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Old June 5th, 2011, 09:12 PM
Twocents Twocents is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SW Ontario
Posts: 78
Exclamation Declawing & litter box avoidance

Inappropriate Urination (IE) or peeing outside the litter boxes can have many causes.

I talked with our new enlightened vet about several things & he agrees that IE isn't always a territorial issue. Fearful, sub-dominant cats can also have IE. Pain can cause it, & like others have mentioned, stress & a bad experience in or near the litter box can cause it as well. Our vet is also in agreement that declawed cats often have problems with IE but most vets are unaware of or ignore the connection. Because of this, the public is largely unaware of the problems declawing can cause.

Many rescue groups & shelters DO see the connection.
They agree that declawed cats are more likely to suffer from inappropriate urination. Cats that have this problem are sometimes abused, abandoned, relinquished to shelters, re-homed or put to sleep. This consequence of declawing can be avoided by educating about it & hopefully making declaw surgery obsolete.

Lisa James writes:

"I am a cat rescuer. I have worked in the rescue field for 19 years. In that time frame we have had cats from domestic to purebred come through our doors.

99% of declawed cats are turned into animal shelters for one of two behavioral problems. The more rare one is biting. The major one is litter box aversion. Of these cats who will no longer use the box, some can be re-trained, but it takes time, patience, creativity in the owner's imagination, & quite possibly confining in progressively smaller spaces till the cat "gets it" again. Others will never be able to be retrained, despite these methods, & are put to sleep..."
Rest of this article is at

There's an excellent article called "The Declaw Dilemma" that also explains that declawed cats suffer from behaviour problems. It offers rescues & shelters a few great tips about good ways to educate about declawing, - Includes Canadian examples.

Canadian cat rescue group Cats Anonymous, in Orton, Ontario writes:

"...Through the years, we have seen many declawed cats surrendered to our shelter for behaviour issues that can be related to being declawed. Over the past two years, 75% of the declawed cats that were surrendered to us had behavioural problems. In that same time frame, only 4% of clawed cats were surrendered to us for the same behavioural reasons. I think those statistics speak for themselves. Studies show that declawing is a very painful procedure that can lead to long term issues .... both physical and emotional."
From page 8 of their Spring 2010 newsletter, article "Paws for Thought... The Declaw Issue",

Holistic vet Dr. Jean Hofve, on her site "Little Big Cat" ( has a lot of good info about feline health, wellness & behaviour. Behaviourist Jackson Galaxy has some helpful article there too (also on his own site,

Dr. Jean has been publishing data about the harmful effects of declawing for a few years now.

"Declawing and Science", - Refutes the veterinary associations' claims that declawing is not harmful & helps keep cats in homes:

In the most credible, long-term studies, the data show that up to 1/3 of declawed cats develop behavior problems after declawing.

One study documented that 33% of cats developed behavior problems (house soiling or biting) after being declawed. This was the longest follow-up period (5 years) ever studied. (Yeon SC, Flanders JA, Scarlett JM, et al. Attitudes of owners regarding tendonectomy and onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43-47.)

While declawing (as a single variable) appears to “save cats’ homes,” analysis using a more reliable statistical method (that accounts for all variables) shows that declawed cats are nearly twice as likely to be relinquished to a shelter than clawed cats (actual odds 1.89 to 1, range 1-3.58). (Patronek, GJ, Glickman LT, Beck AM, et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:582–588.) From

"Physical Consequences of Declawing" by Jean Hofve, DVM

"Declawing changes the way the cat’s paws function, and this creates stress on the joints of the paw, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and spine. The cat’s gait changes, as weight is shifted backward from the toes to the large rear pad of the paw.

Research has demonstrated that, after declawing, cats shift their entire weight more toward the hind legs. This is quite a feat, considering that the front legs normally bear about 60% of the cat’s entire weight.

Within 6 months or so, normal weight distribution among the four legs is restored to pre-surgery values. However, changes and stresses within the paw persist and may even worsen due to normal contracture of the severed tendons due to scar tissue formation.

Over time, this altered stress can contribute to the development of arthritis. [This is painful.]

In most older declawed cats, the toes are completely “frozen,” immovable even under deep anesthesia.

Declawing causes observable changes to the cat’s anatomy that are not only visible on radiographs (x-rays) but are obvious to anyone who cares to see them." See photos & x-rays comparing normal cat to declawed ones,
More data & info on declawing at Little Big Cat,

"Save Our Paws!" site has lots of newer info and links about toe amputations (declawing),

Declaw Repair Surgery:

"Inappropriate elimination with no other identifiable cause" is one indication a declawed cat might benefit from declaw repair surgery. Declaw repair surgery could help save cats lives if they might otherwise be put to sleep. Dr. Ronald Gaskin does not declaw cats & wishes declaw surgery was no longer available. He has info about how to tell which cats might benefit from declaw repair surgery and has info for vets about it online (videos, PowerPoint presentation),

If we make this information available to the public and veterinarians, then people could see that declawing causes more problems than it solves.

It's already illegal in many other countries, including those who belong to the EU (European Union).

"Regarding tolerance for declawing in veterinary practice, the United States [and Canada are] unusual compared with European countries. Declawing is illegal in many countries around the world, because it is regarded as inhumane. There is growing support of the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which prohibits declawing...

Further support for the enactment of laws prohibiting declawing has been expressed by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, whose convention calling for an end to non-therapeutic surgeries, including declawing, ear cropping and tail docking, has been ratified by veterinary associations from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, British Columbia, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Uruguay."
Paw Project FAQs,,
European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, Wikipedia,

Please consider joining the open group on Facebook called "The International Coalition Against Declawing",
It offeris information & humane alternatives.
What part of "Meow" don't you understand?

We can be part of the problem or part of the solution. Inaction is part of the problem.
Please advocate for animals.
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