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Stop Declawing Your Furry Friends. Now. 

Declawing an animal might seem minor enough, but in reality, declawing is a huge procedure that can change your entire pet’s life. I know that sounds dramatic, but really, in New York declawing is actually cosidered animal cruelty becasue of the effects (the inability to protect themselves, pain, etc.) that it has on your animal, and I would assume that more states are going to start jumping on this bandwagon sooner rather than later. West Virginia, New Jersey, and Rhode Island (heck yeah, shout-out to my home state) are already considering passing bills to ban the act of declawing as well. Some cities have also made the decision to make the practice illegal, which is the first step in getting the entire state to convert too! 

For starters, what does it mean to declaw? Declawing is the act of surgery, in which the claw is removed from your animals paw. To keep it from regrowing, the veterinarian performing the procedure will remove the animal’s bone. What this means, is that they are removing the area that grows the claw, which is equivalent to removing the first knuckle of your hand. So, when you subject your animal to this procedure, you are essentially removing a part of their body. This procedure is typically performed on cats, but there have been cases of it occurring for other animals as well.

I know, you are worried about your furniture. I get it. Some cats just can’t keep their greedy little paws away (they actually can’t help scratching things, it is a natural behavior that starts around eight weeks old according to this article from the Humane Society), but is that any reason to remove their fingertips and take away one of their few lines of defense? In my opinion it is not. I love my cats to pieces, and I never want them to get out of the house without being on a leash (yes, my cats like to walk on a leash, if your cat is an escape artist, you should give this a try). But, God forbid something happened and they did get out, if they didn’t have claws, they wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. Hissing and biting will only get a cat so far, they need their claws to be able to scale trees and get away from predators in the wild. That is why they have them in the first place––for protection. Who are you to take that away from them for the sake of your very replaceable inanimate object?

If you are really worried about your cats tearing your house to shreds with their claws, here are some alternative options: 

  1. A squirt bottle or squirt gun- One squirt from one of these and your cat will probably run in the other direction. Unless they are defiant like my little bug––We had to do it so often that now he enjoys being sprayed with water and uses it as a form of bathing, so we turned to alternative methods (see more below).

  2. A scratching post- They sell small ones for pretty low prices. MUCH cheaper than surgery, and will keep your furniture protected.

  3. A cat tree- These work wonders, a little bit of an investment, but your furry friends will love snoozin’ and scratchin’ on it.

  4. Cat repellent/sticky tape- Yeah it exists. Does it work? Sometimes. If your cats are like mine, they will just want to lick it off the couch, but at least they are not scratching it anymore? 

  5. Claw Caps- While these might be a pain to put on, they come in colors. Give your cats a little pop of color and watch them try to scratch but not be able to. Some cats will pluck them off their claws, but it is still an option. 

  6. Claw clippers- Yes, they make claw clippers (please don’t use human nail clippers), and these will keep your cat’s nails trimmed short and dull (unless they are obsessive scratching post scratchers like mine). If you are going to do it, be careful, and stay on top of it. If you are weary of it, take your pet to a professional groomer and have them done there! 

  7. A cat trainer- Expensive, but maybe worth it. If this is coming down to a behavioral problem, then this will certainly help, but should probably be a last resort. It seems a little overbearing, but not as much as surgery on your helpless little fluffball.

Whatever method you select out of the above, or countless other options I’m sure are available all across the internet, it will be better than forcing your little lovebug to have their toes removed. A good rule of thumb when it comes to pets is if you wouldn’t do it to yourself, you probably shouldn’t do it to your pet. So if you are not willing to have a doctor cut off all your fingertips, then they probably don’t want to lose theirs either. Help keep your animals safe, and let them keep their claws. 

Talia is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Emerson. Talia is also a Chapter Advisor, Region Leader, and HSA Advisor. She has previously worked as an intern for the national headquarters of Her Campus in the community management department. Talia is a Writing, Literature, and Publishing major at Emerson College in a 4+1 combined bachelor's and master's program in publishing. She is an aspiring writer and publisher. Talia is known for living life with her journal, a pen, and three lovely cats.
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