by Dr. Laura Catena
Declawing is an extremely controversial and heated topic worldwide, yet the fact remains that it is a cruel and unnecessary procedure. Many people think declawing is simply a nail trim or removal of claws that have no real value or purpose to a cat.
To set the record straight, declawing is not a nail trim nor is it a minor, cosmetic procedure. Declawing involves removal of bone from each toe of a cat’s paw—it is a surgical amputation. This amputation results in a lifetime of pain, as well as behavioral changes.
It is normal—and healthy—for cats to scratch; it is beneficial and
necessary for them to extend their paws with ALL toe bones intact.
Intact claws help cats balance and walk properly.
My good friend and colleague, Lennart Nilsfors, a
leading veterinary cardiologist in Stockholm, Sweden, says “Declawing is
forbidden in Sweden under our Animal Welfare Laws. Veterinarians are subject to two years in prison if they perform this procedure. Veterinarians in Sweden are only permitted to declaw if it is for necessary medical reasons, like a tumor. It is also prohibited to have this procedure performed in another country and then bring your cat back to Sweden. In my opinion, declawing is completely unnecessary and a cruel procedure that handicaps the cat for life. It is easy for a cat owner to trim the claws and provide the cat with scratching poles to avoid furniture being scratched.”
In the United States, we are working hard to make this cruel and mutilating surgery illegal in every state (check out City the Kitty for declaw facts & resources). In the meantime, when cat owners approach me about declawing surgery, I always provide them with alternative options to pursue and I strongly advise against the surgery (full disclosure – I do not perform this surgery myself).
I know that it is very easy for my clients to simply find another veterinarian who will perform the declaw surgery, so I make sure to thoroughly educate people about declawing and why it is extremely harmful to cats. I provide them with safe and humane alternatives (environmental enrichment to prevent boredom; scratching posts of different materials and textures/ climbing towers; nail caps to place over the cat’s nail, and of course, regular nail trims).
One of the main reasons that I developed my compassionate handling gloves was to provide pet parents with an alternative to this inhumane declawing surgery. With this style of glove—having the first 3 fingertips exposed—it enables anxious and new pet parents to be able to properly and safely trim their cat’s nails.
Dr. Laura Catena is the Founder and creator of The ArmOR Hand Animal Handling Gloves. She is a graduate of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine and is a small animal veterinarian. ArmOR Hand is a compassionate glove, designed to allow for proper and safe restraint technique, without the use of force. The glove is used to safely handle animals, reduce injuries to humans, improve animal welfare, and advance the compassionate care of wildlife and pets.
Dr. Catena is the recipient of the 2021 Women of Influence Award. This award recognizes the accomplishments and successes of women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength and leadership, and who have made a notable impact to the pet care community.
The ArmOr Hand Animal Handling Gloves helping our precious wildlife!