Is it bad to have my cats declawed?

My view on cat declawing is that every cat owner should make her own decision. Declawing a cat is not inhumane. It is a reasonable option for people who want to own a cat and nice furniture.

I don’t feel so bad for the pampered indoor cats that get declawed because I know these cats are lucky to live in homes where they are loved.

Many cats are not so lucky.

In 2010, 446 impounded cats were killed in our three local pounds located in Fargo (N.D.), West Fargo (N.D.) and Moorhead (Minn.), according to the pound stats reported by Adopt-A-Pet of Fargo-Moorhead.

I do not feel bad for cats that live in homes without their claws while so many cats are killed in pounds.

Josh and I got a new couch Friday, so now we are facing the question most cat owners ask at some point:

Should we declaw our cats or not?

Josh is all for it, and I’m on the fence so we probably will have Beamer and Scout declawed eventually.

I’ve written about the pros and cons of declawing a cat before, so I won’t repeat myself here.

Instead, I want to share my personal take on this issue because I do believe it is a personal choice for every cat owner. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just explaining my point of view as a cat owner who loves her cats very much.

Personally, I want to do all I can to teach my cats not to scratch the furniture. If nothing works, then I am 100 percent in favor of declawing them.

So right now we are teaching them they are not allowed on the couch at all (I know, I know. Just hold off on the laughter a bit). Dogs are not allowed on the new couch, so the cats aren’t either.

It’s not just the actual scratching from cats that damages furniture. It’s years of cats “kneading” into the cushions with their claws as the get comfortable and relaxed. It’s years of jumping onto the arms and the back of the couch. It’s years of wrestling and playing on the couch.

So we’re trying a new concept: No cats allowed.

Our cats respond pretty well to a voice correction – “Hey!” or “No!” We use that if they approach the couch, and we also have a water bottle nearby. We haven’t had to use it yet. The cats have plenty of other seating options such as an old chair, pet beds and a new, two-level scratching post. Their favorite spot is Ace’s dog bed.

To keep my cats entertained, I’ve been making sure to play with them every day. We play chasing and pouncing games so they have less energy for scratching the couch. I’m also trying to rotate their scratching posts to keep things interesting, and to rotate their toys and randomly put treats and catnip on their appropriate scratching and sleeping places.

And obviously I’m keeping their nails clipped.

When we can’t supervise our cats, we put them in our laundry room (their catpartment).We’ve been doing this for months already because Beamer eats everything in sight, and Scout … well, he poops on rugs 🙂

I really don’t believe these attempts will stop them from scratching the couch, but I’ll feel better if I give them this chance.

It does help that Scout and Beamer are 6 and 8 years old – not kittens – and they sleep for a good 19 hours per day.

Isn’t it inhumane to declaw a cat?

You have to decide what is right for you and your cats. There are always going to be people who tell you it’s cruel to declaw a cat. There are always going to be people who believe that declawing an indoor cat is just what you do. Read up on the pros and cons of declawing a cat and discuss it with your cat’s vet.

It’s never made a whole lot of sense to me how some people can be so against declawing cats but so in favor of spaying and neutering cats.

People will use certain points to argue against declawing, but then they will totally ignore those same points when it comes to spaying/neutering.

Here are the most common examples:

Declawing a cat will cause the cat pain.

Yes, declawing a cat causes pain, but so does spaying/neutering a cat. Any surgery will cause at least some amount of pain for an animal.

Declawing a cat is far less invasive than removing her ovaries and uterus, a procedure most cat owners do not think twice about.

Declawing a cat is convenient for the owner.

Of course it’s convenient to own a cat that doesn’t destroy property with his claws. It’s also convenient to own a sterilized cat that doesn’t spray everywhere or go into heat.

Beamer marked in the house right up until the day he was neutered (poor bastard). He will also continue to scratch as long as he has his claws. He’s a cat!

Declawing a cat is not necessary.

Declawing a cat is not necessary, but either is sterilizing a cat.

