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Before You Declaw

Black cat imageBefore you declaw, please research the procedure and potential effects on your cat’s health and behavior. IndyHumane receives questions every week regarding behavior problems in declawed cats. We educate potential adopters about the effects of declawing, but we’ve still encountered cats who were adopted from our shelter, declawed by the owner, and then returned due to behavior issues. Sadly, cats who were adopted from our shelter who were then declawed have even passed away as a complication from being declawed.

Please use IndyHumane as a resource! There are inexpensive alternatives to declawing, and we are more than happy to help you protect your cat’s paws and protect your furniture! IndyHumane’s Feline Behavior team is available for FREE consultations regarding cat scratching behavior and how to safely trim your cat’s nails. We also offer inexpensive cat care supplies such as scratchers, catnip, cat toys, and grooming tools at our Re-Tail shop.

Cats use their claws to stretch, communicate, and mark territory. Declawing typically involves metal bone cutters amputating part of the cat’s toes. This brutal method crushes nerve endings, leaving your cat at risk for life-long pain. Other side effects may include infection, lameness, and chronic sensitivity. By nature, cats are masters at hiding their pain; their silence is a survival instinct.

A declawed cat may not yowl and writhe in pain; rather discomfort often manifests behaviorally. Potential consequences include change in personality, stress grooming, and litter box issues. Declawed cats are notorious for having litter box issues. IndyHumane receives multiple calls a week from people wanting to surrender declawed cats due to not using the litter box consistently. We often take in these cats and work to manage their pain, but, unfortunately, these cats often take longer to find their forever home, as potential adopters may be discouraged by the need for long-term pain medication, alternative litter, or the potential for issues in their home.

If you think a declawed cat would be best for your home due to health or safety reasons, we encourage you to adopt a cat who was declawed in their previous life! Our team can chat with you about any considerations that these cats might need.

If you are considering declawing your cat, don’t: please reach out to our team for alternatives. Our goal is to keep clawed kitties happy, healthy, and in their homes!