Declawing Cats – Facts and Answers Before Considering Declawing Your Cat
April 27th, 2018
Many people mistakenly believe that declawing their feline friends is standard procedure and a quick fix for unwanted scratching. Did you know that this practice has been banned in many countries? Declawing is a painful procedure often resulting in lasting behavioral and physical problems for your cat. The Humane Society of the United States opposes declawing except for medical necessity such as the removal of a severely damaged nail or the presence of a tumor.
What Does Declawing Involve?
Before deciding on declawing your cat, you need to consider some facts. Declawing is not like getting a manicure or trimming nails. It is a major, painful surgery with a painful recovery period. Your kitty’s claw adheres to the bone, so to remove it, the procedure virtually amputates the last joint of your cat’s toes using a scalpel or a guillotine clipper. If performed on a human being, it’s like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
Negative Effects of Declawing
There are many drawbacks to declawing, including pain, infection, lameness, and back pain. In some cases, improperly removed claws can result in regrowth, nerve damage, and bone spurs.
During the recovery period, it's best to use shredded newspaper in the litterbox to avoid irritation. The unfamiliar litter substitute along with pain may result in your cat no longer wanting to use the litterbox. Some cats feel defenseless without their claws and become more likely to bite. Declawing your furry friends may cause lasting physical and behavioral problems.
Tips for Stopping Unwanted Scratching
If you want solutions to protect yourself and your furniture from scratching, there are humane alternatives to declawing. Cats scratch different things for a variety of reasons. They do so to remove dead husks from their claws, to mark their territory, and to stretch their muscles. Kittens typically start scratching when they are about eight weeks old, which is the ideal time to start training them to use scratching posts and to trim their nails.
There are different types of scratching posts available, so may want to consider trying several different kinds to find the right one. Keep in mind that some cats are climbers, while some prefer the floor; a tall tree-like scratching post would suit the former, while a low post or a corrugated cardboard scratcher may suit the latter. Some cats like carpeted posts, while others prefer sisal rope; bare wood (such as driftwood) is popular as well. You can encourage your cat to use their scratching posts by placing toys or sprinkling them with catnip. Look for products at your pet supply store designed to discourage your kitty from scratching furniture. There are strips you can apply to your furniture or sprays you can use on surfaces to deter cats from scratching.
If all else fails, there are soft plastic caps available (like Soft Paws®) that you can glue to your cat's nails to prevent human injury or damage to property. They typically require replacement about every six weeks.
Don't Subject Your Cat to Unnecessary Procedures
Visit us at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital in the Kirkland area to learn more about alternatives to declawing your cat. We are all about keeping your furry friend purr-fectly healthy and happy for years to come. We look forward to caring for your feline friend!
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