How Is Declawing Done
Claws are unique structures that have played a big role in the evolution and survival of cats big and small. In some ways, they are similar to human nails, but it would be wrong to think that declawing is just like removing a nail bedas uncomfortable as that may already sound.
Thats because a major difference between claws and nails is where they grow form. Human nail beds grow on the surface of the skin. Cat claws, on the other hand, grow out of a bone called the distal phalanx. So in order to stop the claw from growing back, this bone must be removed too. If you have a hard time imagining it, the picture above is what declawing would mean on a human hand.
What makes it worse is that cats are digitigrade mammals, which means they walk on their toes . Removing the last toe bone means removing the structure that evolved specifically to carry the entire weight of their body.
This is why declawing is considered inhumane. The surgery itself is risky, with the possibility of hemorrhage, infection, and necrosis of the remaining parts of the paw. Removing the claws of a cat not only causes extreme pain in the short term, but it also removes its ability to move naturally in the long term. Cats who are declawed can no longer protect themselves or catch prey, rendering them vulnerable when left outdoors.
Pros And Cons Of Declawing Cats
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If you share your home with one or more cats, you will know that their claws have to be reckoned with. Cats don’t have the same appreciation for furniture and walls as we might do. What we think of as a cherished family heirloom might be little more than a mahogany scratching post to our cats. Reconciling our love for furnishings with our wish to have a cat in the home isn’t always easy, so it is understandable some will look for ways to prevent this behavior. One such method is known as declawing. It is a controversial procedure which involves not only the removal of the claw, but the removal of the last finger bone .
Such severe surgery can seem painful for the cat, prompting AnimalWised to wonder what are the pros and cons of declawing cats? We look further into this procedure, focusing on the physical and mental repercussions of the cat. We’ll also look into possible alternatives for proper claw maintenance.
What Are Alternatives To Declawing A Cat
With that in mind, we offer three alternatives to declawing your cat.
- Safeguard tempting surfaces. Many cat owners prefer an approach that emphasizes deterrence.
- Try vinyl nail caps. Soft Paws nail caps were developed by a veterinarian to act as sheaths over your pets claws.
- Make nail trimming a routine.
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Cat Paw Care Tips: Nails Pads And More
Cats put a lot of wear and tear on their feet. Like your feet, cats’ paws need to be cared for in order for them to be healthy and strong. You don’t have to splurge on a kitty manicure and pedicure, but you do need to keep your cat’s nails trimmed and their paws clean.
Here are 10 practical tips for caring for your cat’s paws.
1. Keep Your Cat’s Paws Clean
This is the most important part of keeping your cat’s paws healthy. Wipe their paws with a damp cloth every day. Check between their paws for litter or other debris that may be stuck. Your cat could get sick from licking toxic substances off their paws, so make sure you promptly clean up any spills your cat may walk through along with cleaning their paws. This will also help keep your furniture clean.
2. Check Their Paws for Injury
While you’re wiping down your cat’s paw pads, check for any cuts or scrapes. Make sure your cat didn’t pick up a splinter or other foreign object. If there are small wounds, wash the paw with gentle soap. Splinters can be removed with a tweezer. If there is a serious injury, take your cat to the vet for treatment.
3. Provide Opportunities for Your Cat to Scratch
4. Keep Your Cat’s Nails Trimmed
Trim your cat’s nails every few weeks to keep their claws short and decrease scratching. Use sharp nail trimmers, as dull trimmers are not as effective. Settle your cat comfortably before you start. You will probably have to work up to getting them comfortable with having their nails trimmed.
What You Can Do Instead
- Trim your cats nails regularly. When the cat is relaxed and unafraid, gently press on his or her toes until the claws extend. Use a pair of nail clippers, and cut only the tip of the nail, taking care not to damage the vein, or quick. The nail hook is what tears upholstery, so removing it virtually eliminates the potential for damage.
- Buy multiple scratching posts. Ideally, you should have two or more scratching posts in your home. Make sure that theyre sturdy and tall enough to allow your cat to stretch . Soft, fluffy carpeted posts wont fulfill your cats clawing needs, so look for rougher posts.
- Teach your cat where to scratch and where not to scratch. Encourage your cat to use the scratching posts by sprinkling catnip on the posts once a week. Discourage your cat from scratching furniture by using a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratchcats dont like loud noises! Never use physical force. Instead, you might try using a squirt gun full of lukewarm water directed at your cats back.
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The Truth About Cats And Scratching
Scratching is normal cat behavior. It isn’t done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles.
Cats are usually about 8 weeks old when they begin scratching. That’s the ideal time to train kittens to use a scratching post and allow nail trims. Pet caregivers should not consider declawing a routine prevention for unwanted scratching. Declawing can actually lead to an entirely different set of behavior problems that may be worse than shredding the couch.
How Much Does Declawing Cat Cost
Here are few factors that affect declawed cat cost:
- Price of Surgery: The price range for declaws starts around $50-$150 with some vets charging up to $400+. There are often package deals in which in declawing is paired with spaying or neutering, but declawed cats cost more because of the additional procedures.
