Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat
Today I am going to share with you some very good reasons why you should never declaw your cat. A lot of people think that declawing a cat is the right thing to do without realizing the consequences of their cat being without claws. Please bare with me for some simple facts.
** Declawing a cat is not a simple procedure. **
It is major surgery that involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
Declawing your cat is very painful. It is a form of mutilation and it is illegal in fourteen countries. It has serious side affects, and it’s not even necessary. Yet, 31% of all cat owners in the United States have their cats declawed. If you are considering the same fate for your cat, please make sure you have all the facts.
The after effects that your cat must suffer through include considerable pain, infection and tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.
More Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat
Declawing is not only unfair to your furry friend, but it is also cruel. Learn how to modify your cat’s behavior instead. Likewise, you can teach your cat to use his or her claws in a non-destructive manner.
Clawing is a natural and necessary thing for a cat to do. Cats need their claws for several reasons:
- Grooming is necessary to maintain health and cleanliness.
- Scratching and licking prevents the fur from tangling, removes dead skin and hair, and helps to waterproof their coat.
- Because cats require a lot of sleep, it is also necessary for them to stretch and exercise their muscles.
- Cats also need to scratch to help shed away the dead outer husk layer of the nail to expose the healthy nail underneath.
- Scratch marks are visual and olfactory territorial markers. The act of scratching deposits the cat’s scent from glands in their feet.
- Most importantly, a cat uses its claws to protect itself.
Cat Declawing Surgery
As I mentioned earlier, the surgery requires the amputation of the entire last joint of the toe. For a human, declawing a cat is equivalent to having the tips of the fingers cut off at the first joint below the fingernail. The amputation could be performed in one of two ways:
- Using a guillotine-type nail trimmer which cuts the joint between the last two bones of the toe;
- Using a scalpel blade to dissect between the two bones.
The wounds on each toe are then filled will surgical glue and held closed for several seconds to promote bonding. Several layers of bandages are applied while the cat recovers from anesthesia. The bandages are removed before the cat goes home. Unfortunately, several toes usually need to be cleaned and re-glued which is extremely painful to the cat who is no longer under anesthesia.
Another method used for declawing a cat is laser surgery, in which a small, intense beam of light cuts through tissue by heating and vaporizing it. However, it’s still the amputation of the last toe bone of the cat and carries with it the same long-term risks of lameness and behavioral problems as does declawing with scalpels or clippers.
Post Surgery Recovery
Following the surgery, the cat will experience pain for several days and often exhibit elevated blood pressure, an increased pulse rate, fever, and limping as evidence that pain exists. Complications such as bleeding, swelling and infection may also occur.
The cat goes will have trouble walking for a few days, and the caregiver must use a special litter made out of recycled newspaper to avoid infection. The surgery is considered to be moderately to severely painful. One vet described:
“cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by the overwhelming pain” (Dodman).
There is also speculation that behavioral problems may arise in cats that undergo declaw surgery such as biting and personality changes. Because the cat no longer has its claws for protection, he or she may overcompensate for the loss by biting. The cat may also become withdrawn or stressed due to the loss of its claws. The stress could be caused by many things including the inability to simply jump onto an object, like a chair or couch or bed, and hold on with its claws. Even the joy of playing will be altered because the cat will no longer be able to grasp string or other toys with its claws.
Yet More Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat
If putting your loving cat through the anguish is not enough to change your mind about declawing your cat, there are significant medical reasons why you should never declaw your cat.
- An onychectomy is major surgery. There is a risk involved with subjecting a cat to the physical stress of anesthesia and the strain of surgery.
- There is also a risk that substandard surgical techniques can result in shattered bones, hemorrhaging, and regrowth of the nail in a deformed manner that is hard to treat later.
- X-rays of the bone structure of the cat’s legs before and after declawing show a marked difference that’s caused by his having to balance himself unnaturally. Without the nails, physical stress is placed on the legs, where it wasn’t intended to be.
- From an emotional standpoint, the added long-term stress and frustration can cause chronic cystitis (bladder infection) or skin disorders.
- If a cat experiences any or several of these side affects, the additional veterinary costs, in addition to the initial surgery, will well exceed any monetary loss due to damage in the home.
Alternatives to Declawing your cat
There is another procedure you may hear mentioned called a flexor tenectomy. In the flexor tenectomy surgery, the tendon that enables a cat to extend its claws is severed. The cat is then prevented from extending its claws, which dramatically decreases the amount of damage the cat can inflict, as long as the owner keeps the cat’s claws trimmed. However, similar to the declaw surgery, the tendon surgery can have serious side-affects from the incidence of bleeding, lameness, and infection.
Some owners will STILL argue that there are valid reasons to have a cat declawed. Perhaps the person should decide against owning a cat at all. If such a person still wants a feline companion, they should consider adopting an already declawed cat. If they already own a cat with claws, they should consider placing their cat up for adoption in exchange for one without claws. There is no good reason to declaw a cat, other than rare medical conditions involving problems with a cat’s claws that require such treatment.
What You Can Do Instead of Opting For Surgery
Is your cat scratching up your furniture? Do some research into how to modify the cat’s behavior. Here are a few things that you can try:
- Keep his claws trimmed to minimize damage to household items.
- Provide stable scratching posts and boards around your home. Offer different materials like carpet, sisal, wood, and cardboard, as well as different styles (vertical and horizontal). Use toys and catnip to entice your cat to use the posts and boards.
- Ask your veterinarian about soft plastic caps (like Soft Paws®) that are glued to the cat’s nails. They need to be replaced about every six weeks.
- Attach a special tape (like Sticky Paws®) to furniture to deter your cat from unwanted scratching.
There is a lot of information on the Internet these days that can guide you with modifying your cat’s behavior. If you have been thinking of declawing your cat, I hope that these reasons why you should never declaw your cat has made an impression on you. Here’s to your success and to your cat’s peace of mind as well.
Thank you for reading.
I hope you have enjoyed, “Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat“
DID YOU KNOW? Declawing is an unnecessary surgery, which provides no medical benefit to the cat. Yet 31% of all cat owners in the U.S. have their cats declawed. Please don’t subject your cat to this unnecessary and cruel procedure.
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