Feline declawing is an elective and ethically controversial procedure, which is NOT medically necessary for cats in most instances. Declawing entails the amputation of a cat’s third phalanx [P3], or third ‘toe bone.’ Unlike human nails, cats’ claws are attached to the last bone in their toes. A comparison in human terms would be cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger. The American Association of Feline Practitioners strongly opposes declawing as an elective procedure.¹
"Most people decide to have their cats declawed as a matter of convenience to protect their furniture from cat scratching or to guard against injury to themselves and family members.
Many of these people, however, don’t realize the pain that the surgery can cause. Declawing is the amputation of each toe at the first joint. In humans, it would be equivalent to cutting off the tip of every finger at the first knuckle — very painful, indeed. If performed on a human, this operation would be considered a mutilation. It is as unethical as tail docking and ear clipping in dogs.
People who declaw their cats also may not be aware that the surgery can cause more problems than it solves. Cats deprived of their front claws may develop an aversion to the litter box. Their paws remain sensitive from the surgery, so they avoid scratching in their litter and may begin eliminating around the house instead.
Declawing leaves cats without one of their primary defense mechanisms, and impairs their balance and ability to climb. Many declawed cats suffer from joint stiffness. In certain cats, it may leave psychological scars that translate into behavioral problems.
Declawing is essentially done for the convenience of humans — to the detriment of the cat. You are working against rather than with your kitty if you force him to endure needless pain and put him at risk for developing negative side-effects to the surgery. " ²
Brick City Cat Hospital Policy
Brick City Cat Hospital has made the decision to discontinue the practice of declawing as a surgical elective procedure. Current research has shown that residual pain and complications are common among declaw patients. Since one of the major tenets of Veterinary practice is to "do no harm", we cannot in conscience continue offering this surgery.
It is important to understand that scratching is normal behavior for cats, which has an inherent function. The primary reason cats scratch is to maintain the necessary claw motion used in hunting and climbing, as well as a means to stretch their body. Scratching serves to groom the front claws and leave markers of the cat’s presence. A cat’s claws grow in layers and scratching removes the worn outer layer to expose the new growth inside. Cat owners must therefore provide alternatives for cats such as suitable scratchers. ²