Declawing is a widespread practice within the United States, sometimes even recommended by veterinarians. Animal loving people with their pet’s best interest at heart will unknowingly allow their cat to suffer through this painful procedure. Declawing is not just removing a cats’ claws; it is an amputation of their toes’ first digit. Declawing involves cutting through skin, nerves, bones, and tendons. Doing so can compromise the proper movement of the paw. Cats naturally walk on their tiptoes; when you declaw them, it makes them walk flat-footed. Declawing can be a crippling procedure causing arthritis, infection, behavioral complications, and lameness as the cat ages.
Declawing is also common by big cat “private collectors.” These are people who are trying to make a household pet out of a wild animal. We have many animals that live at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge who unfortunately were declawed by their previous owners. Some of them have also suffer from “botched” declawing, meaning fragments of their claw continue to grow, causing pain and requiring surgery to fix the issue.
A cat’s claws serve so many different purposes. Not only do they need them for protection, but they also use them to stretch their muscles. If you have ever seen a cat stretch you may notice that they sink their claws into an item they can get a grip on, so they can get a good stretch. If you take their claws away, they cannot properly stretch their muscles.
Big cats need their claws to be able to grip their food! When a big cat such as a lion or a tiger eats their food, they will use their claws to hold it in place. Without their claws they struggle to do something as simple as eat their food.
There are countless reasons to not declaw a cat, whether big or small. It is a painful, barbaric procedure that no animal should ever have to go through, and it will affect them for the rest of their lives. Please help us save some paws, by letting cats keep their claws!