Tag Archives: declawing

Why Shouldn’t I Declaw my Cat?

For this edition, I’d like to take the time to answer the most common question that I have received over the past year or so. This question was asked by about 30 of our readers from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Nail Trimming as an Alternatives to declawing cats

The question we are trying to answer is:  What is the best way to deal with my cats claws? Is declawing a cat the right thing to do? Are there any alternatives to declawing my cat?

Many of our readers ask this questions because they find that their cat will use furniture, carpet, rugs, or even wood trim as a scratching post. So if you don’t have a dedicated cat scratching post start by getting one!

Many of our readers also say they are pressured by their family members to have their cats declawed so they can stop having their furniture or homes damaged by the darn cat!

The answer to the age old question of how to deal with your clawing cat can be answered by another one of our veterinarian readers who suggests that declawing is not a natural thing for a cat and is distinctly different than trimming our (human) nails.

Declawing has become one of the hottest debated subject among cat lovers, haters, and owers. Cats are born with claws for many reasons ranging from hunting, playing, and climbing. And because of these reasons they should keep their claws.

Annie writes, that she would never have her cat or another cat declawed again. After she de-clawed her first cat she noticed a distinct change in the cats behavior including problems balancing stress, proper use of the litter box, substituting biting for clawing, and many more. She also writes that she was present for the surgery and that the process seemed painful for the cat.


Declawing Impact on Cats and the human equivalent

Furthermore, when declawing a cat, it is far more than just trimming their nails.  The declawing process removes the section of bone from the cat’s paw where the claw would normally grow. To picture this on yourself would be the equivalent of having your fingertips chopped off.


Making the Scratching Post More Appealing to your Cat

Make sure that the scratching post that you provide your cat offers many different materials such as wood, fabric, or other textures. Understanding the areas that your cat likes ensure the proper use of the post. This includes having both horizontal as well as vertical scratching options.

Move the scratching post next to the areas where your cat is troubling your furniture. Give the cats an option between the naughty scratching area and the scratching post. You can even stack the deck in your favor by spraying or smothering the scratching post with catnip.

If making the post more desirable doesn’t work try making the furniture or troubled area less desirable. Cats detest areas covered with clear masking tape.


Final Option: Trimming your cat’s nails

I am a strong advocate for trimming your cat’s nails as a last resort. If your cat is a friendly lap kitty, then this task may be a breeze. If your cat is not such a people person it may be a good idea to take them to the veterinarian and pay to have their claws trimmed.

The benefits of trimming nails for your cat is to allow for the old claw tissue to be removed and regrown. If your cats nail tissue does not wear down and become replaced, the nail will grow into a very sharp spike causing nasty cuts to you and potentially your furniture and upholstery.

Many other options exist including a kitty nail claw cap. If your cat doesn’t like its nails being trimmed, try adding a soft pad to cover the nail spike.

How to Trim nails on a cat who doesn’t like their paws being touched

If you’re like our reader Austin, his cat doesn’t like their paws being touched. This makes trimming the nails extremely difficult. The trick he learned from his veterinarian was to hold the cat and slowly massage the cats paws when the cat is on your lap.  Feel the sharp tips of the nails by slowly pressing in the middle of the paw pad while you are massaging your kitties feet. As the nail is pressed outward, trim the clear section of the nail while leaving the pink area untrimmed.

Be sure to reward your cat after you trim their nails so they remember it as a pleasurable experience. That way next time, it will be that much easier.

Happy trimming!

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Declawing Surgery and Ethics

Many cat owners must decide whether or not to declaw their pets. Owners must realize that cat declawing is not a simple issue. Whether they realize it or not, there are short and long-term effects that declawing can have a cat. It is ultimately the owner’s decision, however, to weigh these issues and see whether or not declawing is necessary. Below are some of the issues that can be considered by cat owners. Keep in mind if your cat is causing you trouble you can always contact us to help you find a better home for it.

Why Cat’s Need Claws

First, it is important to consider what an Aby cat uses its claws for. They use them to mark their territory, and to survive. They also use them for their agility in jumping, chasing, and running. Their retractable claws help them establish good footing and balance. A cat will also use its claws for defense against predators. Often, an owner will only see a cat’s claws as the reason their sofa, carpet, or curtains are torn and ruined.

When a cat is declawed, it is not as simple as cutting off its toenails. A cat’s claws are attached to ligament, tendons, and bones. Removal of the claws is likened to amputating each finger of a human hand. Similarly, declawing cuts off the first bone of each of the cat’s toes. It is also a very painful recovery for the cat since it walks on these now tender paws. There is no pain medication given to the cat afterward since cats do not tolerate them well – so every step it takes will produce pain for some time. Often, owners will note a psychological affect from declawing also. The once friendly, the playful cat will become quiet and aloof.

Declawing Surgery

Since declawing is an operation that requires anesthesia, complications from the procedure itself can arise. Although rare, infection, excessive bleeding, possible paralysis, as well as death from the anesthesia can occur. If not done correctly, there is also the possibility of the claw growing back abnormally, growing through the top or bottom of the paw.

