Declawing a cat is a procedure in which the last part of the cat's toe is removed in order to remove the claw and prevent it from growing back.
Declawing cats is a controversial procedure and not one we recommend. Many cats do fine around the house with their claws especially with the right scratching areas and a little training. There are states in the U.S. (namely, California and Iowa) as well as some countries around the world that have outlawed declawing cats as a cruel and unnecessary procedure.
So why do we perform this surgery? As long as the procedure is not illegal, there will be people who want their pets declawed for various reasons. Dr. Ricci is of the opinion that if the declaw can be performed with a minimum of pain or discomfort to the cat while allowing the pet to stay in a good home, the surgery can be performed in good conscience.
Here at the Belle Plaine Animal Hospital, we have invested in equipment (namely, the surgical laser) that make the procedure more humane. The laser cauterizes the wound immediately, eliminating the need for a painful tourniquet on the arm. It is less painful because the laser light seals off the nerve endings and blood vessels. We only declaw cats using the laser in order to ensure the cats' comfort.
Still, we believe the decision of whether or not to perform the declaw surgery is not one to be taken lightly, and it is not a procedure we "push" on clients.