OAR’s Policy on Declawing

As of 3/7/12, our policy requires that the adopters of our cats not declaw, no matter what the cat's age. We will, with our adoption counselors' help, provide potential adopters with information on alternatives to declawing, such as:

  • Use Soft Paws
  • Use Sofa Savers ( 972-790-6658) or Sticky Paws
  • Use corrugated cardboard scratching boxes
  • Use carpet-lined and/or rope-wrapped scratching posts
  • Trim your cat's nails monthly
  • Attach bubble wrap, aluminum foil, slippery wax paper, or double-sided sticky tape to the object you don't want the cat to scratch
  • Use citrus-scented liquids or commercial cat repellant on items the cat likes to scratch
  • Encourage scratching on appropriate locations and materials with praise and application of cat attracting ingredients such as catnip.

Check out http://www.catscratching.com for more information and ideas about preventing scratching if you are concerned about this issue. But above all - DON'T DECLAW!

Cats use their claws for protection, balance, exercising, for stretching the muscles in the legs, bad, and paws, and to mark their own territory. Not only does the cat mark an object visibly by scratching it, but the scratching deposits secretions from glands in the feet that can be smelled by other cats. In addition, scratching gives the cat reassurance of self-defense by the contraction of the claws. The standard declawing procedure calls for the removal of the claw, the cells at the base responsible for the growth, tendons and ligaments, and the terminal bone of the toe. The operation is actually an amputation comparable to the removal of the fingers of the human hand at the last knuckle. The cat experiences considerable pain in the recovery and healing process. In addition to the need for general anesthesia, which always presents a certain degree of risk to the cat’s health and life, infection and blood loss are possible surgical complications of declawing. If the whole claw is not removed, misshapen claws can grow back, requiring additional surgery. Abnormal growth of severed nerve ends can also occur, causing long-term, painful sensations in the toes. A declawed cat is, in reality, a clubfooted animal. Posture, mood, and behavior can be irrevocably altered, and gone is the easeful grace that is the cat's birthright. Some cats experience severe stress, stop using their litter pan, and exhibit other side effects that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. 

As a humane organization, OAR is obligated to be responsible for the health and well-being of the whole cat. Many people believe that declawing is not a serious operation, when in fact it is quite serious, and considered inhumane by many veterinarians and animal science experts worldwide. Many countries ban declawing, including the Israel, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Most organizations in the U.S. dedicated to animals also oppose declawing, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Cat Fanciers Association.  The AVMA has also recently taken a position against declawing except in rare cases.