Declawing or onychectomy―that it is technically known as―is the option many cat owners opt for, to stop their pets from damaging the furniture, shredding drapes, or injuring kids. It is difficult to imagine the amount of pain the kitten or cat goes through when it is subjected to this horrendous practice. Some animal rights activists go to the extent of saying that it is equivalent to uprooting one's nails.
Pros and Cons of Onychectomy
The only positive of this practice is that it will ensure that the cat doesn't hurt anybody―especially kids―either knowingly or unknowingly. Declawing will not cause the cat to lose its natural instinct to scratch. It will however, ensure that your furniture or carpets are safe. That isn't really a pro considering that it's a selfish decision the cat owners make, as they are more concerned about their furniture.
On the flip side, there do exist a couple of reasons why you should not opt for this practice. To begin, the cat will never be able to regrow its claws. Similarly, a fully or partly declawed cat will not be able to maintain its balance, walk properly, and may even suffer from behavioral problems. It might just become very cranky. This procedure involves amputation of the first digit, which is similar to removing the first knuckle of your finger.
The cat will be in pain for many days. In the absence of claws to protect its feet, the cat's pain will only worsen when it steps on the sand or gravel in the litter box. Without its claws, the cat won't be able to defend itself, or climb a tree for that matter. If too much tissue is removed in the process, the cat may remain club footed and maimed for life. On the other hand, if enough tissue is not removed, it may cause the claw to grow back, and the cat will have to undergo yet another surgery.
So, declawing is an unnecessary practice carried out by lazy owners who don't have the time to train their cats to use a scratching post. It is a painful procedure, which is best avoided. As a cat owner myself, I'd say no cat lovers should ever opt for declawing―a practice which amounts to animal cruelty and thus, has been outlawed in a number of countries.