Declawing a cat is often the go-to solution for preventing damage to furniture, curtains and more. However, there are several negative consequences to declawing.

Thought to be a quick, easy and safe procedure, declawing is actually a very serious surgery that can negatively affect on a cat’s quality of life.

Cats rely on their claws for many reasons. The main use is for defense. Even if the family kitty is an indoor-only pet, accidents happen, and if a declawed cat gets outdoors, he will not be able to defend himself against a predator or climb a tree or fence to escape danger.

In addition, the claws are tools for balance; without them, the cat must shift his weight and relearn how to walk on the exposed bone that is left once the claws are removed. Cats also extend their claws in order to achieve a full body stretch. Declawed cats are more prone to muscle pains and arthritis as a result of not being able to get a good, full stretch.

Finally, scratching is a source of exercise and stress relief for cats. Cats tend to scratch when they are anxious or frustrated. Without claws, they do not have a way to alleviate stress.

Declawing is not only painful for a cat, but it can cause negative behaviors and permanent physical damage. Declawed cats may avoid using the litter box as they depend on their claws to maneuver the litter. Some declawed cats may start to bite and use their teeth as a defense mechanism. If the declawing surgery is not done properly, bone fragments can be left behind and cause pain for a cat. Finally, permanent nerve damage can be a result of declawing.

So what is the alternative? Scratching is a normal and vital part of a cat’s life. Several scratching posts are on the market that can give cats their daily scratching fix. There are also nail covers and caps that are safe and painless to the cat and can be put over the claws to prevent scratching damage. Trimming the nails once or twice a month is a good way to make scratching less damaging.

The decision to declaw is not one that should be taken lightly. Do the research and get the facts. This is a procedure that can potentially have negative lasting effects on a cat’s disposition, health and well-being.


OCTOBER: All cats and kittens are available for only $10 at the Louisiana SPCA. Normal adoption qualifications and procedures apply. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit for more information.

THURSDAY: Louisiana 1st Choice Auto Auction Golf Tournament to support the Louisiana SPCA and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. This event will feature a great day of golf and many other activities including a putting contest, hole-in-one contest and team prizes. Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. tee time at the Lakewood Golf Club, 4801 Gen. De Gaulle Dr., New Orleans. More info: Contact Bridget Higginbotham at (985) 345-3302.

SATURDAY: Critter Cinema, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids. Get cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoy a G-rated critter movie and make friends at the Louisiana SPCA. For kids ages 5-10, feel free to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and PJs. $35 per child. Preregistration is required; call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207 or email For more info visit

SATURDAY: Off-site Pet Adoption, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, will be held at Kendra Scott Jewelry, 5757 Magazine St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit for more information.

SUNDAY: Pet First Aid/CPR Course, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. from 9 a.m. to noon. This hands-on training course will teach you the basics in animal handling, restraint, pet first aid and CPR using realistic animal mannequins. You will learn what to do in common emergency situations before seeking veterinary care. Course fee is $50, and preregistration is required at

SUNDAY: We Let The Dogs Out! Adoption Event at Parlay’s, 870 Harrison Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Come out to cheer on the Saints as they play the Chiefs. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. Raffle items and a bake sale. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit for more information.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to In Jefferson Parish, send to and In St. Bernard Parish send to

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at or visit