“The number-one thing is client education,” Fuentes stated to Newsweek. “Because sometimes people don’t know. Maybe they had a declawed cat when they were younger, and now they’re adults and they’re getting their own cats, and they just think that a cat is supposed to be declawed.”
Instead, she educates them about alternatives.
She goes on to explain her thoughts in a video:
The AVMA has also published a literature review on the welfare effects of declawing. Despite anecdotes of declawed cats actually becoming less friendly, the review asserts that clinical evidence doesn’t link declawing to behavioral problems.
However, they note that it is an acutely painful procedure, can actually cause infections and can even cause lifelong pain.
More humane alternatives to declawing currently include putting gel caps over the claws, trimming them or teaching the cat not to scratch things. You can give a cat a scratching post and then perhaps reward him or her for using it.
In some cities and also in many countries, declawing is considered so inhumane that it is illegal. Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals bans declawing, right along with defanging, docking ears and tails, and removing the vocal cords of a pet.
There are only very few exceptions to these rules; specifically when a vet deems the procedures necessary to the animal’s well-being. The same thing goes for Australia, Brazil, San Francisco and, possibly in the near future, Denver.
Fuentes has explained that the cat in the photo was treated for surgery months ago and has recovered well. However, if you want to avoid this risk, consider the alternatives before amputating your pet’s toes.