Some people will argue that spaying/neutering is necessary for controlling the cat population. Controlling the cat population is important, but sterilizing cats is not the only way to accomplish this. Cat owners can prevent unsterilized cats from breeding by keeping them indoors and away from other unsterilized cats.

Others will argue that spaying a cat is necessary because it decreases her risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. I’m not convinced this is a real reason to spay every female cat.

Removing body parts such as the ovaries is going to eliminate the chance of future cancer to those body parts. But just because a cat has ovaries does not mean she has a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Removing a dog’s ovaries could actually decrease her lifespan, according to research from the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation. And sterilization can contribute to certain cancers in dogs, according to the department of veterinary clinical sciences at Purdue University.

Ted Kerasote, author of “Merle’s Door,” has a book coming out in fall of 2012 called “Why Dogs Die Young,” and it addresses these very issues. I can’t wait to read it.

Pet owners need to look at the pros and cons of sterilizing their animals and declawing their cats and make their own decisions. These are personal choices. What is or isn’t necessary is debatable.

To declaw or not declaw?

Beamer and Scout destroyed one couch over time. They will likely destroy another.

I’m going to give my cats a week or two with the above “behavior modification” plan and then re-visit the declawing issue. I have made up my mind that I am OK getting them declawed if they don’t leave the couch alone.

I love my cats very much. They have a good life.

Scout the gray tabby cat sitting in the living room

Photo by Tawna Whitford

Closeup of creme tabby cat lying on a rug with green eyes - cute!

Photo by Tawna Whitford


40 Readers Commented

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  1. Mel on November 21, 2011

    I’m just gonna put this out there:

    Declawing is very different than spay/neuter. The two can’t even be compared. One is done purely for cosmetic, the other is done to prevent unwanted litters.

    If someone feels the need to amputate their animal instead of training, perhaps a cat is not the right animal for them. The boyfriend is allergic to cats, so we don’t have one. However that doesn’t mean I’m going to go get one and skin it so that it’s convenient to own one.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2011

      I think they can be compared. Both are used to make living with pets more convenient for the humans.

      So someone who will get a cat declawed should not have a cat? If that were the case, there would be a lot more homeless cats, and many more would die in shelters and pounds. Most landlords require cats to be declawed. Are you saying people who live in apartments should not have cats? I know it’s easy to get around these rules, but most people really do want to follow the rules.

      I do appreciate your comments, Mel! Thanks for the discussion!

  2. susan on November 21, 2011

    Unfortunately people don’t realize what declawing really does to a cat until it’s too late to turn back. It’s both a physical and a psychological assault that strips the animal of it’s self confidence and its ability to protect itself. I’ve never spoken to anyone who went through it and didn’t see it as one of the biggest mistakes they ever made (assuming they were sensitive, intelligent people). I’m all for the training (obviously) the new couch is just a thing. Two years from now you and hubbo will have spilled a variety of things on it yourself and no one will even think of amputating your hands to prevent further damage. Please tell the cats we’re in their corner, Ace too naturally. All the best, S

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2011

      My cats have never used their claws to defend themselves, and I’ve had about 50 different dogs visit over the last couple of years. They defend themselves with their energy. I’ve never met a cat owner who regretted getting her cat declawed. Everyone says it’s no big deal. However, the majority of the people who speak up online are very against it. That’s usually the case with any topic.

      Thanks for your email yesterday!

  3. Elizabeth on November 21, 2011

    Another thing you might want to try is tin foil over the hand rests and the back of the couch and even over the seat when you are not there. However I think its a great thing that you are playing with them more and making sure they have toys to scratch on and keeping them in their cat apartment when you aren’t there. I uderstand keeping the declawing in the back of your mind. I realize its an option but I am glad that its going to be your last option instead of first. I think that’s where people go wrong. They use declawing as a first fix instead of a final one.

    I hope that you don’t declaw your cats. Its a very long recovery from what I have seen and there is a very high probablity that you will have secondary infections even if you watch them and do everything right…

    I’m sorrry that Beamer is pooping on the rug. Did you make sure that he doesn’t have a bodily issue or is this a mental thing???

