Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Nov 18, 2020

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Should you declaw your cat?

Around 25 percent of you are now quietly nodding because this is the percentage of U.S. cats that are declawed.

Of course, one person might have several cats declawed while in some cities the procedure is illegal, so this skews the statistics.

But you still get the point. Declawing is common.

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Pros and Cons of Declawing Cats

Cat declawing

OK, let’s discuss the main arguments in favor of and against declawing:

Pros of Declawing Cats

Declawing saves lives because it’s either that or surrender a cat to the shelter.

There’s no denying a cat that claws furniture is destructive. Those sharp nails shred soft furnishings and splinter wood.

If kitty damages an antique dresser, this may be the last straw for a house-proud pet parent. Given a choice between surrendering her to a shelter (and death row), then declawing can seem a good option.

Now, let’s get to the main argument against declawing cats.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

Cons of Declawing Cats

When Los Angeles Heights made declawing illegal, the number of cats surrendered to shelters fell by 22 percent. That’s right. Fewer cats were surrendered. This is because declawing creates behavioral issues rather than solving them.

Imagine the cat that comes home after declawing surgery desperate to relieve a full bladder. She goes to the litter box and starts to dig – only to be in excruciating pain. She links the pain to the litter box and avoids it in the future, and so begins a whole new behavioral problem of inappropriate toileting in the house.

Another issue is that cats use their claws to send out the message to back off. If, for example, you are playing rough with kitty, she may swipe claws in, and if you ignore the warning swipe claws out. The declawed cat may feel defenseless and may up the ante by going straight in for a bite, rather than a soft warning swipe.

Finally, thought not directly related to the health of your cat, declawing is an elective surgery. This means that cat insurance policies are not going to cover it. So the money is coming out of your pocket.

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Declawing Surgery

If you snap a nail, eventually it grows back. This is because the nail bed is not damaged and can still push out new growth.

Declawing is much more than nail clipping or they, too, would grow back.

The nail bed has to go, and the only way to do this is to remove the whole “fingertip.” Declawing surgery is the equivalent of amputating (technical term here, not an emotive one) the P3 digit, or the final knuckle bone of each toe on the front paws.

Think about it. How would losing all your fingertips affect you?

This might sound far-fetched, but it isn’t. Cats walk on their toes, and you’ve just removed the toe tips. This changes the way kitty walks, and that’s without considering she can no longer grip with her claws in order to climb.

Also, declawing surgery is painful. It involves slicing the skin, joint capsule, ligaments, blood vessels, and muscles that bind one toe bone to another. How can that not hurt? Of course, it does. It hurts a lot, which leads us nicely onto the problems associated with declawing.

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Artemis was a beautiful and friendly cat to all who were willing to pet him. Unfortunately, he developed feline diabetes which required regular vet visits and medications that his Mother could not otherwise afford on her fixed income. Having PetFirst insurance, she called and discussed the problem with a friendly PetFirst agent. To her surprise, she found out that Artemis’ ongoing required vet visits and medication would be covered by his PetFirst insurance. Artemis was able to live out the rest of his life with proper medical care and medicines thanks to PetFirst insurance.

Alternatives to Declawing Cats 

Let’s see if we can reach a compromise where your cat keeps her claws, but she doesn’t scratch the furniture.

The first thing to understand is that scratching is a natural behavior. Asking a cat to stop scratching is like asking them to stop breathing. Cats claw to exercise the top part of their body, and crucially they do it to mark their territory.

Marking territory is a security thing that helps her to feel safe. This is why she chooses places that smell heavily of you, such as the coach or the bed. To stop this habit, you need to employ a give and take strategy to help keep your cat happy.

Scratching Posts

The “giving” is to provide a good sturdy scratching post beside the object you want left alone, with additional tips mentioned in our post How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching the Carpet. This means she still gets the satisfaction of scent-marking the spot but doesn’t damage the furniture.

Protect Furniture

The “taking” involves applying double-sided sticky tape on the furniture, so it feels unpleasantly tacky when she tries to scratch.

Now let’s look at protecting the furniture. It may sound obvious, but regular nail clipping is a great idea; once a month should do it. Pick a time when kitty is relaxed, and come armed with treats. Start by trimming one nail at a time, then give the reward. When she learns to associate a small snip with something tasty, she’ll soon cooperate.

Nail Caps for Cats

Another option to consider is tipping the claws with claw caps, such as Soft Paws. These allow the cat to behave normally but without doing the damage. The nail covers are widely available and relatively simple to apply.

So remember, declawing creates more problems than it solves. It makes your cat sore and stops her from expressing natural behaviors. So please, look at the alternatives.


Other articles you may find helpful: 


Best Pet Insurance Companies

Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


We have worked hard to provide you with all the free resources possible to help give you insight into the best pet insurance for cats, additional cat breeds info, common cat health issues, and a fun look at frequently asked cat questions


Learn more about common cat health problems:

Arthritis in Cats, Cancer in Cats, Declawing Cats, Diabetes in Cats, Eye Infection in Cats, Hypoallergenic Cats, Hyperthyroidism in Cats, Overweight Cats, Vomiting Cats