Toronto Cat Rescue

Declawing: When to do it and when not to do it

Written By: Alex D. – TCR Volunteer.

If your attention span is very short, I will stick the main point of this article – there is never a right time to declaw your kitty. I know most of us already know the process and the risk undertaken with such surgery procedures, but for those of us that don’t or need a refresher here are some facts.

We cannot show you any relevant declawing pics here, so we have replaced them with happy kitty shots. (Note: they are happy because nobody cut off part of their bones). Seriously though, do not Google image search “declawing”… it’s not cool and once you see the images, you cannot un-see them.

Huey doesn't want to be declawed

Feel free to share this information with any other kitty owners. Umm, make that, as a TCR helper it is your duty to share this information with kitty owners out there. Ok, now to the facts:

• It hurts – a lot. It is a painful surgical procedure with a very lengthy recovery time. Period.

• Recovery time is longer than you think; sometimes the cat never fully recovers. Unlike humans who can reason and who are pretty much at the top of the food chain (as long as that Jurassic Park thing never materializes), cats on the other hand have somewhat limited brain power. They can’t, and won’t, understand what happened to them, and why their primary method of defense has been removed. It’s like someone chopping off your arms and throwing you in the middle of the jungle.. with a lobotomy to boot. Now you will be in the same situation as a freshly declawed kitty.

• It is NOT the same process as trimming a pets nails. If you have ever given your pet a mani/pedi then you probably observed that it doesn’t bleed as long as you don’t cut too short. Click here for steps on clipping cats nails.

• A cat’s claw is not a simple nail like you have on your fingers and toes (ideally 10 on each). A cat’s claw is part of the paw’s bone structure. When the vet declaws, part of the bone has to be cut off. Now, think of the feeling if someone cut off part of your bones.

• Recovery time is exacerbated by the cat’s need to walk, stand up, and pretty much live their daily life. Cats don’t have hospital beds, wheelchairs, nor rehabilitation centers. Although some cartoon cats are the exception.

• Cats don’t have an infinite supply of pain meds, muscle relaxants, sleeping aids etc. We don’t yet have the technology to translate the different tones of ‘meow’ into “something hurts”, “something hurts over here”, “I can’t sleep”, “I have a migraine” – last one applicable only to female kitties, after their life partner goes tomcatting around the neighborhood.

Austin playing with Pierre vs. scratching your couch

All of the above translate into tremendous psychological trauma for the kitty. And for the sake of time we’ll ignore all other problems that may also occur, such as post-op infections, litter box issues, hissing. If your sofa is that much more precious to you than your companion, then make a decision and only keep one: the kitty or the sofa. Try to find someone who will adopt your cat that won’t put him through so much hardship.

So, what can I do sir vs. declawing? Searching the internet can yield numerous solutions from special scratching posts to elastic claw caps. Kitties with a play-friend or sibling are also less prone to scratching furniture. Whatever option you try, it is most important that you actually spend time with your cat. Like all training, you need to dedicate time. It doesn’t take long and only your physical presence can ensure the best results.

Learn & Share:

1. Talking to your vet is strongly recommended. They will be able to confirm all the points above.

2. More Information: Read TCR’s one pager on DECLAWING CATS. Check out, which has useful links for alternative solutions to declawing.

3. If you want a declawed companion, please adopt a cat that has already been declawed by their previous owner, see our Available Cats section.

Toronto Cat Rescue believes the practice of declawing is a form of mutilation. We DO NOT declaw ANY cat.

Introducing Healthy Mandy and Kim… plus a very hefty vet bill

Update: Mandy & Kim have been adopted!

Mandy and Kim are a bonded pair of pretty nine-year old sisters that were surrendered to TCR when their owner had to move into a shelter. They are lovely, sweet and quiet girls that deserve all the love in the world. Since coming into our program, TCR has spent over $8,000 in medical bills to treat a persistent skin infection, ensuring they are healthy for their forever family. They have spent four months in a treatment program and have been little gems, but what they really need is a secure home to call their own – together of course!  Mandy and Kim deserve only the best home after all that they have been through; someone declawed them in their lifetime, and they were abandoned late in their lives for reasons beyond anything they did or did not do.  Please give these loving ladies their forever home.

Mandy is a stunning girl with her long colourful hair.  Mandy loves to lick everything and enjoys being patted!!  She is very sweet and enjoys spending her time indoors watching the world around her.  She is very quite and should go to a home without other cats (except Kim of course!).  She grew up around two children, but has never been in the company of dogs.

Kim is a sweet and affectionate lady. She is comfortable around other cats (although Mandy is not) and grew up in a home with children.  She purrs all the time and keeps herself occupied by playing with her toys.  Kim loves to have her ears and chin scratched and she enjoys being patted and cuddled.  She will complete any family looking for a little extra love!

TCR is desperately in need of donations to help cover the $8,000 vet bills that have been spent making Kim and Mandy well. We always do everything possible for the cats in our care, but it can be hard to sustain our foster program when we rely solely on adoption fees and donations. If you are able donate towards their hefty bill, please click here for Ways to Donate, or via our Cat Sponsorship page.  Please make a note that your donation is to go towards “Mandy & Kim’s Medical Bill” as we are tracking our progress via the fancy Fundraising Thermometer below!  We hope to reach our goal of $8,000 as quickly as possible, as there are always so many cats needing our help.  Check back to monitor our progress, but we will post an update next Saturday. A special thanks from Kim & Mandy!

Fundraising Thermometer

New Affiliated TCR Pet Store!

Pet Valu: Keele & Wilson

We have very exciting news, Pet Valu located at Keele Street & Wilson Avenue in Toronto has partnered with TCR to foster cats in their lovely store!

TCR does not use pet stores as a shelter; instead they act as a temporary placement to give cats extra exposure outside of their foster homes, thus increasing their chances of being adopted.

Sweetheart Sam!

Update: Sweet Sam has been adopted!

Sam, a six year old long haired calico, is currently being fostered at the new store.  Sam was surrendered to TCR after her elderly owner passed away.  She was very traumatized after her world got turned upside down, but she is gaining her confidence back with each day.  Sam is a gentle, sweet girl that loves nothing more than to be scratched and petted.  She will push her entire body into your hand asking for more and drools when she is happy.  She has been shaved as her owner was unable to regularly brush her long coat.  Sam loves her new look and feels great now that she is no longer matted.  Sam has a runny eye which has been treated with antibiotics, however the vet believes that it will continue to clear up with a good diet and less stress.  It does not bother her at all but does need to be wiped occasionally.  Sam is fine with other cats but would be just as happy as your only feline companion.  Her new family should set up a sanctuary room to help her settle into her new home as she can become overwhelmed with new situations and hide.  She is not used to a lot of noise and commotion, so a quiet adult only home would be her preference.

Thank-you Pet Valu for helping Sam and many future cats find their loving forever families!