Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cats

Declaw Your Cats : One of the issues of cat ownership is whether you should declaw your cats. Many will tell you it’s a cruel and unusual punishment. There just might be a reason to declaw a cat, though. But before you make that choice, here’s some information about declawing.


Declaw Your Cats
Photo By: Eva Prokop

Before you make the decision to declaw your cats, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat’s claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat’s claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”. When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.

Your cat’s body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility, and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

What Is the Procedure Like to Your Declaw Your Cats

Basically, what happens when declaw your cats is an entire claw is removed, along with a piece of the bone. If you don’t remove the bone too, then the claw will try to grow back. There are a few different procedures which are done, but the best way to do it is to remove as little bone as possible when declaring a cat.

Some believe that this procedure is very painful for the cat. There could be complications after, too. Any surgical procedure has the potential of causing complications. If cats are born with claws, then they really should keep them barring some complications or conditions.

Why Would a Cat NEED to Be Declared

There are medical reasons to declaw a cat. If the claw is damaged beyond repair, then it will be more beneficial for the cat to have it removed. Also, tumors may create the need for a cat to be declawed. This procedure should be avoided as much as possible, though.

Sometimes a cat owner might have to declaw a cat because it would be dangerous medically for the cat owner to get scratched by a cat. People with suppressed immune systems or people on blood thinners can’t be exposed to the bacteria on a cat’s claw.

Most of the time, however, people get their cats declawed to prevent them from scratching up the furniture.

What Alternatives Are There to Declawing for a Scratching Cat?

If you are dealing with a cat who likes to scratch, before you jump to declaring you should consider other options. Declawing should be a last resort. To stop a cat from scratching your furniture, you need to train him to scratch on a scratching post instead. This can be harder to do with an adult cat. However, putting some packing tape on the couch or chair where a cat likes to scratch will deter him from doing it to the furniture and you can redirect him to the scratching post.

You realize that declawing is too drastic a solution, but you’re still concerned about keeping your household furnishings intact. Is there an acceptable solution? Happily, the answer is yes. A big, joyful, humane YES! Actually, there are several. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I’ve found is Soft Paws

Soft Paws are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat’s front claws. They’re great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can’t exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post.

Okay, we know packing tape isn’t ideal to have on your furniture, but it’s better than scratched-up furniture. And once you get the cat consistently using the scratching post you can likely remove the tape.

If your cat is scratching people, then regular trimming of his nails will help with that. However, he might then turn his attention to your furniture, so make sure you have a scratching post at the ready if you’re going to start regular trimmings.

If all else fails, declawing your cats is better than trying to rehome a cat. So if you have exhausted every option to redirect the scratching or you have a medical problem which requires you to get your cat declawed, then do it. However, make sure it’s done with the least amount of bone being removed.

If you have a declawed cat, he must remain an indoor cat. If a cat does not have his claws, then he has lost all defenses against predators outdoors. So if you’re not prepared to keep your cat as an indoor cat and you can’t keep the cat with claws, then you would be better off rehoming the cat.

Do you believe in declawing your cats?

Questions or Comments? Like to add to this website? Please feel free to e-mail me.

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