    Belle got an impaction this weekend and had to have surgery. She’s home asleep on her bed right now. I am so happy she’s going to be ok!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2011

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Always appreciate your thoughtful comments! I’m not such a big fan of always keeping foil on my couch! Kind of defeats the purpose of a nice couch. But it’s something to try for a bit just to get them out of the habit of jumping on it. Or, it might even attract them to it … who knows 🙂

      The cats were at the vet yesterday and got a healthy report. Scout is the one who has “accidents” and it seems to be purely a mental thing. We’re trying a few things, so hopefully he will change his ways.

      So glad Belle is OK!

  4. Nancy on November 21, 2011

    Well, I for one, think it’s fine to declaw your cats if your training doesn’t work. I know you. I know your cats. They have good lives. They will still have good lives without their claws.

    Good luck with the training and with your decision.

  5. shanendoah@life by pets on November 21, 2011

    This is not an easy decision. My mom used to take cardboard and place it around the corners of her couch to keep the cat from destroying the couch. (She’d hide it away when there was company.) We’d always had indoor outdoor cats and it never occurred to any of us to declaw.
    Then my mom moved from a house that backed up to BLM land to a busy neighborhood. Our cat needed to stay indoors (or at least closer to home) for her own safety. The vet recommended delcawing for this purpose.
    I have to say it worked because for the years my mother was in that house, the cat wasn’t hit by a car.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2011

    Personally, I am not going to keep tape, cardboard or foil on my couch as that defeats the purpose of having a nice couch. I don’t have a couch to show off to visitors. I have a nice couch for myself.

    I’m glad the declawing thing worked out OK for your mom’s cat.

  7. Kat on November 25, 2011


    Hope I’m not too late in posting this. I would like to suggest considering trying a product called Soft Paws. They are little caps you can attach to cats claws that are totally harmless to that cat and will make it so they can’t scratch anything. They are reasonably priced and last long enough to make it worth the money. I have tried them myself with my 4 year old cat and he is completely unaware he even has them on. I would strongly suggest giving them a try before you do the declawing.

    Best Wishes,

  8. Caitlin Nicol on November 27, 2011

    Personally I think declawing is completely inhumane and you can’t even compare it to neutering or spaying, which isn’t done so much for convenience, but also to prevent more unwanted animals from being produced. Declawing is essentially removing the first joint in the cats claw and is as cruel if not more so than docking. Can you imagine how painful that must be? Why inflict that on a cat? I’m in New Zealand and this isn’t a procedure that a vet would even consider here. Some of the procedures carried out in other countries are just barbaric.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 27, 2011

      Neutering and spaying our pets are definitely done out of convenience for the owners. There are other ways to prevent our pets from breeding, but sterilizing them is the most convenient method for the owners. The pets go through some amount of pain after sterilization, but we see this as a small price to pay for everything we give them – food, shelter, veterinary care, love.

      • Mel on November 28, 2011

        I have to disagree with this. Spaying/neutering is also done for their health, and to prevent cancers.

        P.S. Even though your blog posts piss me off, I love ’em. Makes me think.

        • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 29, 2011


          Maybe we can agree somewhere in the middle on some of these issues.

          As I said in the post, sterilizing an animal to “prevent” cancers is a pretty weak reason to have them sterilized. Just because a dog has ovaries does not mean she is going to get ovarian cancer. Here is some research that shows how removing the ovaries can actually lead to a shorter lifespan for dogs:

  9. Mel on December 11, 2011

    In this post and the one you linked to, you say “most” or “nearly every” landlord will not rent to a tenant with a cat with claws. Is this a fact or based on personal experience?

    I used to help folks find rentals as a part of my job, and while I recall speaking to landlords who had a preference for declawed cats, I don’t recall offhand anyone saying it was an across the board, strict policy. It didn’t come up that much.

    Personally, I would not declaw a cat. My partner had his cat declawed when he got her and he said it was heart wrenching watching her recover.

  10. Lindsay Stordahl Author on December 13, 2011

    It depends on where you live. Most rental properties in Fargo do not allow pets at all. Those that do allow them usually require the cats to be declawed. However, they don’t do a very good job enforcing this.

