Kind, easy, & effective solutions for peacefully living with cat claws & natural scratching. 
Cat claws should never have to lead to property damage, declawing, or relinquishment!

celebrate claws - cats do!


Our grassroots PAWS NEED CLAWS educational campaign originated in Cincinnati, OH in 2005 by a group of cat advocates who saw a dire need in our community for declaw education and awareness due to the high number of cat parents who were choosing declaw surgery without knowing or researching what the surgery really entails. We found that many of the vet offices in the Cincinnati area, nor the humane shelters or cat rescues, are providing education about cat claw care, scratching solutions, and the reality of declaw surgery to their clients and adopters.

We launched our campaign by mailing letters to many of the local veterinarian offices and cat rescues asking that they distribute the "Worried About Scratching?" brochure we created to cat parents considering declaw surgery.  In May 2006, an article about our awareness campaign appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer called "Scratching Away At A Cause" which received a great deal of positive feedback and requests for our brochure & educational materials. The article stated that "Local vets estimate that 60-95% of indoor cats are declawed" - a sad statistic truly indicative of a community needing education & enlightenment about how easy natural cat scratching can be managed and how beneficial claws & scratching are for our fellow felines, including those that are indoor only. Unfortunately, Greater Cincinnati is not the only place where declawing is rampant - it is estimated that as many as 25% (14 million) of cats in our entire country are declawed. Worldwide, the U.S & Canada lags greatly behind in humanity and compassion toward animals as declawing cats is already illegal or considered grossly inhumane in at least 35 countries because the act of disfiguring a healthy cat paw for convenience is viewed as an form of animal cruelty. And in all of these countries, there are homes with furniture, carpet, antiques, and indoor-only cats, as well as children, elderly, immuno-compromised people, and all of the other excuses to declaw, living there too!


National shelter surveys that are tracking owner relinquished pets reveal that 70-80% of cats that are relinquished with stated behavioral problems (urination and aggression issues) are declawed. This is important information since declawing is performed by veterinarians to supposedly make cats "better" pets and keep them in homes. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not acknowledge that declawed paws can lead to, or develop into, behavioral problems for a cat. To date, a large, long-term, variable controlled study to analyze this connection and track declawed cats has not yet been conducted. There is though a volume of anecdotal evidence to support the claim that declawing can increase the likelihood of a cat developing unnacceptable behavioral problems, mainly, using their teeth more and their litterbox less.

Unfortunately, because declawing has become a $3 billion a year industry for the United States veterinarians and is being casually sold & encouraged by some as routine cat care (there are also ethical vets who do not declaw cats), and even though "the AVMA believes it is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with complete education with regard to feline onychectomy.", it is absolutely necessary to go above & beyond just asking a vet office about this surgery because you may not get all the information needed to make an informed decision.
The feedback that we have received from our campaign is that cat parents WANT to do what is best for their cats. This website is dedicated to providing the necessary information for cat parents to know exactly what declaw surgery really entails, the short and long term risks and consequences of the surgery, and the many easy, humane, & compassionate alternatives that work for coexisting happily with cat claws and healthy scratching.

PAWS NEED CLAWS letter sent to Veterinarians & Cat Shelters 2005:

Dear Veterinarians and Animal Shelters of Greater Cincinnati,

Over the years we’ve heard from many cat owners who deeply regret choosing declaw surgery. They’ve told us they never would have taken this action if they had known the realities of the surgery beforehand, and that they learned too late that scratching is a trainable behavior.

Despite the common belief that declawing will make a better pet and keep a cat in a home, studies prove that declawing can lead to lifelong problems that are exacerbating pet over-population on the larger scale. National and individual shelter surveys report that 70% to 80% of cats surrendered by their owners because of behavioral problems (biting & litterbox issues) are declawed cats. These declawed cats become “unwanted,” taking space in the already overcrowded shelters, or losing their lives because of the difficulties they have after declawing.

We know that you care deeply about the health and well-being of the animals you work so diligently to help. As advocates and cat rescuers in Greater Cincinnati, we are inviting you to join us in an effort to better educate pet owners about the realities of declaw surgery. We know that veterinarians often encounter pressure from clients to perform this surgery. And shelters feel pressure to adopt to homes that are considering it because of the overwhelming number of cats needing homes. Educating people about the realities of declawing will decrease demand for this painful and potentially problematic surgery, and take some of the pressure off veterinarians and shelters.

Here’s what we are asking you to do, to help your human and animal clients:
1. Copy and distribute the enclosed brochure to cat adopters and to any cat-guardian clients who may be thinking about declawing. This will impose a “waiting period” while guardians learn more about the realities of the surgery and to try alternatives like trimming and training. Please consider including this brochure in your adoption kits, education tables, and exam rooms too. We can supply you with more black and white copies or we can send you the document via email so you can print color copies.
2. Join us in this important campaign! We are planning a variety of initiatives where your expertise and support can advance understanding of this issue. Let us know if you are interested in working with us to help make Greater Cincinnati one of the more enlightened regions on this important issue. You can contact us at

This is a non-profit campaign rooted in the belief we all share, which is that every life is precious.

THANK YOU for caring about the animals in our city!


"If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor."
Desmund Tutu