Pet column

Domino, a declawed cat at Second Chance Humane Society, still has an outgoing and lovely demeanor. (Courtesy photo)

Take a look at your fingernails. Now imagine what it would take to permanently remove them. Ouch. Looks like you’d have to remove part of your finger right? Yep, that is what happens when you declaw a cat. Speaking from experience, it is awful. 

I am not sure how declawing is still even legally allowed in the U.S., in most developed countries it is recognized as totally inhumane and is prohibited. New York is the only state where declawing is banned, while various cities such as Denver are standing up and banning the practice as well.  

Here is why, declawing involves amputation of the last joint of your cat’s toes (you can’t remove the claws without removing part of our bones) and a painful recovery period, wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat. During surgery recuperation your cat still has to use its feet to walk, jump and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Have I changed your mind yet?

Additionally, there are many potential complications and negative implications to this surgery briefly summarized as chronic pain, lameness, joint stiffness and arthritis, as well as behavioral problems that can emerge later like litter box avoidance, biting (we feel pretty helpless without our claws) and being afraid, which can come across as aggression, to be around other household animals. 

Also, and rather importantly, our primary means of defense is removed with our claws, including our ability to climb to safety, making us sitting ducks and not carefree cats. Need more scientific evidence? Check out

Although you may know some felines that have undergone declawing and appear fine (recovery period is typically several weeks) keep in mind that we often try to hide our pain and discomfort as part of our survival instinct. Additionally, our claws help us maintain our balance and grace, and you are removing that with our claws.

Most animal humane agencies have issued clear statements against this procedure. Second Chance prohibits it on any pet they adopt out. 

There are many simple, pain-free and less-costly alternatives to declawing, number one being a good old’ scratching post. It is our natural instinct to scratch, it feels good to our muscles and joints and allows us to leave a bit of our scent to mark our “turf.” We feel emotionally and physically fulfilled through scratching (something else declawing takes from us).  

Get a nice scratching post that allows your cat to stretch her whole body, or one of those horizontal strong cardboard scratching devices, and your cat will opt for that over your furniture, particularly if you sprinkle them catnip. More alternatives to declawing can be found at


My name is Domino, like the game not the pizza franchise, and I am a gorgeous, homeless girl kitty with a luscious coat. I arrived here at Second Chance with my front paws declawed. I feel pretty helpless around other animals and therefore need a home as the only pet (indoor only as I can’t defend myself outside) where I can relax and take care of you. My outgoing and lovely demeanor will fill your heart enough that you won’t need other pets in the home anyway. Come meet me today!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties for 27 years. Call 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer or other services. View our shelter pets and services online at