Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Cat declawing, you have to be kitten me right now

Attention ladies and gentlemen, prepare for furbulence


Anyone who has watched the popular TV show “Game of Thrones” will know just how terrible bodily mutilation is. And that is exactly what cat declawing is, it is a form of mutilation and one that is forced upon our furry feline companions on a daily basis. Is this is a procedure that should be performed because of medical necessity, or whether an owner has the right? In my opinion no pet owner can take the moral high ground when the result of the procedure will end in suffering for their pet. “How could anyone in their right mind declaw a cat or a kitten? I could never imagine committing such an injustice” Ricky Gervais wrote in a statement, lending support to the debate. But don’t take Gervais’s opinion on the subject as fact, to make an informed decision about this issue you must understand the reasoning and science behind it.

There are several different techniques to remove a cats claws. But the general aim of declawing is to remove the third phalanx or bone from a cats digits (Rasmussen, 2014). To remove the claw, you must remove the bone from the bone grows from. Performing this requires a surgeon to use a tool similar to a guillotine to cut a straight line through the joint, which fits in between two pieces of bone in the cats paw (Eckstein, 2016). When this technique is performed the pad of the cat is cut in half too. This is like cutting the tip of your finger off. When the cat’s paw is cut it can’t walk comfortably for weeks after, and many cats put weight on.


It sounds painful, sure, but what are the pros and cons of this procedure?

The pros:

  • Cats cannot damage furniture through scratching
  • Cats cannot cause injury through clawing
  • A cats claws is a predatory aid
  • The claw may be damaged or it has a tumour

The cons:

  • Removing the claw through surgery is painful
  • Paresthesia and chronic pain after declawing
  • Development of undesirable behaviour
  • Physical, emotional and behavioural complications

The pros and cons sum up the reasoning behind why an owner may have their cat declawed. Does a bit of furniture damage and scratches necessitate the painful removal of a cats claws?

Conclusively this is a still a traumatising and painful experience for both owner and pet, and one that should not be undertaken lightly.

Eckstein, S (2016) Declawing cats: Positives, negatives, and aternatives. Available at: URL []

Poupore, J. (2016) Ricky Gervais – Actor, writer, director – Lends support to veterinarian- supported declaw ban in New York state. Available at : URL []

Rasmussen, L. (2014) To declaw or not to declaw? How to navigate the debate Inner Grove Heights, Minnesota



5 comments on “Cat declawing, you have to be kitten me right now

  1. dyl
    May 8, 2016

    Game of Thrones my favourite. I had a read of your study the pros and cons was interesting to learn about in your study. I like how you mentioned the down side or contradictory evidence to the techniques on removing claws research.

    I found the blog to be somewhat easy to read and precise and clear.This blog flows well.

    Well done. Im not Kitten.



  2. natashagigliotti
    May 8, 2016

    I can’t believe this is actually a thing that people could actually consider doing to something that is a part of the family. i have no pets however i have a fondness for anything furry and cute and cant imagine how this would effect their lives. it would be like cutting the fingernails off your child so that they cannot scratch their siblings in an altercation
    Cats use their claws as the first line of defense and if they ever do happen to venture off into the outside world they are so much more vulnerable to predators.
    why are people going to such extremes when simply cutting their nails (painlessly) or basic training can cut most bad behaviors out.

    Thankfully Australia has banned this cruelty.

    Thank you for a nice flowing, easy to read blog. i really like the punny title.. very well done!



  3. Jklyon
    May 8, 2016

    I think that the only reason for someone to remove any body part of any organism is for medical reasons. Only through necessity should we mutilate something that doesn’t have it’s own say in the matter, for example this declawing of cats. The excuse that it would stop damage to furniture just shows the selfishness of the human species and how we thing that we are so important that the only reason something should be done is if it benefits us regardless of the consequences to another. I believe that the vet should be able to decide whether or not they continue on the procedure depending on the circumstances to ensure that people cannot just mutilate their pets for their own reasons. I don’t think you’d find a single human alive willing to lose a limb because they punched a wall, so why do we subject that punishment to other beings. I think the true nature of this is to look at what we as humans think of the world around us and what we can do to fix that by teaching the younger generations to come.


  4. cohencraven
    May 8, 2016

    Unfortunately, this is a pretty major issue. It’s pretty common to hear “My cat’s being very destructive with his scratching everything, time to book him into the vet.”. Yet, we’re just as destructive. If a person gets in fights constantly, it’s not like we’re going to mutilate the person. It just doesn’t make sense. This occurs on a daily basis around the world, with cat’s being declawed for idiotic reasons. They’re just being selfish with putting their animals through pain just to make the owners life happier.

    The quote from the famous comedian Ricky Gervais that you quoted in your blog stood out for me, it is an injustice. Declawing shouldn’t be done for asinine reasons, it should only be done if it’s a medical necessity. Thankfully some countries, such as Australia, have already banned this travesty. The Australian Veterinary Association state’s that “Surgical Alteration to the natural state of an animal is acceptable only if it is for the necessary for the health and welfare of the animal concerned.”

    In America however, it isn’t banned, and according to surveys 95% of declawing surgeries are done to protect the furniture, and sadly it is unlikely to be banned there due to how much money veterinarians are making from declawing cats. I personally think that every country should have the ruling that Australia currently has.



  5. tjdunkle
    May 8, 2016

    I myself am a cat owner and am horrified that anyone would think of doing this. One of the things I love about my cat is how she will sit on my lap and kneed my legs with her claws because she loves all the attention she gets from me. I remember years ago now when my cat was a kitten she would scratch the furniture so we looked into ways of how to stop her. We found that providing her with toys and scratching posts reduced the amount she would scratch at the furniture and eventually with age she stopped. When cats are bored they become more inclined to be destructive so providing them with attention and playthings reduces the likelihood that they will ruin furniture. ( Now that my cat is older and beginning to become less agile I notice that she can always make jumps and sometimes to make distances, however her claws save her, I couldn’t imagine how a cat could survive without such a necessary body part.


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This entry was posted on May 8, 2016 by in Geelong - Friday 3pm.

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