A cat’s whole defense system relies on its claws. Once declawed, a cat should never be allowed outside. If confronted, especially by another animal, a cat will claw or chase and run. When chasing and running, a cat relies on its claws. Without claws, it is unable to fight. You may honestly believe that since your cat is solely kept in the house, it will have no need for self-defense, and use this as an excuse to declaw. Unfortunately, even a house cat can get loose. You have now left your cat defenseless in the world. What chance would it have in the face of danger?

The fact is that declawing is banned in many countries, as they consider it an inhumane procedure. Declawing does have alternatives though. Proper training of the cat will eliminate human scratching, as well as furniture scratching. To deal further with furniture scratching, buy a scratching post. Make sure the post is not made of carpeting, but rather of some material similar to the backing on carpeting. Also, be sure to trim the cat’s claws regularly as part of your routine cat grooming. This will enable you, the cat, and its claws to live in harmony.


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Cat declawing is a thorny issue and deciding whether to do it or not is one of the most important decisions a car owner has to make.

The Truth About Cat Declawing

According to the veterinarian Neil Wolff, declawing is not only unnecessary procedure but it also inhumane. Declawing is an interference with the cat’s nature, and people often decide to do it because of their lack of information and incorrect knowledge.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, who is the author of The Cat Who Cried for Help, and the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, thinks that declawing is the same as mutilation to a tee. He also says that this procedure is used as a model of severe pain for the testing of analgesic medications.

Declawing is a common practice in the USA, but it is not popular in Europe. In fact, this procedure is against the law in many European countries, for example in England, Germany, and Switzerland.

The Declawing Surgery

The standard declawing procedure involves the removal of the claws, the cells that are responsible for the claw’s growth, and a part of or all of the terminal bone of the toe. This procedure aims to stop the cat from scratching furniture, people or other animals. Declawing can be defined as an amputation and is similar to the removal of the fingers of the human hand at the last knuckle. The manipulation causes significant pain to the cat, and the healing process is quite painful, too.

What You Should Know

Cat owners should know that the cat’s claws are not toenails as in other animals. Claws are movable digits that are attached to the muscle in the same way fingers are attached. Cats have powerful ligaments and tendons that extend and retract the claws. If you remove these, the cat will not be able to grasp, walk, run and spring properly. If the end digit and the claw are removed, the sensory and motor nerves are damaged and destroyed. Thus the cat should walk on the stub end of the second digit. People who undergo such procedure usually rest while cats must continue scratching in their litter box, they walk and try jumping, no matter the pain they feel.

How is Declawing Performed?

Declawing can be carried out in several different ways but the aim is the same: to completely remove the third phalanx, which is the last bone in the toe, and the claw that is growing from it.

Some veterinarians use laser surgery which is considered to be less painful and to cause less bleeding. The procedure uses a laser to cut the tissue by heating it. This means that the bleeding, the pain and the healing time are significantly reduced. However, the cat’s toes will still be in bandages and a few weeks will be needed before the cat starts walking normally again. In some cases, cats recover very quickly; this is typical for kittens.

There is another method, called penectomy, which is becoming very popular. During this procedure, the law is not amputated but is removed a piece of the tendon that controls the extension of the claws. The result of the surgery is intact claws that are permanently extended. Cats usually can use their claws to some extent, but they cannot scratch properly. Cats cannot sharpen their claws, and they grow excessively, so claws’ trimming is required very often.

Alternatives of Declawing

1. Provide a scratching post

The scratching post should be strong enough and tall enough. You can use sisal and corrugated cardboard for the service of the scratching post. The usage of carpet is not recommended as it tears up very easy and the cat may be confused with the carpet on the floor and scratch there instead of on the post.

Cats should be praised when they use the post. You can try making it a fun place by putting the toy on it or around it. The position should be easily accessible. In case you want to make your cat stop scratching a piece of furniture, place the post in front of it and gradually move it away when the cat begins using it regularly.

2.Train your cat

You should train your cat to scratch on the “right” things. Praise the cat every time she scratches on the post. If the cat scratches on the place where she should be doing so, call her by her name, tell her “no” and move her to the scratching post. You can put the cat’s front legs on the post and start making scratching motions to show her what she is supposed to do. Also, you can dangle a toy on the post, and the cat will touch the post as she goes for the toy.

3. Trim your cat’s claws

You should trim your cat’s claws regularly because it is essential for maintenance of the cat’s hygiene. This will also reduce the scratches you and your furniture may suffer. If you clip the cat’s claws once a week, the destruction of furniture caused by scratching will be reduced to a minimum. It is recommended that the clipping is performed by two people – one to hold the car and the other to clip the claws. Do not use regular scissors. You should use only special cat clippers. Also, remember to clip only the tip of the claw. Be careful about veins that are near the Claw’s base.

4.Nail Caps

Some years ago, a new product that reduces the damage on furniture had been presented on the market. “Soft Paws”™ (or Soft Claws®) presents plastic nail caps. They are glued to the cat’s claws after the claws have been trimmed. The results of using the product are great, and there are almost no scratch damages on the furniture. The caps should be replaced every month.

If you love your cat and care for your cat, you should not declaw her. You can train the cat to not scratch the furniture if you follow the advice mentioned above. However, a declawing procedure is excruciating and unnatural. So, give your cat love and affection, and provide her with a long and happy life without declawing it.

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