Many people believe that declawing a cat is the surgical removal of the cat’s nails which is false. There are few alternatives before deciding to declaw a cat.
Declawing is mainly performed in the United States and in England, considered “inhumane” and an “unnecessary mutilation”. In fact, declawing is illegal or considered inhumane in many countries throughout the world, including over 12 European nations, Australia and Brazil. Many veterinarians in the United States no longer perform declaw surgery.
Important facts about declawing:
- is not a manicure
- is a serious surgery
- a cat’s claw is not a toenail
A cat’s claw adheres to bone – so closely adhered to the bone, that to declaw the cat, the last bone of the cat’s claw has to be removed! Declawing is an amputation of the last joint of the cat’s “toe”. Liken this to having your finger cut off to the last joint.
Most veterinarians that perform declaws will only declaw a cat under a year old. After that age, it is more difficult on the cat; longer recovery time and unfavorable behavioral changes (i.e., litter box issues, aggression). Declawing is a painful surgery and during the recovery period, the cat still has to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Therefore, most veterinarians insist younger cats tolerate this procedure better than the older ones and will often combine this surgery with the spay/neuter procedure.
A cat is designed for grace and agility. Its claws are an important design part – climbing, holding prey, and defense (the back claws). Removing claws deprives a cat of its primary means of defense – leaving a cat susceptible to predators if it were to get loose or a natural disaster.
If you are at your wits end and can find no other way to keep your cat from scratching maine coon cats for sale a favorite rug or destroying that new, expensive couch, consider the following before declawing.
Alternatives to Declawing
- Scratching posts – Not all cats instinctively know how to use a scratching post. It is easy to teach a cat to use one by gently placing the cat’s front paws on the cat post and simulate the scratching motion several times on the post. Do this a few times a day and after you do this, immediately give the cat a favorite treat and praise. The best scratching post has “sisal rope” wrapped around the tube. Carpeted posts often encourage the cat to scratch your carpet.
- ” Cat Scratching Solutions ” provides many solutions as well as insight into the psychology of why cats scratch.
- Trim claws. Keep a cat’s claws trimmed short (which you should do anyway, regardless if your cat uses a scratching post or not).
- There are lightweight, vinyl nail caps glued onto the cat’s front claws. They are available in clear and a rainbow of colors (in case you want to play beauty parlor). A great solution for employed owners who do not have the necessary time to teach a cat to use a scratching post or have small children that could accidentally scratched. They are easy to apply and last about 4-6 weeks until the nail grows out and then apply a new set.
- Don’t declaw! Don’t make declawing your first choice, it should always be the last choice.
- Understand your cat’s need to scratch.
- Forget punishment–it doesn’t work. In fact, if you use physical punishment it may backfire on you and the cat will start “showing” you their displeasure (i.e.,. urinating on your pillow) or they may start biting you and others.
- Provide a suitable place for your cat to scratch.
- Make the scratching post attractive to your cat or kitten (i.e., use scratching posts that have sisal rope on the scratching area).
- Make the place your cat or kitten was using unattractive (i.e., using a physical or scent deterrent). Physical deterrent means use a spray bottle with water in it to startle the cat when it is IN the act of scratching an inappropriate item. Scents – most cats do not like the smell of citrus products, apply lemon or orange scented items on the areas you do not wish your cat to scratch.
- When possible, start cats young and show them the correct place to scratch.
- Routinely trim your cat’s claws.
- For indoor cats, consider Soft Paws® as extra insurance, or an easy alternative.