Declawing cats has gotten a bad rap, with a number of communities considering banning the procedure. But what about laser declawing? This method of removing cat’s claws is touted by some as more humane than traditional declawing surgeries. So is it?
Not so much, said Louise Murray, the director of medicine at the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. “The difference is that instead of using a metal surgical blade, [the vet] uses a laser to cut the tissue. It’s like using a lightsaber instead of a sword,” Murray told Paw Nation.
But whether it’s done by laser or by scalpel, declawing is a painful procedure that removes the last joint of a cat’s toes, she said. The term “declawing,” makes it sound gentler than it is. “It really should be called digit amputation,” she added. “There is no way to make this not be a painful surgery.Besides the pain of the procedure itself, cats can suffer from complications long after they’ve healed. They may feel phantom pain in their missing toes, or develop neuromas, swelling on the nerves that were severed during the surgery. And, Murray said, declawed cats often become moody and aggressive, and can turn to biting — either because they’re experiencing pain, or feel defenseless without claws, or both.