Declawing is the surgical amputation of the tips of the digits. It involves removing the claw and supporting bone. It is not the same as a nail trim or manicure.
Declawing is one of the most painful and cruel procedures performed in veterinary medicine. Sadly, declawing is a common procedure performed on captive big cats like lions, tigers, mountain lions and leopards being kept by private owners. The procedure can more accurately be referred to as “de-knuckling” because the procedure not only removes the animals’ claws, but also the bone.
To declaw a cat is equivalent to amputating the entire finger or toe tip including the nail and nail bed (first knuckle) of every digit on a human being. The procedure often causes post-surgical complications such as lameness, abscesses, and paw pad atrophy. Cats who’ve been forced to endure this procedure often suffer from long-term complications including: arthritis, joint stiffness, altered gait, chronic pain and claw re-growth.
Declawed cats are unable to defend themselves from other animals. Declawing also strips the animal from being able to perform instinctive behaviors, including using their claws to climb and exercise and marking their territory with the scent glands in their paws.
Big cat breeders often help perpetuate the misconceptions surrounding this cruel procedure. Unknowing and uninformed individuals who purchase a cub from a breeder are told to declaw the cub without really knowing the trauma it causes the cat. Owners of roadside attractions that offer cub petting and cub photo opportunities often declaw their cubs because they are being handled by the general public. It poses less of a liability. Declawing is a cruel practice that needs to stop today.