  11. Kris on December 24, 2011

    I’m having my cat declawed soon and the way I see it is I love cats and have always had them! I’m tired of them tearing my things up and I’m very much for having them declawed! It’s NOT inhumane and your stupid if you think so! This blog was awesome! And very true! Either my cats get declawed or they stay at the vet and get uthinized like all the other unwanted cats! So what do you you think the cat would like?? Death and loneliness with claws or a very happy loving he without claws???

  12. Star on March 15, 2012

    My cats have claws and that certainly doesn’t equal death and loneliness.

    I think getting a cat declawed really should be a last resort option in extreme cases where the cats really are destructive. Declawing cats makes as much sense to me as owners who have their dogs voice box removed. I was actually on the phone with a friend of mine awhile back who happened to be visiting a house with a couple of beagles. One of the beagles had his voice box removed because he barked too much. I couldn’t wrap my head around that statement. Why would you get beagles if you can’t tolerate barking? Get a breed that’s less vocal! Or with cats…if you want declawed cats, adopt cats that are already declawed.

    As far as these surgeries being barbaric…I don’t quite agree with that. Just because a country has certain laws doesn’t mean that those laws are always justified. Just because something’s law doesn’t mean it’s a good law. And really, a dog getting his dewclaws removed or his tail docked isn’t quite the same thing as a cat getting his claws removed. A cat has use for his claws and there have been instances of behavioral changes in cats who do get their claws removed. Not saying it’s going to happen, but it has…maybe it’s because they feel more vulnerable? I don’t know. Also, I’ve heard about declawing possibly contributing to arthritis in cats later on in life…don’t know the validity of that either but it’s something I’ve heard from a cat behaviorist. People get cosmetic surgery on their kids (circumcision, anyone? And while it stemmed from religion it certainly hasn’t stuck with religion only…) and I’d say that’s about the same as a dog getting dewclaws removed or a tail docked. Is it exactly the same? No. But they’re very minor procedures and really not barbaric. For me, barbaric is someone who beats his animals, who chains them up and starves them or do sick tests on them for amusement. Not quite the same as a litter or puppies having minor surgery but then going on to live pampered, wonderful lives. I think a cat getting his claws removed could have more consequences because like I said, he actually uses his claws…but I still wouldn’t call it barbaric.

    My fiance’s sister has had 7 cats at some point and she lived in a VERY nice house with VERY nice things and they weren’t destroyed and they were in perfectly fine condition. A current friend of mine has a cat who is not allowed on counters or tables and is not allowed to scratch the couch and seats…she enforced that with a squirt bottle which she rarely has to use now. My point is that it can be done. Obviously all animals are different and I have no idea how destructive your cats are but nice things and cats can co-exist. It’s nice to see that you’re using declawing as a last resort. I don’t see it as something that’s off the table, inhumane, or barbaric but I also see it as a very poor option.

    I guess the reason I have a harder time with this is because I see things as things. Sure there are nice things and pretty things and expensive things but objects, for me, don’t carry the emotional value of a living creature. I wish I had that mindset earlier when my brother was just a kid and he would destroy my things (unintentionally of course) and I would yell at him and make a big deal. I can honestly say that those things he destroyed really don’t seem like such a big deal 7 – 8 years later but I DO still feel bad for yelling at him for them and as a result, making HIM feel bad for them. I wouldn’t make my animals go through a procedure that will cause them pain simply to preserve objects. But that’s just me…and I understand that people view things differently and that for certain people, objects carry a lot of value. I don’t think one viewpoint is wrong or right, just different.

    I agree with you that it’s a personal decision and I also agree with you that spaying/neutering isn’t quite the perfect thing for every animal. As far as population prevention…it’s possible without spaying/neutering…just requires more time and effort that people aren’t willing to give. I had my dog spayed because she can’t go to daycare intact…I felt awful about it…but it was done so that she doesn’t have to spend the day alone at home.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      Great points, Star. I appreciate your comment. I agree with much of what you said. I have chosen not to allow my cats to walk on the counters or to sit on the couch at all. I have also chosen not to have them declawed. That means they go into my laundry room at night and sometimes during the day when I can’t supervise. They are very pampered, and I think we’ve come to a compromise that works well. They also wear Soft Paws on their claws, but I don’t get around to replacing them right away when they fall off.

