them more alluring with catnip and toys. Claws’ destructiveness can be curtailed with biweekly trimming. You trim your dog’s nails—why not your cat’s?

Find more tips on discouraging cats from scratching furniture in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You

Via The Sacramento Bee 

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Marsha says:

    In all my life I had never owned a cat I have always been a dog person and I would never want to take away my baby’s voice! On the other note, a few months ago while going to meet some friends, my husband and I were driving and we spotted a small kitten about to cross the road. As soon as I saw it I told my husband to stop so I could pick the kitten up. We decided to keep him and my husband said we should declaw him and at the time I said sure. We waited a about 3 months and I wanted to do some research on how the procedure was done and I’m glad I did! I felt so bad for the cats, the pain they feel and discomfort. I told my husband I would NOT do that to my baby! And he said okay but still wanted to do something about his claws. So I went online and I found “kitty caps”. Its a much safer way to keep your cat from scratching your furniture. So I bought some and they work great! 🙂 you just glue them on and they stay on for about 4-6 weeks. I just put them and he didn’t even notice he had them on, he was still able to “scratch” on my sheets without the damage. I haven’t put some on him lately since he’s more into sleeping by the window then scratching lol. Even the vet said he was glad I found the caps 🙂

  • nancy says:

    I just want to add that dogs who excessively bark are trying to communicate their needs. Often, they need more interaction/activity or there could be something else going on. It’s similar to how babies cry when they have needs. How cruel to take away a dog’s voice.

  • Gael S says:

    A dog’s primary means of communication is not barking. Reseachers report that wild canids rarely bark past adolescence. The FACTs are that canine communication is primarily through a dog’s sense of smell and body language. Bark softening is far safer than spay/neuter surgery which not only is more invasive, but carries significantly greater risks of complications including certain types of cancer.

  • derma md says:

    While going through this post I felt that you have done a lot of research on the topic, I appreciate your efforts and glad that I found your blog. Keep posting such informative content.

  • Lori says:

    Declawing is animal abuse. I would never declaw my cat. People who declaw their cats do so because they are lazy and cant take the time to work with the cat to get them to stop the clawing behavior. And it has been proven that declawed cats bite more because they have no defense mechanism other than biting. DONT DECLAW YOUR CAT, EVER.

  • PETA says:

    Jesse- Barking is a dog’s natural means of communicating many feelings, an ability that is stripped away when this cruel and invasive procedure is performed. Because debarking is unnecessary and inherently cruel, many veterinarians condemn it. There are many humane methods for solving barking problems, and we encourage concerned guardians to never accept debarking as a solution.

  • nancy says:

    Declawing needs to be illegal. People lacking empathy for their cats believe they have good reasons as some posts here show. These kind of people need laws to enforce them to be humane.

  • nancy says:

    Angela, Have you tried the Emery Cat Board for keeping cats’ nails trimmed? I don’t have cats so I don’t know if it works or if it’s safe but I thought it looked interesting.

  • Yoga Gurl says:

    I adopted an elderly cocker spaniel who had separation anxiety issues. Her barking got me in a lot of trouble with the neighbors and with animal control coming out even doing my best to mitigate the situation. I had felt at the time the only thing that would help was a de barking. I didn’t want to do it but didn’t know what else to do. The last thing I wanted to do was give up on her. I didn’t get it done because I could not find a doctor who would do it…and she has since passed away. I am just sayin’ that it’s not always out of mal intent. Sometimes it’s a way to be able to keep your animal friend.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I only had one cat who was not already declawed when he came to live with me. What worked for me was a combination of a relaxed, cats will be cats attitude, an apartment furnished with all of my relatives cast-offs (I called it 20th Century American Garage Sale), a series of scratching posts made with sizal, some inflated balloons taped on the one chair I did not want Ollie The First to touch, some air freshener, and a large can of Indoor No for the spraying he occasionally indulged in. He’s been gone for close to 15 years and I still miss him.

  • Gracielee says:

    Declawing and debarking is just plain stupid and should NOT be made legal and should NOT be seen as acceptable…. Cats and dogs are just doing whats in their nature to do…

  • pauline brooks says:

    Had a beautiful pomeranian de-barked because of neighbours complaints – within 24 hours he was dead – 3 years, 3months and 3 days old. I moved house -but it was too late for him. I should have not let him have such dangerous surgery – wish I could turn back the clock, its over 2 years ago now and I still miss him. Make it illegal please – and make neighbours learn that dogs bark, cats dig up their gardens and birds crap on their expensive cars – we live in a world – I hate listening to their blasted lawn mowers, motor bike engines, chain saws, etc…. but I used to have to tolerate their noise -yet my little dog barking cost him his life. Is that fair???

