Skip to Main Content

How Would You Like to Have Your Fingertips Amputated?

Written by Alisa Mullins | August 13, 2014

At its national meeting in Denver last month, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) revised its policy on declawing to emphasize the seriousness of the surgery, referring to it as an “amputation” for the first time.

Declawing a Cat Is the Equivalent of Cutting a Person's Fingers Off at the First Joint

“The main intent is to elevate the seriousness of the procedure in the minds of veterinarians and, hopefully, the public,” said AVMA President Dr. Ted Cohn. “It’s imperative that pet owners know that this is not a simple procedure.”

And it isn’t. Declawing involves up to 20 separate amputations, severing not just the nails but the whole joint, including the bones, ligaments, and tendons. Complications include chronic pain, nerve damage, hemorrhaging, bone chips, recurrent infections, and abnormal regrowth of the nail inside the paw. Declawed cats may also develop behavioral problems, including urinating outside the litterbox and biting.

Cat JudgingCat Face | Devopstom | CC BY-SA 2.0
Keep your hands off my toes!


The new AVMA policy emphasizes that vets should educate pet owners about less invasive ways to deter cats from scratching, such as purchasing scratching posts, using double-sided tape to protect furniture, and conducting biweekly nail trims.

What You Can Do

Never declaw a cat, ask your vet to stop performing this unnecessary procedure, and ask your City Council to ban it, as San Francisco has done. Educate your friends and family about the cruelty of declawing: Host a viewing party of the terrific documentary The Paw Project, which is currently available on Netflix.

Commenting is closed.
  • kellycarby says:

    I have taken in 5 cats in the past few years and all 5 of them have their claws. I never considered de clawing them, because it renders them helpless. Considering many people decided to put the poor declawed animal outside after it grows up and is no longer a cute kitten. REMEMBER WHEN YOU TAKE IN AN ANIMAL IT GROWS UP, JUST LIKE A CHILD. Humanity disappoints me everyday. I feel like there is no hope. Of course I am not speaking of anybody who is reading this, if you are on this site you obviously love and care for animals. And for those people I am thankful. And to PETA I am thankful.

  • Ann Fenner says:

    I have never had a cat declawed. After I saw The Paw Project, I was glad I never had. The documentary, The Paw Project horrified me.