Yes, it is cruel based on the dictionary definition of the word "cruelty" and based on the law as enacted in the United Kingdom and across most of old Europe. The word "cruelty" means "causing pain or suffering". Declawing indisputably causes pain and suffering. Although nearly all the veterinarians who do the declaw operation would deny that it causes pain and suffering.
The vet admits that it is an operation that leaves a lot of pain because these days they give lots of pain killing medication after the operation. In the past they did not. Veterinary technicians report post operative cats behaving in ways that clearly indicate that they are in severe pain despite the pain killers. There is blood everywhere and a great of distress for the cat. Surely this meets the definition of cruel behavior on the part of the vet and the cat owner?
There is also the fact that putting a cat under a general anesthetic is dangerous in itself. I read somewhere that there is a 1 in 100 chance of a cat dying under anesthetic. That is a compounding factor. The figure might be 1 in 1000 but there is also the risk of suffering an injury such as brain damage under anesthetic. Potentially more pain and suffering supporting the argument that declawing a cat is cruel.
There are complications after declawing.
Then there is the generally unknown effect the operation has on the cat's mentality. How does the cat feel after the operation and for the remainder of his or her life? We don't know for sure. If we don't know what the negative effects are on a cat's mental state it is surely cruel to operate. It is reckless to operate.
All these factors are recognised by animal welfare laws in many European countries, which in effect ban declawing. So on the basis that laws reflect the will of the people through the democratic process, up to 731,000,000 people, the population of Europe think that declawing is cruel! I think I have proved that declawing a cat is cruel.
One last point. The cruelty is always done for the convenience of the cat owner. It is not medically necessary to declaw a cat. Yet people still support it and ask whether it is cruel or inhumane.
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