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!


" (onychectomyIS TEN SEPARATE, PAINFUL AMPUTATIONS OF THE LAST DIGIT OF A CATS FINGER including bone (third phalanx)
, dorsal ligaments, flexor tendons, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, claw, and fur as this picture and diagram from the Textbook of Small Animal Surgery reveal. Because claws grow directly out of claw forming bone, "declaw" surgery has to irreversibly carve out and sever, by either a scalpel, nail trimmer, or burned off with a CO2 laser light, the third or distal phalanx to keep the claw from growing back. It's literally "de-fingering", "dis-jointing" and "dis-membering" the last digit of a cat's finger including the outmost joint bone. Pictures taken of an actual declaw surgery can be seen HERE on the website. For more information and details read


(Even if there were no risks & consequences to surgery, a declawed cat has to walk, run, groom, play, and scrape the bottom of his litterbox everyday for the rest of his life with fingers missing their entire last joint/digit and are forever deprived of their first line of self defense & sense of security, plus the physical & emotional satisfaction of digging their claws into a nice, tall, juicy sisal scratching post and enjoying rugged, claw hold resistance scratching, stretching, & stress reducing exercise.)

*"...not all veterinarians are aware of the pain & lifelong damage that are ramifications of the procedure. Statistically, she said, 50% of cats will come out of the operation with immediate complications for 2 - 3 weeks, and 20% will have complications for the rest of their lives. 1/3 of cats that are declawed will resort to biting or not using the litterbox." Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM, "Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Declawing", Amy Lyons, Beverly Press, Vol 17, No. 42, Oct 18, 2007

" According to owners, 80% of cats had at least one medical complication following surgery; 55% took >3 and up to 14 days to recover. Yeon SC, Flanders JA, Scarlett JM, et al. Attitudes of owners regarding tendonectomy and onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43-47."

According to this 2005 article from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, Dr. Gaynor, DVM states "It is becoming more and more apparent that the number of feline patients who have declaw procedures performed have subsequent chronic pain issues...within days to months to years...". 

 In "Declaw Details" by Dr. Brenda McClelland, DVM (Cat Fancy Magazine Jan 2006) it states that "Veterinarians acknowledge that declaws are very painful for cats, but a recent study showed that the pain lasts longer than originally thought. Cats declawed on one paw that appeared to walk normally were put on a gait-analysis machine. Results showed that none of the cats fully used the declawed leg 12 days after surgery."

Cats are notorious for hiding pain; they hide their pain & suffering by nature from their days in the wild when being sick or injured put them at grave risk of becoming prey to other animals. Many declawed cats silently suffer adverse effects, sometimes unnoticed by their caretakers, because the consequences can range from obvious to subtle and some may take many years to surface. And as the above mentioned article states, some declawed cats appear to look normal when they really are not.

"We may not know when some cats are suffering because of their stoic nature, and the fact that some cats in great discomfort may actually purr and seem to be half-asleep. Such self-comforting, so-called displacement behaviors are indicators of stress. Cats may learn to cope with the chronic pain of onychectomy, but the absence of overt pain does not mean they are pain-free." Dr. Michael W. Fox, D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Vet.Med., M.R.C.V.S.
"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. Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM

 "While the pain is obvious in large cats (tigers) because of their size, small cats will go to great lengths to conceal their discomfort", veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Conrad, The Paw Project,

" veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure (declawing) serves as a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs", Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, "The Cat Who Cried For Help", Bantam Books, 1997

*"Declawing's an operation that actually entails removing part of the toe or finger at the first joint. Afterward, many cats suffer chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder...", ASK DR. MICHAEL FOX, DVM, 10/22/2006     

*BLEEDING or HEMORRHAGE For every bone and piece of skin that is cut during declaw surgery, there is a wound site & oppurtunity for bleeding and hemorrage.

Read about these nightmare declawings: "His routine de-clawing turned into a nightmare when his vet removed the stitches, Connelly reported. "The cat was squirting blood," Heise said. She watched in horror as the vet yanked out her cat's stitches. "Without gloves -- without washing his hands -- without any instruments, he took and he ripped the cat's sutures out with his fingernails...The second veterinarian saved Samson's paws and possibly his life.  According to Heise, "it was a bad situation.  The infection had spread into his blood and into his soft tissue." 

