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Onychectomy, popularly known as declawing, is an operation to surgically remove an animal's claws by means of amputating all or part of the distal phalanx, or end bones, of the animal's toes. It is performed most often on household cats, though occasionally on other animals such as circus lions or dancing bears. Because the claw develops from germinal tissue deep within the third phalanx, amputation of the bone is necessary to remove the claw. The terms "onychectomy" (origin: Greek ὄνυξ onycho, nail + ἐκτομή ektome, excision) and "declawing" imply mere claw removal, but a more appropriate description would be phalangectomy, excision of toe bone.

Although common in North America, and Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China, elective declawing is considered an act of animal cruelty in certain other regions.


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Resistance Against Declawing[]

People often believe declawing is a quick fix, and will only do good. However, that is far from true. People who declaw their cats don't realize that scratching is normal cat behavior, and that the cat will be in a lot of pain after the procedure. The surgery may even affect the cats' routine.

Scratching is normal cat behavior. It isn't done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even with you. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles. There is no way you can prevent the cat from scratching entirely- It isn't possible.

Too often, people think that declawing is an equivalent of having their fingernails trimmed, but permanently. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Declawing is amputating the claw and last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

It is unnecessary; provides no medical benefit; and you can easily train your cat.

Quick Scratching Fixes[]

  • Use SoftPaws, which are harmless, temporary caps that go over the cats' claws, and are harmless if swallowed.
  • Provide stable scratching posts in several materials.
  • Keep your cats' nails short.
  • Put catnip on scratching posts.
  • Stick cat-training tape on whichever surface you want to prevent scratching on.