Stop Crippling Cats

Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Goal: To end the cruel and inhumane practice of declawing cats.

Declawing, also known as elective mutilation or partial digital amputation, is performed on approximately 31 percent of American cats. Declawing cats is considered an American practice. A convenience. It is illegal in many European countries. In England, declawing is deemed inhumane and unnecessary mutilation – and it is.

There are three methods used to declaw cats: amputation, laser surgery, and tendonectomy. When you declaw a cat by amputation or laser surgery, it is the equivalent of cutting a person’s fingers off at the first knuckle. A tendonectomy is not technically declawing but rather the severing of the tendon that controls nail extension. All three methods are unnecessary and can permanently cripple cats.

A cat exhibits healthy and natural behaviors when it claws at objects. They scratch to exercise, stretch, and remove the dead husks from their nails. It also helps to stretch their muscles. While all cats should remain safely indoors, they can sometimes sneak outside. Claws are cats’ first defense against predators.

Declawed cats can actually be more aggressive and bite more because they feel insecure. Their personalities can change drastically when they are declawed. They often begin to ignore the litter box in an attempt to mark their territory.

Declawing is a torturous and inhumane procedure that leaves the cat in pain. Sometimes, the nail can grow back inside the skin, causing even more excruciating pain. Declawed cats need to relearn how to walk, much as a person would if their toes were removed. The only instance when declawing is acceptable is if it is medically necessary, such as to remove cancerous nail bed tumors.

Cats are about eight weeks old when they begin scratching. There are many alternatives to declawing that are not harmful to your cat. Their nails’ can be trimmed by removing only the tip of the nail with clippers. Removing the “hook” of the nail will greatly lessen the potential for clawing damage to furniture. Scratching posts sprinkled with catnip can entice a cat to claw the post, ignoring furniture. Additionally, cats can be dissuaded from clawing at furniture by reprimanding them verbally with a loud voice or squirting them on the back with warm water from a spray bottle. Using these three methods are virtually pain-free for your cat and more cost effective.

Nearly two dozen countries have already banned the practice of declawing cats. Many veterinarians in the United States refuse to perform the surgery due to the pain inflicted on the cat. By signing this petition, you will urge Secretary Vilsack to expand the Animal Welfare Act so that the declawing of cats is banned. Please stop crippling cats with this cruel procedure.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Elective mutilation or partial digital amputation – in America we call it declawing – of cats is a cruel and inhumane practice. It causes postoperative complications such as pain, hemorrhage, and lameness and can cause severe behavior changes.

Cats rely on their claws for protection and exhibit scratching behavior for exercise, stretching, and nail maintenance. There are effective alternatives to declawing such as nail trimming and providing scratching posts. Cat owners can also train their cats by behavior deterrents such as spraying warm water at a cat while the cat is scratching at furniture.

Declawing is a barbaric practice that must be stopped. It is merely a convenience for cat owners and torturous to cats. We, the undersigned, urge you to expand the Animal Welfare Act to include banning the use of partial digital amputation, declawing, in cats unless medically necessary. Please stop crippling cats with an avoidable procedure.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: S. Derevianko

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