"An investigator found that "on Sept. 30, 2005, you performed a declaw and neu-ter on Monkey.' Monkey was released with bleeding front paws. There were large areas of tissue missing and the pads were either cut or missing.

"A friend had her indoor cat declawed even though she was reluctant to do so. It was a terrible experience for both the cat and the family. The poor cat bled profusely, made bloody footprints on the floor, slinging blood onto the wall. Now her paws are infected and the vet is keeping her"  

*INFECTION For every bone and piece of skin that is cut during declaw surgery, there is a wound site & oppurtunity for infection to set in. The infection can start in one finger and spread throughout the paws and can lead to amputation of the entire toe, paw, or limb.

Read STELLA's Story ^..^ who had both of her rear paws amputated after infection from declaw surgery and TAZZY's Story ^..^ who DIED from infection after laser declaw surgery.

"Post-surgical complications include abscess formation, chronic infection (aggravated by cat litter) and chronic or intermittent lameness."
Dr. Michael W. Fox, D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Vet.Med., M.R.C.V.S.

*PAW SWELLING, LIMPING, LAMENESS, or IMPROPER GAIT after surgery from paw pain, paw tingling, numbness, sensitivity, nerve pain, radial nerve damage, scar tissue, or phantom pain (the kind that amputee victims experience).

"I recently had my three kittens declawed. One them...has damage to the radial nerve. I have been told by another vet that the damage may never reverse. My vet never advised me of the posible complications. I have already spent thousnds of dollars, expect to spend alot more...It is sooooo sad to see her drag her leg..."

 inside the paw (not seen by the visible eye) if the vet didn't sever enough of the claw forming bone off during surgery, like this (the cat walked for 10 years with a claw growing under her skin, a true testiment that cats hide pain: REGROWN CLAWS. Or regrowth of claw that can be seen if it breaks through the paw skin, like this: ABNORMAL REGROWTH. This can happen 7, 8, 10 years after the declaw surgery.

: Research has shown that, in the immediate post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pads of the feet, and off the sore toes. This effect was significant even when strong pain medication was given, and remained apparent for the duration of the study (up to 40 hours after the surgery). If this altered gait persists over time, it would cause stress on the leg joints and spine, and would lead to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints."Declawing: A Rational Look, Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM  

"De-clawed cats tend to walk abnormally back on their heels rather than on their entire pads because of the chronic pain at the end of their severed fingers and toes. They often develop chronic arthritis and as the front toe pads shrink, chronic bone infections are common....The tendons that control the toe joints retract after surgery. These  joints essentially becoming “frozen.”  The toes remain fully contracted for the life of the cat. In order to keep weight off the tender amputated toes, cats shift their weight backward, the altered gait stressing the limbs and spine, which could lead to arthritis later in life." Dr. Michael Fox,

*INABILITY TO DEFEND THEMSELVES without their primary means of defense against other animals and predators, their claws,
*INABILITY TO GRASP toys or wands without claws, plus frustration from inability to climb, scratch & stretch without obtaining a secure claw-hold,

 of jumping up or jumping down because of pain when landing or inability to get solid grounding. Some declawed cats will still jump but will shake its paws or limp when it lands.

*POSTURE DIFFERENCES, Declawed cats sit back on their wrists instead of their whole paw, or older declawed cats develop painful arthritis from walking on incomplete paws for years (x-rays can confirm this) & develop "chronic back and joint pain as shoulder, leg and back muscles weaken."

*ATROPIED and ULCERATED PAW PADS : Cats are DIGITIGRADE animals, they walk on all of their digits including their claws. Paw pads are for cushioning, they should be oval and supple but can harden, & become round or misshaped/shriveled & irritated after declaw surgery. Atrophied paw pads make it painful for cats to use crystal type cat litter. The P2 bones (the middle bone of the three in a finger) may also perforate the skin above the paw pad after the last bone is removed in surgery.

*PERSONALITY CHANGE after declaw surgery including increased aggression resulting in biting & using their teeth more since their first line of defense is now gone. Plus insecurity, shyness, nervousness, stress, withdrawn, depression, and/or frustration from the trauma of the surgery and/or living without their main means of security. Because declawed cats cannot exercise in the manner a cat should (claw-hold scratching and stretching) their body may ache from atropied muscles and therefore may bite when handled due to body sensitivity. 1000's of cat guardians have reported DECLAW HORROR STORIES and more DECLAW HORROR STORIES where kitty suffered physical, emotional, and behavioral problems after declaw surgery.