      They definitely leave the new couch alone, at least more so than the old couch. The new couch is “off limits” and they were allowed to sleep on the old couch. It is possible to set rules for cats, it just takes a lot of patience consistency.

  13. John on June 9, 2012

    A list of countries where declawing is illegal.

    You may notices that it’s the majority of the civilised world. Where we believe sentient beings have more value than inanimate objects.

    Star made comparisons to male genital mutilation as to somehow excuse declawing, it may interest you to know that again this is a practice again only really practiced in 3rd world hell holes and America.

  14. Brittany on October 26, 2012

    I would like to say, both of my cats were declawed just after we got them. We brought them home to get adjusted to the house for a week, took them back to the shelter to finish they’re shots and get them declawed.

    The were upset for MAYBE a week, maybe.

    I was the main care giver to them when they were kittens, so much so that my boy Simon (who is mostly known as Googie) follows me around the house, meows conversations with me, and suckles on my blankets because he thinks I am his mother (and I also like to think that I am).

    Getting them declawed was not my idea, but my mothers. I cried the entire night they came home with the sticky cast-like substance on their paws. I felt so terrible, I’d never get to feel them knead on me, or scratch me when they were angry. I spent the entire night in my bathroom making sure that they were ok and not in any pain. We were given pain medicitaion for them that I had to give them everyday (I can’t remember if it was twice daily or not, this was 3 years ago).

    After getting all that out of the way, I would now like to say, I am so glad they’re declawed.

    They have no problems, no quirks that relate to the declawing, no problems with cat litter. None. (Them not being able to scratch my 6 year old sister is also a plus)

    Honestly, my cats still THINK they have claws. They pick at things like cats with claws, and they knead just like normal cats (sometimes even to the point where it hurts me! Thems some powerful little paws) and act just like normal cats.

    Because that’s what they are. Normal. Cats.

    Just had to put in my 2 cents 🙂

  15. Val on October 31, 2012

    Thank you so much for your blog post! I really enjoyed reading an intelligent, rational discussion about the pros and cons of declawing. Instead of just rants and accusations about how cruel it is.

    My husband and I rescued our first kitten, Puma, off the street when he was only 8 weeks old. We were living in an apartment at the time and had to get him declawed (front only). I also grew up with a declawed cat as a child who was one of the best cats around, so I never thought twice about it. Then, I started doing some research on the procedure and realized how many people are saying it is inhumane and barbaric.

    However, my response has always been that it would have been more cruel to let Puma keep his claws and live on the street where he he probably would have only lasted a couple years before getting sick, or injured, or worse. Instead, he is a spoiled cat that gets two meals a day & the occasional treats, has someone to play with him, and gets to sleep on our bed–and even under the covers when it is cold out! Plus, Puma is one of the friendliest cats ever. In fact, guests always tell us, “I would get a cat if I knew it would be as awesome as Puma.” So, it is safe to say he has had zero behavioral/personality issues since the declawing.

    Now, my husband and I just adopted a second stray cat, Nike, off the street. We believe he was left behind by people living in an apartment nearby when they moved. When I first started taking care of him (I was feeding him outdoors before I was able to convince my husband to adopt him), he was underweight, missing the tip of his right ear, and had scars on his lower lip–clear signs he had been in some fights–and had about 8 ticks which I removed from him.

    We just adopted him in the past couple days and have been keeping him in his own “safe room” until he is given a clean bill of health by the vet. He is now tick-free and up to a healthy weight. I just dropped him off at the vet to be neutered and get all of his vaccines. The vet told me he thinks Nike is one year old.

    My husband and I are now faced with the decision of whether or not to declaw (front only) Nike as well. He is a little bit older than I would prefer for the procedure, but since Puma is 5 now and declawed, I am concerned about having one cat with claws and one without. The vet said the clawed cat would have a definite advantage.

