We’ve all seen the graphic posters depicting a human hand with the fingertips cut off, relaying the message that this is what happens when a cat gets declawed. Is this true? Unfortunately, it is except it would be even more accurate if those posters showed a human foot, since we don’t walk on our hands. Declawing is a procedure that involves amputating a toe at the last joint (or knuckle). This procedure has been a social norm for years as a way to protect our furniture, curtains and skin from scratches. Most of us have not given much thought to what is actually happening to the cat, its just been something “you do”.

There is growing evidence that suggests declawed cats are more prone to behavioral problems (including litterbox issues) and chronic pain. A declawed cat cannot move normally which puts stress on muscles, tendons and joints and cannot use their toes as nature intended. There is no medical reason to declaw a cat.

Due to this mounting evidence, Southfork Animal Hospital has decided to no longer provide declawing as a service in our hospital. Patient care and comfort is always our top priority and continuing to declaw does not fit in that picture. Thankfully, there are many ways to have a happy cat and intact furniture without having your pet declawed.

Scratching post: cats can be trained to use these, it may take a little time and effort but it will be worth it!

Nail trims: shorter, blunt nails cause much less damage than long, pointed nails.

Nail caps: these fit over the nail to prevent scratches but still allow the cat to use their nails and walk normally.

We would love to help you find strategies to keep you, your cat, and your house happy!

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