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Why Cats Need their Claws


By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

My two cats hate having their claws clipped. However, I like my skin and when they walk on me with their needle-like nails, I need to clip them. Plus, my sofa and other furniture should not be used as scratching posts. So, I clip their claws.

I would not consider declawing them and here are five reasons why:

1. Cats need claws for protection…
If your cat ever gets outside and doesn’t have claws, he will be defenseless. Cats use their claws to climb trees, which can help them escape from dangerous situations. Without those claws, he has a greater chance of being attacked.

2. …for exercise…
Cats also use their claws for stretching their muscles.

3. …for marking territory…
Ever see a declawed cat scratch your furniture? It’s an inherent trait that marks a cat’s territory. But they won’t scratch a particular item if you train them to use a scratching post. (In my house we avoid certain items, like tightly woven rugs and wicker furniture. They are just too tempting.)

4. …and for balance.
When a cat is declawed, it’s not at all like clipping nails. Declawing is amputating the claw and related bone and muscle tissue. Without their claws, cats often have trouble balancing.

5. Not only that, removing claws can cause health problems.
According to my friends at Best Friends Animal Society, many declawed cats suffer from joint stiffness, and because their paws remain sensitive from the surgery, they avoid scratching in their litter boxes.

For more information on declawing and the health issues associated with it, check out The Paw Project. To train your cat to use a scratching post, read these tips from the MSPCA. The Humane Society of the U.S. has a list of tips on how to trim a cat’s claws.

Editor’s Note: I would appreciate it if you subscribe. It’s free and I publish twice a month.

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