*LITTER BOX PROBLEMS. A declawed cat may only want to use a smooth, soft surface to urinate (like the floor or carpet) if their declawed paws are too tender, sore, injured, uncomfortable, or deformed to rake litter. They may associate the pain they feel with using the litterbox, therefore creating a life-long aversion to litter or litterboxes. These litterbox problems can occur years down the line from phantom paw pain, ingrown claws, infection, nerve pain, arthritis, or atrophied pads. Declawed cats that can't mark with their claws, may even mark by spraying their urine instead. Read GOOD CATS WEAR BLACK by Annie Bruce, author of CAT BE GOOD and retired cat consultant, for more information about declawed paws being the #1 cause of litterbox problems for cats, and consider these statistics about declawing & litterbox problems:

                       *In a study published in the January, 2001 JAVMA, 33% of 39 (1 in 3) cats that underwent onychectomy developed "at least" one behavior problem
                          immediately after surgery
, with the most common problems being litter box problems and biting

   *"Dr. Harrison gets 3-12 calls a day about litter box problems in cats and, after ruling out medical problems, 90 percent of the cats with litter box aversion are declawed cats. “Declawing: Behavior Modification or Destructive Surgery”, Animal Issues, 1998

*Published 2/1/03 on, "Eighty percent (80%) of the cats that are surrendered that are declawed are euthanized because they have a behavioral problem…. Declawed cats frequently become biters and also stop using litter boxes… One or the other…,” said William Lombardi shelter director, Gloucester County, New Jersey. 

 *"Seventy percent (70%) of cats turned in to pounds and shelters for behavioral problems are declawed." (National Survey from pounds & shelters obtained by Caddo Parrish Forgotten Felines Friends)

"Among 218 cats relinquished to a shelter, more (52.4%) declawed cats than non-declawed cats (29.1%) were reported by owners to have inappropriate elimination problems." Source: World Small Animal Veterinary Association, 2001 

****READ MORE about declawed paws & behavioral problems

*“Chronic physical ailments such as cystitis or skin disorders can be manifestations of a declawed cat’s frustration and stress.” "Is Declawing Cruel?" David E. Hartnett, DVM,

*Chronic urinary tract infections
(UTI's) whose source of infection comes from infected paws or from "the accumulated stress buildup from lack of scratching may also be a contributing factor, as stress is implicated in half of all urinary tract problems". "Why Cats Need Claws",

*"Asthma and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) have also been linked to the stress of declaws..." "Declaw Details", Dr. Brenda McClelland, DVM, Cat Fancy Magazine Jan 2006.

*Declawing is a medically unnecessary surgery that has absolutely NO medical benefit to the cat, unlike spaying and neutering that reduces the instances of tumors & infections in the mammary glands, ovaries, uterus, prostrate, and testicles in cats.

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! As of December 2009, declawing is ILLEGAL (punishable by a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail) in 8 California cites - - West Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Culver City, and Burbank!


Laser surgery is being marketed as the "better" or more "humane" way to declaw a cat, but it is not without complications & consequences and the end result is still the same - amputation of healthy cat toes - done by burning, which can result in fourth-degree burns in the bone as seen in this picture.

"Declawing, when performed by laser, is still the amputation of the last toe bone of the cat and carries with it the same long-term risks of lameness and behavioral problems as does declawing with scalpels or clippers. Studies have failed to show that laser declawing is less painful for the cat in the post-operative period." Humane Society Veterinary Medical Assoc Cosmetic & Convenience Surgeries Position Statements

"I had Roscoe and Jaspurr laser declawed about two months ago and it has been nothing but pain and suffering for them. I chose to do it with the laser because the vet said 'it was less bleeding, less painful, and less swelling.' What she did not tell me is about all the complications that go along with the surgery." Lisa Violet's Declaw Horror Stories

"Complications (bleeding, limping, swelling, infection) were generally worse in the laser onychectomy group in the first 2 days after surgery but were equivalent thereafter." My Vet Said Laser Was Better, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM, The Paw Project

"...she jerked her body, meowed at me twice while looking into my eyes and then she died. Laser Surgery was not better...the decision to get her declawed is the worst decision I have never made, it took a life, my Tazzy's life. I will not be able to get past this, what I have done, the torture my baby went through. Cat Dies from Infection After Laser Declaw Surgery

"No matter how the claws are removed, a cat without claws is missing part of his toes and has to go through life without being able to perform one of the most enjoyable and beneficial parts of being a cat: scratching - with claws. The whole basis of scratching; the aspect that provides the refreshing workout and exercise, is pulling against the resistance of dug-in claws". Gary Lowenthal, author of "Why Cats Need Claws" from Is Laser Declaw Better?


