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It’s OK to adopt a cat and get the cat declawed

I’ve been thinking about all the negative comments people shared on That Mutt’s Facebook page and on the blog when I wrote about declawing my cats.

I’m glad readers shared their opinions and that they care about the welfare of cats.

But I’m worried people missed my point.

If someone wants to adopt a cat and get that cat declawed, that is better than not adopting a cat at all.

When roughly 3 million cats are killed annually in U.S. shelters/pounds, you will not hear me go on a rampage against declawing.

I am worried that all the negativity around cat declawing is going to persuade potential adopters not to adopt a cat. The declawing issue could be too overwhelming for a potential cat owner, enough to convince her to forget about cat ownership entirely. That would be very unfortunate because cats can add a lot to a home, and there are millions of cats who could use just that.

The people who are most vocal against declawing are very uncaring about the way they deliver their message. There is a way to kindly explain to someone what cat declawing truly involves. It is not necessary or helpful to make immediate assumptions or judgments. The very animals we are defending know nothing about hate or fear or anger.

My former foster cat Ninja

Ninja the black and white catMy former foster cat Ninja was lucky to make it out of the pound alive. She was later adopted by my parents – two of the world’s biggest animal lovers. I knew they would make plans to have her declawed – a small price to pay for being alive and in a loving home.

People who foster cats have to make difficult decisions on who can adopt them. Sometimes it’s hard to let a cat go to a home where the people would not treat a cat the way you would treat a cat. But holding onto a cat for months waiting for an “ideal” home is just not realistic if the goal is to find homes for as many cats as possible.

The declawing thing is something I can live with. Declawing is a better option than not getting a home.

And as it turns out, my parents did not declaw Ninja after all!

Many landlords require cats to be declawed

If I were a landlord, I would have some pretty strict pet policies as well.

Although most people love their pets, they are careless when it comes to training them, cleaning up after them and preventing them from damaging property. Renters are generally more careless than homeowners. That’s just the way it is.

It’s easy to get around the rules and keep a cat without the landlord realizing it, but most people want to follow the rules. That means getting the cat declawed. I would hate to stop apartment dwellers from adopting cats just because they are afraid to have the cats declawed. Cats do very well living in apartment setting. Plus, they make great companions to the people who live there.

Will I declaw my cats?

I ordered some Soft Paws nail caps to put over my cats’ claws. I will let you know how this goes, so stay tuned for a review of this product.

If Josh and I do decide to declaw our cats, I know it will upset a lot of readers. I’ve already had several people accuse me of caring more about my couch than I do my pets.

But it’s not about choosing my couch over my cats. It’s about choosing what’s best for me and what I can live with.

My cats are here to add to my life, not make it more stressful.

Dogs and cats have a great ability to adapt to whatever life we give them. Adaptability is their gift to us. In return, we do our best to give them a good and humane life.

I value the relationship I have with Beamer and Scout. Getting them declawed would not change that. They would continue to love me just as they do now. They are animals, and they would not hold it against me.

Currently my cats are spending 15 to 20 hours per weekday in my laundry room when I am not able to supervise. So much confinement does not seem like much of a life for them, although they don’t seem to mind. Let’s remember that we are talking about cats here, not humans. Cats ask for very little.

But if my cats were able to understand the decision between 100 percent freedom without their claws or a lot less freedom with their claws, I tend to think they would choose more freedom.

I could stop worrying about a few scratches on the couch, but the thing is I really like having a nice couch. I am at a point in my life where I value the items I choose to own. This kind of value is new to me, and I see it as a good thing.

I used to look down on people who spend a lot of money on clothes, vehicles, furniture and so on. I am a very modest person and a minimalist, but I no longer look down on anyone for how she chooses to spend or save or give her money. To each her own.

As an example, I have very few clothes compared to most Americans. I have, literally, four pairs of shoes. Two are running shoes. One is a casual pair of Sketchers and one is a pair of “fancier” boots. And my definition of fancy is probably pretty loose.

I have two pairs of jeans. Total. One with holes. One without.

It’s not that I can’t buy new clothes. I can, and I do. I just prefer to own less. I don’t like clutter. I am very conscious of what I own and what I do or don’t hold onto.

So here I am in this crazy world of pets where people are accusing me of caring more about my material objects than I care about my cats.


