I’m definetly in the minority here, but I think declawing is fine IF you are smart about it. Our cat is declawed. She was an abandoned, very tiny kitten that we found in our apartment complex. We had to get her declawed considering we lived in an apartment. We had it done when she was pretty young (probably about 5-6 months old), had it done at the same time as we had her spayed, so she only had to be put under anesthesia once. We talked to the vet about the pros and cons of the surgery beforehand, and she told us that because she was young and light-weight that the risks associated with declawing were signicantly reduced (If the cat is over 8 lbs, I believe, they have to use stiches, which has a higher risk for pain and complications, but since she weighed about 7 lbs at the time, they only had to use glue to seal up the incisions) Post surgery, we both took a couple of days off work to be at home with her so she could recover properly. We replaced her regular litter with shredded newspaper for a couple of weeks (which she wasn’t thrilled about, but was still a good girl and went in the box) and watched her like a hawk to make sure she wasn’t climbing up or jumping on things. She limped around the house for a couple of days and I know she was in pain for a bit (but then again, who isn’t from surgery, be animal or human) but we gave her her pain medication regularly and did our best to make her as comfortable as possible. Within a week, she was running around the house like the psycho spazz that she is.
Our cat is incredibly spoiled-rotten and loved like no other. I think declawing has allowed me to have a better relationship with my cat. We really weren’t worried about having furniture ruined (she did ruin a few screen doors and windows, but that’s easily replaced) but she is a very affectionate cat that likes to knead, a lot, even as an adult. When we first got her, my whole body, including my neck was really scratched up. It hurts, and I don’t want to have to push my cat away because I don’t want to be scratched when she just wants to cuddle and be affectionate. She sleeps with us in our bed. She has no issues using the litter box. She nibbles a bit, but it’s almost always playful and gentle (she knows when she bites too hard), and that’s only because Daddy likes to rough house. We’ve had no issues with declawing her. I’m insulted that some people would call us horrible pet owners who don’t deserve to have a cat simply because we got her declawed. If you were to come visit us, you’d certainly see the contrary!
If we were to get another cat, would we do it again? It really depends. In our current situation, most likely yes, considering we are renting a house (and have the craziest, most anal-retentive land-lady). I know a lot of people would say “don’t get another cat until you buy a house” but our cat has severe seperation anxiety, so we are looking into getting her a companion while she’s still young so they can “grow up” together (Our cat Guinness is about 1.5 years old right now)
If you want to get your cat declawed, do it while they are young (I would never, ever declaw an older cat simply because it would be too tramutizing to adjust to not having claws when they’ve learned to climb and balance with them), only remove the front claws (so they still have some defenses if for some reason they get out) and to only do it to a strictly indoor-only cat. It is something to definetly talk to the vet about, and not a decision to make lightly.