  • Sue Harris says:


  • Kayla says:

    I will never declaw my cat(s). Even as a little girl I knew it was wrong to take away an animals claws, right out of their paws. They have them because that’s the way they were born. And Rachel, lol that’s funny!

  • Eileen says:

    Why would anyone want to mutilate their pet. Why did they even get a pet in the first place. Maybe they should have their nails pulled out and their vocal cords taken out just to see how it feels.

  • Jesse says:

    I don’t have an opinion on declawing as I am not fond of cats, but I had a debarked dog growing up. He was my stepfather’s Brittany. Hoss barked so much that the neighbor couldn’t sell his house. No one wanted to live next door. My stepfather tried everything with that dog from trainers to bark collars. He tried everything anyone would tell him. His entire life, even before the debarking, he got planty of exercise so it wasn’t excess energy. Finally, all of the neighbors approached him and asked that he get rid of the dog. We all knew that if we were to take Hoss to a shelter, he would most likely be returned for his barking issues if he was adopted at all. That’s when we decided to debark him. We were afraid that if we took him to the shelter, he would end up dead. He never suffered any negative consequences from it an he lived to the ripe old age of 19. I don’t think that debarking should be a common practice, but I do believe that, in this case, it did save his life.

  • Emma says:

    My cat enjoys having his claws filed with a nail file…!!! he has cost us a lot of damage in our old rented flat but he was bored and stressed of being in such a small space – we’re in a house now and hes fine! We got his claws cut when he got neutered so he wasnt upset and i dont have to ruin any more nail files!!!

  • Garry says:

    Declaw a cat? What a contemptible, barbaric act of violence to commit on a family member. Outlaw this disgusting practice.

  • Kath says:

    Why do you need to declaw your cats? You can just cut the edges of their claws off. Not the pink bit, the edge.

  • Bilkish832 says:

    Its inhumane and painful ! imagine how you would feel if someone denailed you…without any nails to peel an orange or even open any wrapper…so enjoyable?? please think twice what declawing means….its cruel and just cruel! if your furniture is so precious, then why bother to own a cat?? such people dont deserve any pets!

  • Madhu says:

    We can only do such things as declawing / de barking / de – xyz (to be heard of in the next few years) because we still love ourselves more than our little ones … I have Cats and dogs at home and their claws have never been a problem. Infact they will be extra cautious while playing when they know its my hand that he is palying with 🙂 and I love to feel that they care for me too. My dog Barks and wakes me up in the morning, its his way of saying ‘Good morning Mama’ … I cant dream of taking my Cats claws and my dogs voice off them for some petty comfort desire of mine ! Love them … and U will only feel like giving not taking anything …

  • Lisa says:

    I have 3 cats and only one is declawed. I had her declawed 12 years ago before I actually knew what it was. Now that I know how awful declawing is, I’m so sorry I ever did it. Thankfully, she is still the sweetest tiger kitty on the planet. My other two like to claw at the furniture from time to time, but double-sided tape works wonders! I am definitely against declawing/debarking. If people are educated about the procedures and truly love their pets, why would they try to rob them of their natural behaviors?

  • Ivy says:

    Even though it’s the easiest way to save furnitures it’s never a solution, like kids for example, if let say they mess your nice couch millions of time, you wouldn’t want to cut their hands right? We will just have to allow ourselves to accept what it is naturally.

  • Susan P says:

    I would NEVER declaw my cat. that why we currently live on crappy military housing in KS. All the apartments, houses,and town-homes in the near by cities will only allow cats that are declawed. I was unable to find a place that would allow a cat with claws. I believe declawing is wrong and I will never do it to my cat.

  • Jennifer says:

    De clawing is awful I have trained my cats very easily to sit for claw trimming sessions. They enjoy the extra grooming and yes there is a new laser they can use but it is still cutting off their fingers at the knuckles. The other way is pretty much pruning shears and cauterizing their fingers. Also de barking is horrible dogs are more easily trained then cats and if people payed attention and loved their pets like they should most dogs would bark like crazy anyway. Maybe we should de voice these people that are doing it and see how they like it when they can’t talk!

  • sjblackwood77 says:

    I had two declawed cats in my life, but I was so young that I didn’t know what it entailed. I would never do that now. I agree with maria we teach all our cats from kitten on to sit for trimmings. I have a dog who barks like crazy but I would never debark him. Would you want someone to do it to you?

  • Angela says:

    I was thinking about declawing my cat until I read what it was. I try to trim my cats nails but she acts like I hurt her & jumps, then crys. How do you do it right?

