It is a serious shame when you can't call inhumane treatment of a cat inhumane because... um.. because..
Wait, why do people defend this practice? I know that there are people out there who have declawed cats who had no real idea what the procedure was before they had it done. I don't blame them at all. Vets who declaw cats do not tell you what the procedure actually entails. If you currently have a declawed cat, I do not think less of you, but I would like to warn you of possible complications of the declaw surgery and to be aware that even if your cat is 'just fine' now in time it can lead to some pretty severe complications. Being aware and being proactive are two very important steps to keeping your kitty happy and healthy for life.
If you don't know what declawing entails, there are a lot of very graphic explanations out there. I have a fairly high tolerance for this kind of discussion, and I've run across a few things that turn my stomach so I am not going to share them here. A simple google or youtube search will show you more than you might want to know.
Vets who declaw defend their practice saying that cats are just fine after they heal. They discount the long-term complications and the behavioral changes that occur, simply because they don't happen in every single cat. When I worked at a vet office, I spent some time marking files of the cats that were declawed so we didn't offer them a nail trim. I also marked the charts when a cat or dog was a 'caution' and needed a bit more care from the vet. Not every declawed cat was a caution cat, but every caution cat was a declawed cat. The prevailing belief as to why is that cats know that their first line of defense is missing, so they are quicker to bite to warn you when you upset them. Bites are far more dangerous for us humans than a scratch.
The argument that we need to declaw cats for people who are immunocompromised does not hold water. Adult cats in a safe and loving home do not randomly scratch their owners. If you know your cat, you know how to treat them so they are comfortable and do not scratch. General nail trims from time to time will keep accidental scratches in check. Nail caps, such as soft paws, can keep claws from doing any damage at all.
The argument that you need to declaw additional cats to a home with a declawed cat also does not hold water. If you have two cats who would claw one another, you have far bigger problem than the fact that one has claws and one doesn't and you need a feline behaviorist to help you restore peace..
What can you do to help prevent declawing? If you live in New York, please visit the Paw Project and learn how you can support anti-declaw legislation. There are several municipalities in the US that already ban declawing, but getting New York to do it would be a huge win for Team Cat.
If you can, change vets to one who has pledged to not declaw. If you can't, have a conversation with your vet and let them know you are against declawing. It might not make them stop, but if enough people tell them it might make them consider it. You can visit the Paw Project website for additional steps you can take, and most of them don't take much time at all.
Finally, watch the movie The Paw Project. It is available in many different formats from Amazon to Netflix. It is also on YouTube. Or you can get it on YouTube directly from the Paw Project for $1.99 and support them financially. It will really help you understand the argument that the time for declawing cats has got to come to an end.