Thanksgiving night I held Scout in my arms as I fell asleep. He likes to curl up against my chest as close as possible to my heart. I have this little song I sometimes sing to him (I’ll spare you the lyrics), and he purrs and purrs and puts his face to mine.

Several times per day I kiss each of my cats right between the eyes as I tell them I love them. They are not thrilled with this, but they tolerate it.

For my own birthday one year, I leashed up Scout and took him on a picnic – just he and I. I ordered Chinese takeout and we sat at a picnic table in a park.

One time Scout traveled to Duluth (Minn.) with me for a job interview. I ordered room service at the hotel – salmon – just so he could share.

My cats get Christmas presents from their “grandparents” and their “uncles.” They take part in birthdays and holiday gift openings and family gatherings.

Just a few days ago I was searching online for organic cat beds. I liked the one in solid red for Beamer, the polka-dot pattern for Scout.

If I am not a borderline crazy cat lady or at least someone who loves and values her cats, then I am not sure what it means to love a pet.

My cats are, in every way, a part of my family.

Beamer the tan tabby cat sitting in a box

Photo of Beamer by Tawna Whitford

Gray tabby cat Scout with white markings on his chest

Photo of Scout by Tawna Whitford

Mike Johnson

Friday 14th of July 2023

Ok, so declaring is basically like you being in foster care, then a family adopts you and cuts off your fingers. Your an ass!

Elaine Saunders

Thursday 4th of July 2019

I'm so glad I came across your blog. I have only had declawed cats - 2 I had declawed and 3 already declawed. My last cat died at 8 yrs of age in December and I am really missing her. I want to adopt one or two, but am having trouble finding an already declawed cat closer than two hours away. Declawing has now been banned in Los Angeles county. I agree that I have never seen any personality change. I am having chairs reupholstered because I had a cat who drooled and stained the fabric so I don't want to take a chance on a cat with claws. I have always felt that it is better for a cat to lose its front claws than its life...


Saturday 7th of March 2020

Wendy I am in the same situation as you. Did you end up declawing your cat? If you did, did you get in trouble?

Wendy Turner

Sunday 20th of August 2017

Has anyone had experience with signing an cat adoption contract where it says you can't declaw? I don't see how they can enforce that and how they would ever find out. I am going to try not to declaw cat, but my others are so I don't know how I can have one with claws. I had never had an issue with declawing a cat. They are all very lovable and their personalities have not changed. I started doing this when one of my cats scratched another cat the eye almost causing him to loose the eye. I guess my concern is if I do end up declawing the cat and they find out, what then? I could just return him and try another shelter. Other cats I have adopted the contract only says you can't declaw back or doesn't even mention it.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 7th of January 2014

I am not very familiar with this health problem so thank you for writing this. I can tell your cats are very loved. Glad to hear you are keeping the stray.


Tuesday 7th of January 2014

One day, my dad surprised my mom with a cat. He is a sweetheart, but loves to scratch everything including us. We love him anyway. One day, I wake up and my neck is hurting me like I have a sore throat, but it didn't go away. After a few weeks, I went to the doctor and had her examine me. Apparently, my lymph nodes were swollen. It became months - and more and more lymph nodes started to appear. A year later, every lymph node from my skull down to both clavicles were 'active'. My doctors had no idea what was going on but the fact that they were growing in number and spreading made them believe I had cancerous lymphoma. I underwent 4 CAT scans and a PET scan to determine that, thank God, I was cancer free. It took anther 6 months to figure out I had 'cat scratch disease' and that the scratches caused my lymph nodes to react to the bacteria.

I moved away from my parents home and like magic - my lymph nodes disappeared. I adopted myself an already declawed little kitty from the animal shelter and lived like a rock star without the pain of a swollen neck.

I know, this is a long story - but a stray cat showed up on my patio last week and I decided to adopt her to keep her out of the freezing cold temperatures. She had claws... It only took one scratch for my lymph nodes to react again after years! The new kitty is getting declawed as we speak -- and no, I don't regret it for a moment.

I just spent the last 2 days being lectured by my cat-loving friends... I'm not a cruel person, nor an animal hater, nor want to torture my new cat. I love the new cat and want to be happy together without getting sick.

I wish people would be more open minded, like you. Sometimes, we actually have a great reason for it.