Declawing Cats

Declawing cats is cruel, inhumane and equal to severing all human fingers from the first knuckle below the fingernail.

On March 29, 2017, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association revised its previous position statement from 2011 on the declawing of cats to clearly oppose the procedure. The CVMA changed the position statement’s title to Partial Digital Amputation (Onychectomy or Declawing) of the Domestic Felid to better reflect the nature of the procedure, and explicitly states that it “opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing or onychectomy, of domestic cats.”

On May 8, 2018, the College of Veterinarians of BC announced it is banning the practice of declawing cats unless it is necessary as an appropriate medical therapy. You can read their new practice standard here.


Veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling, writes a brilliant article about declawing cats. This article can be found at

Dr. Schelling writes:
efore you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat's claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat's claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat's 'toes.'"

Other vets write:
Stoicism may be cats’ greatest enemy in the declaw debate. Nobody declaws dogs—in vet school we were told that it’s too painful. Dogs whine, scream and howl; their pain is easy to recognize. But cats are quiet, and they characteristically endure pain without complaint. It is axiomatic in science that lack of evidence does not equal evidence of lack. With cats, a lack of obvious signs of pain does not mean the cat isn’t feeling pain; it may even be feeling a great deal of pain, too much to express.

Cat declawing is cruelly used as a standard for animal testing pain medication as it is the most painful procedure to undergo, more than spay or neuter. It is equivocal to amputating the tips of all fingers and toes in a human.

1. “Cats, due to their stoic nature, are notorious for not expressing pain and suffering.” (Benson GJ, Wheaton LG, Thurmon JC, et al. Postoperative catecholamine response to onychectomy in isoflurane-anesthetized cats: effect of analgesics. Vet Surg. 1991;20(3):222-225.)

“…orthopedic procedures involving the fingers and toes of humans are associated with severe postoperative pain…” (Ibid.)

3. “Detection of pain in cats is a particular challenge, because signs of pain in cats are often subtle.” Cambridge AJ, Tobias KM, Newberry RC et al. Subjective and objective measurements of postoperative pain in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:685-690.

4. “Onychectomy is a painful procedure in cats…Unfortunately, cats typically receive analgesic medications for postoperative pain less often than do dogs.” (Romans CW, Gordon WJ, Robinson DA, et al. Effect of postoperative analgesic protocol on limb function following onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jul 1;227(1):89-93.

Declawing is considered to be one of the most painful procedures an animal can undergo; regardless of method used, it is much more painful than spaying or neutering. Position statement on declawing. (American Association of Feline Practitioners

Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM, at, Declawing and Science,writes:

The data suggests that the main reason cat owners declaw cats is to stop unwanted behaviour as to avoid relinquishment of their cat. In fact, data over a five year study, shows just the opposite: declawed cats are more likely to be relinquished than normal cats, so when relinquishments 'should' go down, it actually goes up. Unwanted behavior is a major factor in reliquishment of cats to shelters. House-soiling, aggression, and biting are the top 3 reasons why cats are surrendered; as noted, these are the very same problems that 1 in 3 declawed cats will develop after surgery.

Here's another story on how badly declawing can leave a cat. Thankfully, this guardian did not give up on her cat (that had been re homed 5 times since being declawed.)

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