Declawing cats is considered an inhumane practice by many vets and technicians. A lot of vet practices in the United States won't perform this surgery and recent studies show that declawed cats were prone to behavioral problems at much higher rates than non-declawed cats. They were seven times more likely to eliminate outside the litter box, four times more likely to bite, and three times more likely both to show aggression and over-groom themselves.
Declaw surgery (onychectomy) is an elective surgery wherein the distal bone of the toe is removed. This involves amputating part of each of a cat's digits. You can learn more about the surgery here in this post.
VCA Canada (which runs 93 clinics in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec) banned cat declaws in their hospitals and has taken a major swipe at a controversial practice that is still permitted in most provinces.
CBC News tells us in an interview with Danny Joffe, a medical director for VCA Canada who works at a Calgary clinic,
"Declaws have become quite a common thing and, in fact, people think of them as just a common procedure. And my veterinary generation created that problem."
Declawing cats has already been banned in the U.K., Europe, Australia, and several California cities.
One easy way to make sure your cats aren't clawing at your furniture is to buy a few scratching posts! This scratching behavior is very normal feline behavior!
Another alternative is soft paws for cats. Soft paws will not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of your cat's nails. Your cat can still scratch with Soft Paws allowing normal stretching and scratching behavior to continue -- just no damage will occur.
These options are important to explore before contemplating any surgical procedures. Research now shows that not keeping your cat's claws can lead to destructive behavior. Cat owners should do their research and talk to their vet. The American Veterinary Medical Association is another great resource.