Ban the Declawing of Cats

Ban the Declawing of Cats

Target: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Outlaw the declawing of cats

Declawing (onychectomy) is a routine procedure for many cats in the United States. This procedure’s commonness, however, overshadows the devastating harm it can have on our feline pets. Declawing is not, as many people think, the removal of a cat’s claws, but involves the amputation of several bones: in humans this would be the equivalent of removing each finger and toe at the first knuckle. Most veterinarians perform this procedure without question and, indeed, encourage it, despite numerous professors in animal-related subjects and veterinarians themselves asserting that it is excruciatingly painful and detrimental to health. Many pet owners are misinformed of the true consequences of the operation and are actually offered this surgery as an ‘upgrade’ to a spaying or neutering.

Declawed cats are stripped of their normal abilities to climb, play, and use scent glands in their paws to mark territory. In addition, the removal of the bones, nerves, and tendons results in unnatural movement, straining the cat’s muscles and joints. Cats that have been declawed also display unusual behavior such as unwillingness to play, litter box avoidance due to pain, and biting, as the cat no longer can defend itself against a tormenting child with its claws and is misunderstood as being ‘violent.’

The practice is illegal in several U.S. cities and many countries around the world. Even some veterinarians in the U.S. refuse to perform the procedure and hang posters advising owners against it. Why, then, is declawing still legal? This agonizing operation is extremely cruel to cats, and can not only lead to physical disabilities, but behavioral problems as well. It is time to follow the states and countries that have seen sense and made this diabolical operation illegal. Sign this petition and pressure the United States Department of Agriculture to end the cruel maiming of cats.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

Many U.S. cities and countries around the world have banned the operation of declawing cats (an onychectomy); it is time for the rest of the United States to follow suit and end this inhumane procedure.

The declawing of cats is not, as many people believe, simply cutting off a cat’s claws so it cannot scratch; it is the removal of bones, nerves, and tendons. In human terms, it would be the equivalent of you and I having our fingers and toes cut off at the first knuckle. Not only does this leave cats in excruciating pain, it maims them for life, restricts movement, and puts additional strain on unfamiliar muscles and joints, leading to future health issues.

It also creates increased stress on animal shelters, as cats that have been declawed often display ‘behavioral’ issues such as biting (because they have no claws to defend themselves from threats) and litter box avoidance (as they find the litter box too painful to stand in). This, in turn, leads to increasing numbers of cats being left in animal shelters or, even worse, euthanized – a sad consequence of human judgment.

Many veterinarians in the U.S. refuse to perform this procedure, concurring with professors in animal studies who say that declawing is inhumane. It is time for a nationwide ban of this debilitating surgery. There are many alternative ways for pet owners to stop their cats from scratching, such as scratch toys and claw caps.

I urge you to follow the humane route undertaken by several U.S. cities and countries across the globe and end declawing in our nation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Toyah via Wikimedia

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