    I am also not ashamed to admit that my husband and I do own a very nice home now that we have filled with pretty nice furniture, and I do not want that furniture to get ruined. Puma has already caused enough damage to our tables and hardwood floors (the floors are 100 years old–we live in an old restored home) with only his back claws.

    Anyway, I came across your site because I was feeling a bit guilty about possibly getting Nike declawed. I appreciate that the vet told me the pros and cons of the procedure and said the choice was up to my husband and I. I also loved the point you made in the article about how quick we are to spay/neuter but yell “that’s barbaric!” about declawing. That is also 100% about convenience for pet owners. If you are adopting a pet that is going to be an indoor pet–there’s really no reason you must get him/her neutered/spayed other than not wanting to deal with the marking/spraying and the animal in heat.

    And for those who say “Why don’t you chop the tips of your fingers off, and see how you like it!” Well, I don’t know a man alive that would choose to have his gonads removed and yet Nike is getting that done right now and no one blinks an eye.

    Also, no one has mentioned that is can be hard to play with a cat with claws. Maybe it is just because I am used to playing to Puma without his claws, but Nike has already scratched me multiple times while playing–and it hurts! I know he didn’t do it on purpose, but it makes me a little more weary to dangle the mouse in front of him the next time.

    Overall, we have not made a final decision about Nike’s claws yet. Once he is recovered from the neutering surgery, we will introduce him to Puma and see how they interact and get along. We’ll also see how he does with the furniture. But, if he scratches Puma or our furniture too much while he is getting acclimated, I feel a lot better about the decision to declaw him.

    Thanks again for your rational and informative post!

  16. Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 31, 2012

    Hey, thanks for your comment! I ended up not getting my cats declawed, but that doesn’t mean you should make the same choice. Maybe give it a week or so and see how Nike is doing.

    I actually managed to train my cats not to sit on or touch or new couch and they do stay off the couch. I also put those Soft Paws nail caps on them for a few months. This has worked for us, but I will never judge someone who chooses to declaw a cat. One of them does scratch the carpet a fair amount. We haven’t worried about this since the carpet is so old and needs to be replaced. It might be a different story if we had brand new carpet!

  17. Chantelle on November 22, 2012

    Thank you so much for your post. It was so nice to see someone take a balanced and reasoned approach to their analysis of the “declaw debate”.

    I have a three year old male cat named Elliott, and he is my world. He is the most loving, affectionate, quirkly little companion I could ever ask for. The sun rises and sets upon him, in my eyes. And he is being declawed right now, as I write this post.

    I tried everything in my power to avoid having Elliott declawed. Hence why he is only now having the procedure done at age three; I wanted to give ample time to try the alternatives. But unfortunately, my furry friend was simply not receptive to training, and clipping caused him to scratch MORE, as opposed to less, often (in an effort to sharpen his dulled claws). He just happens to be a bit more stubborn than most (much like his owner), and also happens to have an especially strong urge to scratch. Combined with his large size, he has been able to inflict some substantial damage to not only my furniture (next week, we welcome couch and loveseat #3 into our home), but also unintentionally to my person.

    Before deciding to have the procedure done, I did my homework: I read for hours about the nature of the procedure, viewed photos of the procedure being done (and of the procedure gone bad), and spoke to various veterinarians. I sought out others who had decided to have the procedure done to their pets, and asked about recovery and behavioural changes, among other things. I also shopped around for the right veterinarian, and have ended up paying more than three times the amount offered by other clinics simply to ensure the comfort and care of Elliott when going through this painful procedure.

    For me, this was a reasoned and responsible choice. And I think it is important to make it known that in certain circumstances and for certain cat owners, declawing is an appropriate choice. I have become infuriated hearing about how “cruel” I allegedly am, and about how if my furniture is more important to me than Elliott, then perhaps I should not have a cat. When it comes down to it, though, people need to wake up and consider that there is a certain degree of cruelty associated with the mere domestication of animals in and of itself. But we don’t often hear people urging pet owners worldwide to free their caged birds and release their domesticated cats and dogs that are confined to small indoor spaces in which they were never naturally intended to reside. Indeed, most opponents of declawing themselves own domesticated animals who have been historically bred for one purpose: human enjoyment and service.