Declawing is absolutely NOT a necessary or effective reason or prevention for "cat scratch fever", medically known as B henselae infection. According to this information from a veterinary journal, FLEA CONTROL for the cat and HAND WASHING for the human are the most effective preventions for cat scratch fever, NOT DECLAWING! 

"Performance of onychectomy (declawing) in cats has also been suggested, but this procedure has a limited value because infection can be transmitted from cat to cat by fleas. Therefore, flea control appears to be one of the major control measures to prevent infection of cats with B henselae, its spread from cat to cat, and potentially the spread from cats to humans. The most effective means of preventing B henselae infection (also know as "cat scratch disease") are commonsense precautions, hygiene, and possibly modification of behavior of the cat owners themselves. For example, it is recommended that cat owners wash their hands after handling pets and clean any cuts, bites, or scratches promptly with soap and water."
(Chomel BB, Boulouis HJ, Breitschwerdt EB. Cat scratch disease and other zoonotic Bartonella infections. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004: 224:1270-1279.)

Also, from the San Francisco SPCA Cat Behavior Department, "....A declawed cat often acts very defensive in new situations, presumably because she has an awareness that her defenses are weakened. When threatened, some resort to biting, which can be more dangerous - more dangerous than getting scratched. In one study (Department of Emergency Medicine, Darnall Army Community Hospital, Fort Hood, 76544-5063; PMID: 1823783)
it was found that 15.6% of cat bites wounds became infected, whereas no cat scratches led to infection."
"The Paws And The Claws, Training your cat to scratch, how to trim their nails, and the truth about declawing" 


"...the ethics of performing (declawing) as a routine practice to the extent that almost a quarter of the cat population in the United States (14 million) is declawed...surely needs to be examined. This is especially pertinent considering the evidence of the painful nature of this procedure and associated postoperative complications of chronic pain, infection, and suffering. Surely the justifications for performing (declawing) trivialize concern for cats’ welfare and psychologic well-being. Part of being a cat is to have claws. Out of respect for the nature of cats and their basic behavioral requirements in the confined domestic environment, caring and responsible cat owners effectively train their cats to use scratch-posts, scratchboards, and carpeted “condos” rather than resort to routine declawing, which amounts to a mutilation for convenience. As a profession, are (veterinarians) not giving a mixed message to the public in advocating companion animal health and welfare on the one hand and not abandoning such practices that are considered unethical by veterinarians and their clients in many other countries?" Journal of the American Veterinary Association 2/15/2006

First Principle of Veterinary Medical Ethics: “Veterinarians should first consider the needs of the patient: to relieve disease, suffering, or disability while minimizing pain or fear.”

April 2007

Those purportedly caring veterinary experts who find themselves in the position of endorsing the de-clawing of cats must give the ethical reasons for de-clawing and not succumb to alleged emotional blackmail that people will get rid of their cats if they are not de-clawed. They should probably be advised against having cats in the first place. No statistics are needed to prove de-clawing causes suffering and is an unethical, money-making mutilation pandering to owner ignorance and convenience.
Cats in multi-cat homes do fine not de-clawed. Single cats, bored all day, often poorly socialized, with no suitable scratch post, training to use same, and rarely provided appropriate wild-play and social stimulation, develop many behavioral problems. With proper care and understanding---client education---most of these problems could have been prevented. But instead, because of a lack of proper counseling, or clients' refusal to accept what cats do and need, the final solution is either de-clawing or euthanasia. Inappropriate de-clawing that could have been avoided by proper feline behavioral counseling and understanding is all too common. Worse is the routine de-cawing of young cats usually at the same time they are being spayed/castrated. Veterinarians doing this a pandering service argue that de-clawing stops problems from developing later in life. That is absurd, and a false assumption that cats are likely to become a problem if their claws are not removed early in life.
The veterinary sector that condones feline de-clawing---that the Federal government has made illegal for big cats---is that sector that is admitting not defeat before clients' demands, but a profound ignorance of applied feline behavior and psychology, and of veterinary bioethics As I have emphasized in many of my writings, there can be no firm foundation for veterinary bioethics, and thus no clear ethical decision making, when there is not a deep appreciation for the nature of animals that is science-based.
Ethics and ethology go hand in hand, and ethology affirms that part of the nature of being a cat is to have claws. It is therefore unethical to de-claw cats as an owner-convenience because it means the permanently elimination of an essential aspect of a cat's form, function, and ethos/behavior.
In the U.K., where de-clawing is not done, the British Veterinary Association’s Animal Welfare Foundation is promoting what they call ‘the duty of care’ since they equate progress in animal welfare with public recognition of what makes animals happy and contribute to their quality of life. This includes provision for animals’ basic freedom to express normal behaviors. From this perspective, de-clawing is an abdication of this duty of care since the cat’s quality of life is diminished by no longer being able to express those natural behaviors associated with being a normal cat with claws".
Michael W. Fox B.Vet.Med., Ph.D., D.Sc., M.R.C.V.S.

