Alley Cat Allies has stood strong against the cruel and crippling practice of cat declawing since our founding in 1990, while rallying advocates around the United States to take action against it. In 2022, we took the next step in this critical, lifesaving work with a special collaboration with the Paw Project, an organization with a singular goal to end feline declawing.
Alley Cat Allies has worked with the Paw Project for years to inspire people nationwide to raise their voice for declawing bans. Landmark statewide bans in New York and Maryland are two of the highest achievements. With this new collaboration, we are not only spreading vital education on the disturbing facts about declawing, but salvaging and repairing to the best of veterinary ability the paws of cats who suffered this debilitating procedure.
“We are absolutely shifting the needle in the understanding of how unacceptable declawing is in the veterinary profession,” said Dr. Jennifer Conrad, founder and director of the Paw Project. “Thanks to the support from Alley Cat Allies, we are helping cats who endure lifelong pain from this mutilation, while also bringing around more veterinarians to the realization that this is not a procedure that belongs in their practice.”
Paw Repair Gives Declawed Cats a New Start
For those who do not know the true facts about declawing, the reality of the process can be a shocking and deeply upsetting wakeup call. While human nails grow out of our skin, cats’ claws grow out of bone. That means removing their claws involves removing bone—like cutting a person’s finger off at the last knuckle.
For Pasha, a beautiful and regal Persian cat, and many other declawed cats like her, that amputation has led to chronic, lifelong pain. Pasha experienced so much discomfort in her paws—because declawing permanently disfigures the paw’s nerve endings—that she avoided the litterbox entirely. She lost her home as a result and was scheduled to be killed in a Northern California shelter.
Litterbox issues and aggression, both of which are common results of declawing, are the primary reason cats are relinquished to shelters, where many will be killed.
Pasha was saved through Alley Cat Allies’ collaboration with the Paw Project, and finally received the regular pain management she needed. With the right pain treatment—with Gabapentin at the forefront—Pasha had a complete reversal in her behavior, and could finally be the happy, thriving cat she’s always deserved to be.
With our funding, we can ensure Pasha has the targeted treatment she needs as she starts her new life. Right now, she’s looking for a forever home!
Cubby, a little calico, needed intense paw repair surgery due to injuries related to her declawing. Alley Cat Allies covered the cost for it all, including procedures to salvage the skin on and around her paws. Without this critical treatment, Cubby may have had to live her life on only 3 legs.
Instead, Cubby is enjoying a new life in Southern California with a family who loves her.
Taking the Fight Against Declawing Nationwide
This year, Alley Cat Allies has helped the Paw Project work with anti-declawing veterinarians across the country to provide paw repair surgeries for 15 cats as of this writing, and with more to come. Many more cats need the surgery.
Typically, these repairs are performed on cats who were declawed at a young age. When kittens are declawed, often the entire bone attached to the nail is not removed. In these cases, there is a good chance the nail will start to grow back again under the skin—leading to abscesses and other dangerous and painful medical issues.
With paw repair or revision surgery, these issues are treated, risk of the nail growing back is removed, and the paw is salvaged as much as possible. Though the cats will always live with the impact of declawing, we are making their lives as normal and pain-free as we can.
The only way to ensure cats never have to suffer like Pasha and Cubby is to make declawing illegal in every community. That has always been Alley Cat Allies’ goal, and the reason we work with organizations like the Paw Project and advocates around the nation to educate the public and pass laws outlawing declawing.
In addition to providing more paw repair surgeries, our grant to the Paw Project is helping to educate up-and-coming veterinarians and veterinary students about the dangers of declaw surgery, teaching them why every veterinary clinic should refuse to declaw.
These veterinarians are the future of the field, and we are encouraging them to follow the lead of their colleagues and major veterinary hospital chains like Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl Pet Hospitals that have banned declawing in their practices.
More states and cities around the country are starting to consider their own bills to ban cat declawing. We will speak out in favor of those bills and rally advocates to contact their legislators in support. Watch our Action Center for ways you can act and share our resources about declawing.
Our lifesaving collaboration with the Paw Project and our tireless work to end declawing once and for all are only possible because of our supporters like you. Your gift today ensures we can continue this vital campaign.