    Elliott is my best friend and the most loyal creature (human or otherwise) that I have ever known. His destructive behaviour, however, began to cause me to resent and become angry with him, and I know that this would eventually take its toll on our relationship. With humans, you can love someone unconditionally, but be resentful and dissatisfied with destructive behaviour that has a negative impact on your own personal well-being, and therefore seek out a solution (some of which are arguably drastic) – the same can be said for our animal companions.

    When Elliott returns home tomorrow night, I know he will be sore and frightened. But I am also confident that I will properly administer his pain medication and that my partner and I will shower him with love and affection (not to mention new toys and treats). In a few weeks’ time, Elliott will be back to normal, but will no longer be a destructive force in our home. I know that our relationship will only improve, and that he will continue to live a happy, healthy, love-filled life with two owners who want nothing more than the best for their family.

    To those (not yourself, Lindsay) who say that proponents of declawing can’t possibly love their feline friends: get a grip. I love Elliott more than you could possibly imagine, as I am sure many others who have elected declawing do their furry companions. Perhaps opponents should focus their efforts on educating people on the pros and cons of the procedure, and on advocating for the most humane forms of the procedure and post-op pain care (because as long as the procedure is legal, some vet will perform it), and then allow people to make an informed choice that is best for them, rather than crticize and judge without exception.

    Again, thank you for your post. It provides a great forum for people to discuss the matter in a rational way.


    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2012

      Thank YOU for your thoughtful comment. Your cat is very lucky to have you!

  18. Marykay on February 7, 2013

    To all of you who think declawing is cruel…allowing your cats to run wild, is cruel. They can be shot, hit by cars, pick up diseases, dinner for a predator, target for some creepy kid to shoot at. So, stop being so judgmental, towards someone who is trying to keep her pets inside in a safe environment. I adopted a cat that was declawed on all 4 paws. She was the most precious thing, I have ever owned. She climbed as if she had claws. I played with her daily.
    I want to adopt another cat, but I had cancer, and I cannot take the chance of getting clawed, by the cat. Believe me, she will be spoiled, loved, and have more attention, than some cat, that is outside, roaming the streets, with their claws. A lot of people hate cats…and when they are out roaming free…they are easy targets for jerks. And, their claws are not gonna save them. So, even if you have claws on your cats, KEEP them Indoors where they will be SAFE!

  19. Phoenix on February 7, 2013

    I”m DEFINITELY not going to touch John’s ignorant comment because it will blow into an argument.

    Anyway, I want to share that I own three fat, lazy bum cats who are all a part of my family and well-loved. All three have been declawed. Two were done a few years ago and the third just recently.

    I, too, tried everything and couldn’t get the destruction under control. I used the surgery as a last result. After reading all of the bad rap on declawing I was worried sick but the entrance of some super expensive furniture urged me onward. My last couch was so shredded it had holes torn in the back of it and the cats used it as a play gym. No matter how much I sprayed them with water they would do it when I wasn’t home or at night when I was asleep. Confining them was all I could do to combat it and I didn’t like doing it, they hated being stuck in one room.

    Each time, the surgery went well. Nothing terrible happened and the cats still act as they did before. They were groggy and out of it when they came home but they did the same thing when they were neutered.

    With the proper pain medicine ( many vets WON’T give it unless you ask. I would ask, as any remotely invasive surgery should require pain medications to ease the stress while healing ) they were utterly unaffected.

    Today they act like they have their claws and have had NO change in demeanor or personality. I would do it again if I got a fourth cat.

