To Declaw or Not to Declaw Your Cat

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You love your cat, and you adore playing with it. However, your love sometimes seems to vanish when your cat unexpectedly scratches you seriously, leaving you in pain, or when it damages your furniture by its incessant scratching. At such times, you end up contemplating a permanent solution for your woes – declawing your cat.

What is declawing and is it painful?
Unlike in human beings, cats’ nails are a segment of their toe’s last bones. In simple words, the procedure of declawing a cat involves cutting off the cat’s last bone of each toe. If we imagine the gruesome scenario of our own fingers being amputated at the last knuckle, we would get the answer to the is-declawing-painful question vividly – yes.

Declawing can be carried out using a number of methods. While the last bone can be cut off using a medical instrument such as a scalpel, it can also be amputated using laser. In contrast to the first method, the laser procedure prevents excessive blood loss and offers a speedier recovery. However, it is still painful for the cat. In another technique called tendonectomy, as the name suggests, the tendons connected to the last bone are cut. This deters the paw function.

After the declawing procedure, the paw wounds are stitched and bandaged, leaving the cat in discomfort and pain for the next few days. While the cat is recovering, the paws getting infected, especially from litter, is often a concern.

What are post-declawing effects in a cat?
Although declawing will get rid of your daily scratching problems, it may end up having permanent negative effects on your cat. Post declawing, if cats experience pain while using their litter box, they may end up avoiding its use altogether in the future. As claws are cats’ primary defending tools, declawing leaves them unable to protect themselves against other animals. Removing the claws also affects cats’ natural climbing ability. To defend themselves, declawed cats may resort to biting often, which may prove far more dangerous for cat owners than scratching. Declawed cats can also go through behavioral changes such as becoming anxious, hostile or introverted.

What are the humane ways to tackle cat scratching problems?

The first and foremost solution to your cat’s scratching problem is to trim its nails regularly. Another effective solution is to attach vinyl nail caps to your cat’s nails, also called Soft Paws. These allow cats to carry on their regular scratching movements but do not damage your furniture. To aid your cat’s scratching routine, install scratching posts at various locations in your house. You can also stick a two-way tape on your furniture that will discourage your cats from scratching it.

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