Painful and traumatic, declawing is really 10 separate amputations in which the last joint of every single toe gets cut off along with the nail. Declawing a cat is the equivalent of cutting a person's fingers off at the first knuckle and leads to gradual weakening of cats' legs, shoulders, and back muscles. Declawed cats are more likely to have behavior "problems" such as avoiding the litterbox and biting, and they are commonly surrendered to shelters by frustrated guardians.
Germany and other parts of Europe have outlawed declawing as a form of cruelty, and many conscientious veterinarians in the U.S. refuse to declaw because they realize that all someone needs to do to save their furniture (or whatever other lame excuse people come up with to justify mangling their kitties) is take the time to simply trim their cats' nails and buy proper scratching posts.
The Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Berkeley city councils will be considering or voting on declawing bans this week, so please tell anyone you know in these cities to send an urgent e-mail to their councilmembers today.