Organization for the Rescue of Animals




A cat in pain after recent mutilation.

Many veterinarians routinely ask their clients, when if it is the time to spay or neuter a cat, if they want to have them also declawed, like an additional option on a menu. In reality the declawing procedure is a barbaric mutilation of the cat, that is supported by unscrupulous veterinarians that see it as a source of additional revenue for them. They conveniently fail to inform the public about the atrocity of the procedure and the consequences for the cat.

Declawing is a severe surgical procedure in which a cat’s toes are amputated – not just one amputation, but ten separate digital amputations! Portions of their paws, not just the nails, are removed which is equivalent to a person losing the entire top of every finger at the first knuckle.

Unlike most animals who walk on the soles of their paws or feet, cats are digitigrade which means they walk on their toes. This means that declawed cats can no longer walk or exercise properly because they have lost bones, tendons and ligaments in their feet. This affects their posture and both their physical and emotional health. Initial recovery takes a few weeks, but even after the surgical wounds have healed, there are often long-term physical and psychological effects such as permanent lameness, limping, arthritis, aggressive biting, litter box avoidance and other long-term complications.

The amputation surgery.

Declawing is banned in most civilized countries

The amputated toes.

Did you know that declawing is so predictably painful and traumatic that it is used in studies to test the effectiveness of pain medications? It is considered so inhumane that it is banned in most civilized countries around the world, or is only performed under extreme circumstances. These countries include Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Yugoslavia and Japan. Great Britain's Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons goes so far as to declare that declawing is “unnecessary mutilation.”

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor, Author and Director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine explains declawing:

"The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge."

Animal protection groups oppose declawing

The caregivers of this cat called themselves a loving home.

The Animal Protection Institute
“Declawing is not a routine surgery and should never be done as a "preventive." Despite their reputation for independence, cats can readily be trained to use a scratching post instead of the sofa, curtains, or rugs. Using surgery to prevent or correct a behavioral problem is expedient, but it is not the wisest, kindest, or best solution for your cat.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
"The ASPCA does not approve of the declawing of cats as a matter of supposed convenience to cat owners. It is form of mutilation and it does cause pain."

Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
"Declawing generally is unacceptable because the suffering and disfigurement it causes is not offset by any benefits to the cat.... Some veterinarians have argued that some people would have their cats killed if declawing was not an option. We should not, however, allow ourselves to be taken 'emotional hostage' like this. If a person really would kill her or his cat in this case, it is reasonable to question the suitability of that person as a feline guardian, especially when there are millions of non-declawed cats living in harmony with people."

Scratching is a natural function of a cat

A healthy cat using her scratching post.

Scratching is not a behavior problem; it is a natural function of a cat and is a deeply ingrained instinct. Cats can somewhat be readily trained to use a scratching post instead of furniture. A vertical scratching post should be at least 28-36" high to allow the cat to stretch to its full height. Rubbing the surface with catnip, or using a catnip spray, may enhance the attractiveness of the post. It is best to put a post near where kitty sleeps because cats like to scratch and stretch when they awaken.

To deter a cat from scratching in inappropriate places, place double sided tape or tape aluminum foil on the surface – cats do not like the feeling of these. Also it helps to keep the nails of your cat trimmed.

However, if you want to live in a “model home” forget about getting a cat. Cats will always cause some damages to your furniture as children do. If your sofa or any inanimate object is more important to you than a living creature, you should abstain from getting a cat. To mutilate a cat to save a piece of furniture is preposterous.

Unfortunately, given the antiquate laws on animal protections in Canada, it is impossible to think to make declawing illegal at the present time. However, if you oppose de-clawing, you can start asking any vet to whom you give your business, what is their practice on de-clawing. An ethical vet should discourage their clients from de-clawing, they should properly explain what declawing involves and show pictures of the de-clawing procedure. They should only perform declawing in extreme circumstances. If the vet to whom you are taking your pet is not doing that, then perhaps you should consider changing veterinarian. Do not we all aim to get for our pets compassionate veterinarians who have the well being of the animal as top interest rather than the money they can pocket?

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals is compiling a list of “ethical” veterinarians that perform declawing only in extreme circumstances. Please let us know if your veterinarian should be listed in this category

For excellent tips and information on alternatives to declawing, please read on line the article written by veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling at - which includes information, on scratching as natural behavior of cats, how to provide your cat with an appropriate scratching post and how to trim your cat’s nails.

If for some reason you feel you must only have a declawed cat, you can find plenty of them in the local shelters. Please call us.

Links and Articles :

Veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling

Why Cats Need Claws

Cats Need Claws

A Rational Look at Declawing

Photos of a declaw surgery

Educate, Don’t Amputate!

The Paw Project

The Facts about Declawing and the Alternatives

ORA - Organization for the Rescue of Animals, does not adopt cats to people who will de-claw and a no-declawing contract must be signed by all adopters.



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