Declawing is a common term used to describe the removal of the nails in cats. The scientific term is onychectomy, which literally means ‘’nail excision’’. The procedure is the amputation of the 3rd phalange – or the first knuckle.

Amputations are complex and painful surgeries resulting in painful healing, pain management and increased risk of infection. The amputation of the knuckles in cats can result in lifelong complications such as pain in the paws and increased probability of arthritis. After this serious surgery, cats have no choice but to walk on their paws and make no mistake – even if they don’t show signs of pain, it is there. Cat’s are notorious for hiding their pain.

Declawing is often done out of convenience for pet owners or lack of information about alternatives.  Reasons to consider this surgery was to protect the furniture or prevent the scratching of people. Widely popular in the past, it was thought as a normal thing to do when adopting a cat. Now better alternatives are known and a lot of information is available to better understand cats.   Declawing is in no way beneficial for the animal and in fact can harm them more than it does good. A cat is more likely to bite if they feel that their scratches are not effective. Cat bites have a high potential to infect and this can become dangerous if left untreated. There are several countries that consider declawing inhumane and have outlawed the procedure already. Similar to ear cropping and tail docking in dogs, declawing is on its way out.

So what to do when you have a cat in your home with 18+ razors attached to his paws? How can we protect our furniture and arms? There are many things we can do! Scratching is a normal behaviour in cats and should not be punished, instead embraced.

  1. Have several scratching posts in your home with different textures
    – Not all cats will like the same materials so find the one your cat prefers.
  1. Trim their nails often
    – Their nails will be dull and less likely to be able to penetrate the skin or furniture.
  1. Apply nail cap covers monthly
    – Your cat will have free reign to do what he likes but not be able to hurt you when playing or be able to scratch the furniture
  1. Kittens will often play rough, this behaviour can go away with time and training
    – When your cat is showing his belly don’t pet him, it’s a trap!
    -Instead, offer a large toy, he will love kicking and biting it. He is one of the world’s best hunter after all.
    – Discourage stalking behaviour on humans. If your cat attacks your feet when you walk by, walk by with a dangly toy. He will avert his hunting behaviour to the toy and not to you.
  1. Use ‘’Feliscratch’’ to get your cat to use the scratch posts instead of your furniture.
  2. Cats are very smart and we often forget to stimulate them and provide adequate cat environments which can lead to fear based aggression and boredom-based attacking. Stimulating their brain will make them happier and less likely to scratch or bite you.
    – You can clicker train your cat, they will love it
    -They need to climb, give them vertical space to explore
    -Offer them window perches so they can watch the birds and squirrels outside
    – They are efficient hunters, feed them using toys and specialized bowls that mimic hunting behaviour

For more tricks to prevent unwanted scratching, or anything related to your cat, please visit They have everything you need to understand your cat and help you live in harmony with them.