"I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man"
M. Gandhi

 ROBBING DIGITS FROM DIGITIGRADES  Many uninformed veterinarians and cat parents claim cats don't need the last digit of their fingers and toes for walking - - but this is not true. As digitigrades, cats walk on their "tippy-toes", like ballet dancers, so they need and use ALL of their digits for walking naturally, including the ones that are severed off and thrown in the garbage after declawing. Imagine the pain and damage the entire skeletal and muscular systems suffer from a cat being forced to walk unnaturally without their last digits!

Look at the top declawed fingers in this picture - - notice the paw pads underneath are dark, rough, irritated, misshaped & shrunken, unlike the paw pads in the clawed rear fingers which are pink, plump, healthy, and oval - - they way they should be! Paw pads are for cushioning, not walking! This declawed cat suffers from painful arthritis (was relinquished to a shelter due to stress & litterbox issues). He sits back on his wrists because putting his full weight on his declawed hands is uncomfortable (he repositions himself often) and has taught himself to land on his hind legs when jumping off counters to avoid the pain of landing on his front "stubs", fingers that have been robbed forever of their essential distal phalanx. Although he still makes scratching motions, it appears to be more of a way to rub and soothe his severed joints. He licks and bites at them after trying to scratch, to the point of bleeding.

Dr. Jean Hofve, decribes the joint stiffness that declawing causes in her "Declawing: A Rational Look" article as, "...In declawed (and tendonectomized) cats, the tendons that control the toe joints retract after surgery, and these joints become essentially "frozen." The toes remain fully contracted for the life of the cat. In cats who were declawed many years ago, the toe joints are often so arthritic that they cannot be moved, even under deep anesthesia. The fact that most cats continue to make scratching motions after they are declawed is often said to "prove" that they do not "miss" their claws. However, this behavior is equally well--and more realistically--explained as desperate but ineffective efforts to stretch those stiff toes, legs, shoulders and backs."


"A digitigrade is an animal that stands or walks on its digits, or toes. Digitigrades include walking birds (what many assume to be bird knees are actually ankles), cats, dogs, and most other mammals, but not humans, bears, and a few others (cf. plantigrade, unguligrade). They are generally quicker and move more quietly than other mammals".

"Digitigrade locomotion is the sort of walking cats, dogs, and most other mammals engage in, excepting humans, bears, and a few others. While humans usually walk with the soles of their feet on the ground (plantigrade locomotion), digitigrade animals walk on the tips of their toes, or, in more precise terms, their distal phalanges and middle phalanges. Digitigrade locomotion is responsible for the distictive hook shape of dog legs, for there are anatomical differences between a plantigrade and digitigrade limb. Digitigrade animals have relatively long
carpals and tarsals, and the bones which would correspond to the human ankle are thus set much higher in the limb than in a human. This effectively lengthens the foot, so much so that a digitigrade animal's "hands" and "feet" are often thought to correspond only to what would be the bones of the human toe or finger. Because so little surface area needs to get off the ground, and also because of the added length of the foot, digitigrade locomotion tends to be swift.
Some furries claim that walking on tip-toe, the human version of digitigrade locomotion, feels more natural to them than resting their whole foot on the ground."

"Unlike most mammals who walk on the soles of the paws or feet, cats are digitigrade, which means they walk on their toes. Their back, shoulder, paw and leg joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves are naturally designed to support and distribute the cat's weight across its toes as it walks, runs and climbs."