Dundee Animal Hospital does not encourage the declawing of domestic cats and can help provide alternatives to declawing for cat owners. Feline declawing is an elective and ethically controversial procedure, which is not medically necessary for cats in most instances.
Scratching is a normal feline behavior. Cats scratch to (1) condition their claws by removing old nail sheaths, (2) scent mark objects with the glands on their paws, (3) visually mark objects by leaving shredded matter as evidence, (4) stretch and exercise their forelegs, and (5) enjoy a pleasant sensation.
The decision to declaw a cat should be made by the owners in consultation with their veterinarian. If the owner elects to declaw, the surgical removal of a cat’s claws is best performed at an early age.