One common mistake I hear a lot is that people think that declawing is simply taking out the cat's nails. It is not, it is full on amputation of an entire joint of the cat's claws, so you can compare it to amputating the first joint of each of your fingers or toes.
It alters the way a cat walks, like it would with you if you'd have the first joints of your toes amputated. They have to relearn how to walk in a very unnatural and often painful way.
In this country it is acceptable animal cruelty for human convenience. This practice is banned in many countries for good reason.
Did you know that 95% of declawed cats in rescues and shelters are there because of the problems they developed because of declawing?
It can have serious consequences:
Back issues, because the cat can no longer walk the way it naturally does, it walks on stumps now and the body tries to adjust and it often results in other physical problems.
Litter box issues, because digging in clay litter hurts. They normally use their claws for that. They no longer have those so to prevent having to do painful digging they simply go outside the box.
Arthritis, because they now walk on stumps instead of on their claws, so it not only can cause severe arthritis on their paws over time which makes walking extremely painful, but also in the rest of their body.
ALTERNATIVES TO DECLAWING:
Don't get a cat. It's as simple as that. To mutilate a cat's body for your convenience is animal cruelty. I have no other words for it.
Soft Paws. These are little plastic caps you can glue over your cat's nails that prevent their scratching from doing any damage.
Scratching opportunities. Make sure your cat has horizontal and vertical scratching opportunities and TEACH them to use it. They should have a scratching pole high enough for them to stretch their bodies on when using it. I have many of those in my house. You can buy a special sissal rug like I have in my living room that they can use for scratching.
Training: Train your cat where it can and cannot scratch. Teach them how to use the scratchers in your house through the use of a teaser or laser toy. Be firm with them when they scratch where they are not supposed to.
Furniture protection. You can buy couch corner scratchers that you can attach or place around the corners of your couch where cats seem to like to scratch the most. You can also put double sided sticky tape or aluminum foil on the corners of your couch to prevent the cats from using it as a scratching pole.
And last but not least, clip your cat's nails on a regular basis so they are blunt. I clip my cat's nails every single week, which helps a lot to prevent damage from being done to furniture.