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To De-claw or Not To De-claw

Mar 3, 2015 | Cats, Pet Care, Pet Tips, Surgical

De-clawing, also known as onychectomy, is a controversial procedure. De-clawing is the process of surgically removing an animal’s claws (usually a cat’s) and a bone to prevent the claw from growing back. Many people equate de-clawing with cutting a person’s fingertips off. If you’re considering de-clawing your cat, take a look at this list of pros and cons first.

  • Helps protect your furniture and hardwood floors
  • Protects your family members, like small children, from scratches
  • It may be necessary for medical reasons, like if your cat has a tumor or if their claw is damaged beyond repair.
  • It is most often done to avoid euthanizing the cat or having the cat abandoned by a frustrated owner

  • If the claw is not removed entirely, it can grow back improperly and cause abscesses. This happens very infrequently
  • It is believed that outdoor cats are unable to properly defend themselves, but cats adapt fairly well and defend themselves
  • The main reason that cats are declawed is to avoid euthanizing or abandoning a cat that continues to damage furnishings even after training. The clients get frustrated with a pet that will not/cannot be trained.

Most people get their cats de-clawed to prevent them from scratching and destroying furniture. But some people with suppressed immune systems or elderly people on blood thinners should not be exposed to the bacteria on cats’ claws.


  • Train your cat to use a scratching post; this is easier with kittens, but older cats can also be taught
  • Nail caps: these can be adhered to your cat’s nails and they work well for protecting your furniture and floors. This appears to work well for short periods of time and quite often depends on the owner’s determination to stop the destruction of furnishings.
  • Nail trimming can make your cat’s nails blunt, and is also less expensive than de-clawing; ask your veterinarian to do it for you if you’re uncomfortable, or show you how to do it