Should You Adopt a Declawed Cat? Questions Answered

About 25-43% of American domesticated cats have been declawed. Despite these numbers, the opinion on declawing in America is changing as more cat owners learn about the truth behind this once-common practice. 

Because declawing was once a popular procedure, it’s common to see declawed cats available for adoption. This can present a dilemma for some people looking to adopt. 

If you want to adopt, you may wonder about the acceptability of deciding to adopt a declawed cat. This guide will help you decide if adopting a declawed cat is right for you. 

cats that purr all the time

What Is Declawing?

Cat declawing is a procedure that vets perform. While the cat is under anesthesia, the vet removes the tip of each toe. Removing the end of the toe down to the first joint also removes the claw. 

It is an elective procedure. While there are instances where declawing is medically recommended, they are not common. 

Having a cat declawed was once a commonly accepted practice. However, in recent years, it has become an ethically questionable practice. Many countries and the state of New York have made declawing illegal. 

Is Declawing a Cat Safe?

Declawing a cat is a procedure that is typically not life-threatening. The procedure is done in a veterinary office under the supervision of a professional. So, yes, the procedure is not considered a dangerous one. 

However, declawing does present risks to the cat post-surgery. There could be complications during healing. There could also be long-term health issues that could arise later in life. 

There are no risks associated with declawed cat adoption. Adopting a cat with or without claws is the same experience. 

Cons of Declawing Cats

Several cons come with cat declawing. While many cats experience no physical ailments or problems, not all cats are so lucky. A declawed cat can experience nerve damage, abnormal gait, chronic back pain, or severe paw pain. Some cats feel vulnerable without their claws. 

This can lead to increased fear or aggressive behavior. They may also resort to biting as a replacement for claw usage.

Cats also have a natural need to scratch. Declawing can frustrate this desire, creating anxiety and stress within the cat. 

Benefits of Declawed Cats

There are some benefits of adopting a declawed cat. Without claws, you won’t have to worry about damage to your furniture. You also won’t suffer from intentional or unintentional scratches. 

In addition, adopting a declawed cat comes with the same benefits as adopting a cat with claws. You are giving a cat a second chance at life in a loving home. Your new furry friend will bring love and joy to your home. 

Caring For a Declawed Cat

Caring for your declawed cat is similar to caring for a cat with claws. There are a few adjustments to think about that will ensure your cat is happy and comfortable in their new home. 

No Outside Time 

Most importantly, a cat without claws should be an inside-only cat. Without their claws, they are unable to protect themselves from predators. This puts them in danger when encountering wild animals or stray cats with claws. 

Litter Box Issues 

Declawed cats may suffer from paw sensitivity. This can create issues with using the litter box. Hard or rocky litter may feel uncomfortable to your cat. This can result in them refusing to use the litter box. 

Replace hard litter with something softer. You may even find that using a puppy pee pad is a good alternative. 

Cat Introductions 

If you have other cats in your home, take more precautions when introducing your newly adopted cat. If your other cat has claws, this can create issues when interacting with the clawless cat. Let the cats slowly acclimate and supervise interactions. 

Once they are comfortable with each other, consider taking extra steps to protect your declawed cat. Keep your clawed cat’s nails trimmed so they are not razor-sharp. You can also use nail caps to provide extra protection. 

Soft Toys 

Get your declawed cat soft toys to play with. Instead of using claws, your cat will wrap their paws or body around the toy. Softer toys are gentler for this type of play. 

Another great option is a laser light. You can flick and swish as your cat chases and pounces the quickly-moving red dot if you’re skilled. 

In addition, a scratching pad or post with a soft surface is also a good idea. This gives your cat a place to “sharpen their claws” by acting out their natural need to scratch. The soft surface is gentler on the cat’s paws, helping them to be more comfortable and more likely to use it. 

Consider Purchasing Pet Insurance 

Your adopted cat could experience several complications that directly result from declawing. Do not let this sway you from adopting a declawed cat. Not every cat experiences problems. 

However, if your cat happens to have problems, you will want to have your vet treat them. Veterinary bills can quickly become expensive. Purchasing pet insurance can help you pay for expensive treatments. 

Similar to human health insurance, there are several types and coverages. You can purchase a plan that fits your budget and coverage needs. 

Adopt a Declawed Cat

There is nothing wrong with the decision to adopt a declawed cat. You are not supporting cat declawing.

Shelters and rescue organizations do not automatically declaw cats. So, when you rescue a declawed cat, you are simply giving a cat a second chance at life. With a little prep, you and your cat will live a long, happy life together. 

Check out the Pet Care section for more helpful advice about cats and dogs. 

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