Declawing is not cosmetic..



By Harriet E. Baker

Author of The Shocking Truth about Declawing Cats

October, 2007

The unethical, cruel procedure of crippling the healthy paws of cats (or other animals) is NOT a “cosmetic procedure.” Rather, it is amputation of toes/fingers! Such premeditated, willful dismemberment, disfigurement, crippling of healthy limbs is NOT an accepted veterinary or other practice. It is highly controversial, and the unethical, cruel nature of such deliberate maiming is becoming increasingly acknowledged.

Feline paws are highly delicate sensory organs, organs of locomotion, and dexterous limbs that allow the animal to perform countless ongoing tasks of living—i.e., walking, grasping, cuffing, holding, balancing, kneading, raking & negotiating litter material– hence, the widespread reports of litter box problems in cats with paws mutilated by declawing or other cruel procedure.

Among the noted veterinarians who have spoken out against these maiming procedures are: Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, Head of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Michael W. Fox, author and syndicated newspaper columnist; and Dr. Jennifer Conrad, who founded the Paw Project with the mission to educate the public about the cruelty of these procedures and to repair the paws of big cats suffering the aftermath of mutilation of their precious paws.

Animal shelter staff repeatedly attest to the high frequency of behavior problems in “declawed” cats relinquished to their shelters. They compute that about half of all “declawed” cats relinquished to their facilities are screened out as having “behavior problems” too severe to approve such cats for adoption. Thus, for these countless cats, “declawing” leads to (1) behavior problems, (2) relinquishment, (3) death.
This is about cats and our responsibility for humane stewardship of all animals, not about statistics! Following is a poignant excerpt from the New York Times column of August 13, 1992, by Anne Raver

lamenting the declawing of her cat, Mrs. Gray: “She doesn’t flex her claws anymore, in that luxurious way she had while snoozing in the sun. She’s quieter, too, like a feisty soul beaten up once too

often…Mrs Gray comes to sit by me now. She purrs and rubs her head against my hand. I suppose I could say she has forgiven me, in which case her love puts mine to shame. But I have stolen from her and she is the lesser for it.”

Reports of cats’ suffering beyond the foreseeable frustration in countless ongoing tasks of living are displayed on many websites including:,,www. I have acquired documented information on more than 30 cases of reported harm following both “declawing” and tendonectomy (sometimes touted as being a “less inhumane” maiming of healthy limbs). FOLLOWING THE CRUEL LIMB MAIMINGS, victim cats in my research collection BEGAN TO EXHIBIT one or more of the following: lethargy, hissing, biting, growling, hiding, nerve damage to paws, litter box avoidance, gangrene leading to additional limb loss including loss of entire feet.

For many years, Betsy Lipscomb, President of Cats International, Inc., has provided information on the cruelty of the maiming procedures described herein. Cats International maintains a website full of helpful information on training a cat to use a scratching post or scratcher:, and offers free advice via a phone hotline: 262-375-8852.
The view held in most European countries is expressed in a personal letter from a German animal protection agency: “There is no reasonable argument for the surgical removal (or disengagement) of the claws of cat.”

“It’s amazing what you can observe, if you watch.”

Lawrence (Yogi) Berra


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