    By the way, my cats are INSIDE ONLY. If you let your cat outside it’s asking for trouble. Growing up, my family’s cats were always inside/outside cats. I learned very early how to deal with pet death, unfortunately. We lived in the city and people would hit them with cars. A kid on a bike even ran one of the cats over. At 16 I watched someone’s loose dogs chasing our neighbors orange tabby cat down the alley. When I got home from school I saw the dogs digging in our back yard. I got out of my car and ran over to shoo them off and where I thought a hole would be, was a cat…barely alive and obviously given up. The two labs ( where the heck were the owners!??! ) had finally caught that poor cat and I couldn’t even tell it was orange was matted with drool and dirt and almost dead.

    It had to be euthanized.

    These are just a few of the stories I’ve witnessed and they will stick with me forever.

    As for shelters declawing? If it came to euthanasia or a warm, safe home, how could you not declaw? Some don’t want their home slowly destroyed and I know people who choose not to have a cat at all because of it. If more were declawed then they’d be spoiled and happy in these people’s homes. More homes=less perfectly good, loving, affectionate cats being put to sleep.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 8, 2013

      Great discussion, Phoenix. Thank you! Your cats sound very happy!

  20. Benjamin on February 17, 2013

    Honestly, those who say that declawing is purely cosmetic have probably never had babies and kittens at the same time. We’ve got a 7-month-old baby boy, and we’re constantly concerned our cat is going to scratch and seriously hurt him. Babies love to pull fur, and you never know when he might do it when we’re not looking… Our baby HUMAN’S safety will always come before any of our cats – yet we love our cats, and want to give them a good loving home, and it’s for this reason we’re probably going to get our kitten declawed.
    Oh, and our older cat has been declawed since we got him when he was a kitten. He has been happy and healthy his whole life, is now almost 18, and though he’s reaching the end of his life for other reasons (probably diabetes), he’s never had any issues with the declawing he went through.

    • Benjamin on February 17, 2013

      I would like to add that our older cat is the most gentle, loving cat that we or any of our friends or family has ever met. We’re so grateful to be able to have given him a good happy life, because he’s given us so much joy!

      • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 18, 2013

        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I hope your older cat has many happy years ahead!

  21. Thnkr917 on July 20, 2013

    I’d like to chime in that my cat was declawed when she was fixed as a kitten. She never even licked her paws when she came home and has never even noticed she has no claws. She is confident and calm, not fearful. She has zero behavioral issues. She likes to knead and if she had never been declawed she would not be a spoiled princess of a lap cat now because she would claw my stomach, legs and chest up constantly. She has always been indoors and I love her enough to spend thousands of dollars on her for cancer that in the end is going to be fatal anyway, so don’t tell me I shouldn’t own a cat!
    It’s not about the furniture it’s about the humans getting clawed up. I don’t know if I will declaw my next pet but if I do, I won’t be feeling guilty about it.
    How many of these “no declaw” people had their sons circumcized in the name of religion or to fit in? Had their baby daughter’s ears pierced for looks or had their Doberman’s ears and tail docked for looks? got a tattoo or body piercing? It’s the same difference. In fact, doing those things is even worse because they serve no purpose accept cosmetics unlike declawing that’s about safety and comfort. .

  22. Crystal on December 21, 2015

    I realize this is an OLD post but I’m going to comment anyways. I am an avid animal lover, I always have been. I now have 3 cats (had four but my senior kitty passed away about a month ago, he was 12, I got him as a kitten)
    All of my cats have been declawed. I always had it done at the same time as their spay/neuter so that way they only underwent anesthetic/recovery once.
    Do I regret it? Nope not in the least, however I didn’t have it done to save the furniture etc. I am a severe diabetic, and cat scratches can cause a multitude of health issues.
    You are right, it’s a personal choice, those who do it do it because they love their pets regardless of what some of the naysayers will say. Mine have been declared but they are also some of the most pampered loved cats you will find. They sleep in our bed, one even under the covers at our feet, they get lots of love/attention. They are well fed, love their treats. Of course they are indoor only, and have zero interest in going outside so there’s no basis to the defense mechanism.
    I’m happy you were able to train your cats so you didn’t have to declaw, I just wanted to point out that it isn’t always a vanity/convenience thing….. Sometimes it’s medical, so those who feel the need to put down those who choose to have this done, needs to consider that they may not know all the reasons behind it.