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Declawing of Cats - I can't lie: there is a lot of negative press detailing the horrors of declawing your cat. I know that some of that press stems from bad experiences with less than qualified persons performing the surgery. Some of the bad press is from animal rights activists. Regardless of your political views on this topic, you should make certain you have an experienced and reputable vet.
You don't accept second best with your own health or the health of your children; don't settle for second best with the quality of your vet. Ask your vet about her experience level; how many times has he performed this operation; what is her success rate; has he had any failures; what is his/her personal opinions about the operation. Ask neighbors, friends, and local breeders who they use for their vet.
The most important step in declawing your pet, is to make certain you have a good vet.
If you care more about furniture and its looks than your cat, then you should not have a pet in the first place. Declawing is not an option, educate yourself!
Remember that declawing in some countries is actually illegal, such as in the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales)!
Declawing actually removes the first joint -- this is like removing the top joints of your fingers.
It is extremely painful and cats that are declawed become biters!
Besides, there are so many alternatives, there's no need whatsoever.
DO NOT DECLAW!
Declawing is completely unnecessary and unnatural and any reputable vet will tell you so would you remove a person's fingernails?
If you cared about your pet's health, you wouldn't declaw. Most vets are against the operation in all shapes and forms. There are much more humane methods to stopping furniture wreckage, such as clipping nails, scratching post training, and nail covers. All are easy and cost much less.
Declawing is removing the BONE from the knuckle down. Imagine trying to walk if your toes were practically boneless. It's legalized (although probably not for long) animal cruelty.