  • Miss Vicky says:

    I have 2 female tuxedo cats and I got them for my high school graduation gift from my Mom and Stepdad. They were 6 weeks old when I got them and now they’re almost 8 years old. My parents insisted I get them declawed because they didn’t want them to ruin the furniture and curtains. I didn’t have a choice because I was living at home so I had them declawed the same time they were spayed. I felt really hesitant about it but they both healed up well. My parents bought 2 small dogs (Japanese Chins) within a year and one of my cats wasn’t happy about it. Whenever the dogs got near her she would smack them in the face. At this point I realized that it was best to get them declawed or my Mom’s dogs would be blind! I now live on my own with my hubby, our tuxedo cats, a Chihuahua, and a Pitbull/Boxer mix and I’m happy with the choice to declaw!

  • Tiffani says:

    All 3 of my cats are declawed. We had the first one done because he was very mean. He would tear us up with his claws. Most people wouldn’t have kept him. We even had a lady at the vet ask us why we keep him. The second one got declawed because she started to attack our dog. Even jumped on the dog’s back. Cat #3 is declawed because he was a bit wild and fights with the other two. Not a fair fight if one has claws and the other one doesn’t. I work in a shelter with cats and I would rather see them declawed and IN a home then left outside or never to find a home. Cats with claws can be very destructive and most people would rather have a pet that does not tear up the house.

  • wifflum says:

    My cat clawed the sofa, my (now ex) husband wanted me to declaw the cat or get rid of the cat. Guess what I have now? A new man and the same sofa covered with a blanket and the same cat!

  • Amy says:

    Declawing and debarking should be illegal. There is NO reason to do either.

  • Gaby says:

    Declawing procedure should be prohibited and porsecuted to whomever is doing that, what kind of vets are those? Shame on you!!! Leave the cats be, its in their nature to scratch!

  • Francis says:

    Yet another ‘acceptable’ practice enabling humans to harm animals to suit themselves. If having fancy furniture is more important than cats expressing normal behaviour, don’t take on a cat. Or better still, don’t treat your furniture like it has feelings!

  • Kat says:

    I’ll never understand why people mutilate their pets all for their own convenience. I’ve had cats for most of my life, and I just give in to the fact that some of our stuff might get ruined. I love my furry family way more than I love my furniture, drapes, and anything else they might get their little claws into.

  • Jill says:

    If you can’t handle the claws don’t get a cat. Pretty simple really.

  • Elizabeth says:

    You LOVE someone, only want him/her mute? Or unable to scratch, which is his/her very NATURE? Ok then perhaps these “humans” should be castrated, as well – no need to keep the genes of profound idiocy around much longer.

  • Peggi Mitchell says:

    I have 3 beautiful female cats and I would never have them declawed. My girls have 4 different scratching devices. They have a cat tree, 2 scratch pads and a scratch pole. And as for debarking a dog, I never heard of such a thing!

  • Voice of Experience says:

    We have 8 indoor cats. I trim everyone’s claws at least every two weeks, and have since they were kittens. It isn’t a hassle, use large nail clippers designed for humans, and only take off the thin, curved part of the nail. Do NOT cut into the wide part of the claw, that is the quick, as sensitive as the quick on your own fingernails. Insofar as clawing the furniture, We bought high-quality leather furniture years ago, claws cannot penetrate the leather.

  • ccrtelevision says:

    Who would do either? Declawing is a waste and anyway, a squirt bottle works much better! Imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you were a cat and you didn’t have claws if you needed to scratch yourself with them…? As for debarking, that is just horrid. If a dog didn’t have their vocal chords…what if there was a fire during the night and the dog wanted to save you, but couldn’t due to the fact that they couldn’t wake you up with their barking? 🙁

  • Gala says:

    Why would anyone do this kind of thing to their pets? It just seems barbaric. I’ve never heard of the debarking thing until now, but it sounds so horrible. Do people even think about what they do? Would they cut their own kids vocal cords out if they were given the option?

  • rachel says:

    i foster cats, and i teach ALL of them to sit for nail trims, and then offer to teach adoptive parents how to trim nails. there is no excuse to declaw! we did have a very wild cat who used to claw us and attack, but with training and patience she became loveable and sweet, and now even she sits nicely for nail trims. i trained all my cats that they get REALLY GOOD treats that they ONLY get after nail trims, and now all i need to do it hold up the clippers and make the clipping noise, and they run from all over the house to get their nails trimmed!!

  • Maria Duarte says:

    I would NEVER declaw my cats. Even they were scratching the crap out of my furniture. Ever heard of a thing called a squirt bottle?? It’s works wonders when they claw…..they catch on quick too! I don’t have a dog but if I did I would never ever debark them. That’s just wrong!