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Decoding the Declawing Myth

Written by PETA | January 18, 2011

If declawing were more accurately referred to as “amputation,” would people still declaw their cats? The Paw Project doesn’t think so. In this provocative new public service announcement, the group shows exactly what the procedure would look like on a human. Its website explains that “[t]o declaw a cat, the veterinarian cuts off the last knuckles of a cat’s paw—cutting through bone, tendons, skin and nerves. In a person, it is equivalent to amputating each finger or toe at the last joint.”

Cats often experience extreme pain when they awaken from declawing, and they frequently have difficulty relearning how to walk, much as a person would after losing his or her toes. In PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You, experienced veterinarian Dr. Louis J. Camuti is quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t declaw a cat if you paid me $1,000 a nail!”

Nearly two dozen countries, including the U.K., Australia, and Japan, have prohibited or severely restricted veterinarians from declawing. Until the U.S. follows suit, it’s up to us to protect our felines’ feet by buying scratching posts and sisal “scratching boxes,” teaching cats where—and where not—to claw, and giving them regular “pedicures” (i.e., trimming their nails). Getting mani-pedis with our cats—now if only they could talk Twilight with us too …

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Jo says:

    It should not be illegal. It should be a last resort. When someone has a very destructive cat- and I don’t mean scratching the couch the odd time, I mean destroying things.. they should try all options of training/ providing posts and trees/ trimming and even the nail caps. If all fails they declaw. Declawing can save lives because that same person without the option is likely going to send that animal to a shelter. If that animal is not adopted it will be put to sleep. If the point is to end animal cruelty, you should leave the option open as a LAST resort.

  • Larieve says:

    Trimming their nails is much better because that is just like clipping your fingernails-not painful. But if you find that trimming doesn’t work, you could use soft-paws or other plastic claw-covers. They even come in fun colors!

  • Jackie says:

    What a compelling and disturbing ad. I was wondering if Eli Roth has seen it, it seems like the kind of animal rights ad he’d love! I think you should work with Eli on similar horror themed ads regarding animal abuse and experimentation.

  • linda carlson says:

    I had my two year old cat declawed because i adopted a three week old kitten and feared she would hurt her.I realized after she got home that it was a mistake and that i basically had her feet butchered.She lived on my bed for two weeks until she felt like she could walk okay enough to leave the room.I slept on the couch so she could have her dishes and litter box on the bed cause she would not even attempt to get down.Never again will i do that.I took away her ability and right to defend herself.Not to mention i had to keep wiping her bloody paws cause she would not lick them for about a week.Never again.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    What I did for our cats was made some “tea” using catnip. I then put the tea in a spray bottle and sprayed it all over their scratching post. Worked like a charm. It goes without saying that the post should be high enough and its base stable enough that they can give it a real good tug.

  • Chris says:

    You would be surprised at how easy it is to convince someone to do this. I did not know the extreme pain and suffering a cat would endure and was assured that this would be an easy procedure with little pain. I watched my poor cat suffer and relearn how to walk.  She could not make it to her litter box, jump up in my lap or cat bed. It was horrible. I will never do that to a cat again. Since then i tell everyone I know that has or wants a cat the awful pain and long time of healing it takes but even then your cat is not the same. Buddy suffered from depression for many years. I did everything I could to make her happy again.  Declawing is wrong. People need to know the truth and not be ignorant like I was.

  • Monica says:

    I can’t believe people do that!! That’s insanely cruel! OMG! If you teach where cats can and can’t scratch, and provide them with scratching posts, for ex., they will learn! I have two young cats who already know it is better to scratch the sisal scratching posts than to hear “No, no, no” from their owner (me!) when they used to scratch chairs! And they love their scratching posts so much! Kristahra, you do need to be careful when trimming cats’ nails so that you don’t cut their skin (just like humans, their nails have skin “bases”). So you shouldn’t trim them too short, really. But if you trim correctly, not cutting their skin, it’s safe and painless. My cats have not gotten used to it yet, so I have a bit of a difficult time when doing it (they move a lot to be released!), but I know they will get used to it. Besides that, it is something you do once every 15 days, so it’s not like a lot of work really.

  • rafles says:

    rayos son animales es su naturaleza rascar arañar cosas y morder… los animales somos nosotros por que no entendemos que es su naturaleza

  • Jordan says:

    I can’t believe some people actually want to put their cat through this! This just goes to show how sick and messed up some people actually are… 🙁

  • Kristahra says:

    ouch man. How about declawing becomes against the law, and people have to have their cats nails trimmed. is trimming any better? i should’ve asked that question first.