- Location: Declaws are usually cheaper in rural areas where theres a lower volume of clients and declaws are a lot less common than in urban settings- so if youre looking for declaw surgery on your pet, it might be best to consult someone who does them often.
- Cat Type: Kittens have different anesthesia requirements from adults, which will affect declawed cat prices. Older animals also need their nails clipped before they can be declawed, and this procedure costs an extra $25-$150 per nail for large breeds like Maine Coons that require longer claws to help them climb.
- Recovery: declaw surgery will usually take a few days to heal, and your cat may need pain medication or antibiotics .
- Lifetime Cost: declawed cats cost an average of $4000 over their lifetime- but thats not counting those who end up having complications from declaws as adults and go on to have more expensive procedures done later. Youll also be paying extra in veterinary care costs if you declaw a kitten rather than an adult since they require anesthesia rather than just sedation.
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Is It Cruel To Declaw A Cat
Many people think declawing cat is cruel because it involves cutting off their cats claws which is analogous to humans losing their fingernails this is true for some cats but most of the time, owners who have had their carpets scratched or furniture ruined find having them done more humane than constantly dealing with these problems!
The word declawing can give people the wrong idea. In fact, its more like getting their nails trimmed! A common misconception is that this process is as bad as removing claws entirely from an animal and may lead to increased aggression in pets. But with careful instruction on how to properly execute this simple procedure, youll find your cat will be just fine even if she has her paws done every month or two for quick maintenance!
Following are the Pros And Cons of declawing a cat:
- Cats that are declawed generally dont feel the same sensation as cats with all of their claws.
- There can be behavioral issues related to declawing, such as biting and aggression
Is There A Law Against Declawing Cats
It is not illegal to declaw a cat in the USA except few states. It has been argued that it would be better to ban or regulate this procedure, but there are no laws against it.
Currently, the following states have banned declawing cats: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois , Maine. Maryland and West Virginia.
A law against declawing cats is not as common in Europe, but Holland has called for a ban on catclaw removal surgery due to ethical concerns, which they deem more important than preserving furniture or preventing scratches on peoples skin. In addition, some countries such as Norway are considering outlawing this process entirely, while other places like Germany require that all procedures be carried out by veterinarians who use anaesthesia to ensure animals dont feel any pain during the procedure.
One reason many animal welfare groups oppose declawing is that the process involves major surgery with risk for infection, blood loss, and complications like nerve damage where the skin was cut off from its natural nail bed- which increases infections rates over time because humans cannot lick themselves clean as effectively after theyve been neutered and spayed.
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What Does It Actually Mean To Declaw A Cat
Some cat owners believe that declawing a cat simply means removing the nails, like taking a nail off the nailbed on a human hand. The reality is that vets will remove a piece of bone too and the procedure is more like an amputation. The equivalent for us would be to amputate all fingers to the first knuckle.
Are Things Changing In The Us
They certainly seem to be. In addition to the proposed legislation in New York, individual cities such as Los Angeles and Denver have also banned declawing.
“Twenty years ago it was considered something you do – you get a cat, you declaw them,” says Dr Weigner. However, he argues that in recent years declawing has become “an increasingly controversial procedure… we stopped declawing cats at our practice a long time ago.”
Mr Dale says that, based on his personal experience, younger vets seem to be more supportive of a ban, especially as more recent research appears to provide evidence against declawing.
Mr Birdsall grew up in the US with pet cats that were declawed – but says that after living in the UK, he has discovered alternatives to declawing, such as trimming their claws. “Now I’m much more uncomfortable with the procedure, and don’t see the need for it”.
In the US, “things are generally trending in an anti-declawing direction… although it’s not a surprise that the one state moving towards banning the practice is a liberal blue state, and cities banning it are typically viewed as left-leaning,” he adds.
“Like many other issues, cat claws could become a politicised cultural issue in the US.”
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What Are The Side Effects Of Declawing Cats
As a licensed veterinary technician, I have seen the side effects of declawing catsand theyre not pretty. Declawing, or onychectomy, is a severe surgical procedure in which the last bone of each toe is amputated. Many cats who have been declawed refuse to use the litter box over time, because the process is extremely painful.
What To Do About Your Cats Scratching Habit
Before resorting to declawing your cat, use these tips for calming their habit instead:
1. Trim your cats claws regularly. If youve tried to do it yourself and found your cat too uncooperative, your vet should be happy to cut them for you.
2. Get scratching posts for your cat and place them in the spots they frequent in your home.
3. Verbally or physically reward your cat when they use their scratching post by giving them affection or a treat.
4. Discourage inappropriate scratching by covering or removing the items they scratch for a temporary period of time, until their habit lessens.
5.Use a firm no or a startling clap when you notice your cat scratching where they arent supposed to. Using a squirt bottle can also be a harmless way to keep them from continuing certain behaviors.
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What Is The Best Age To Declaw A Cat
The best age for this procedure is between three and six months. The sooner the better so cats cant feel the effects of the loss so much. One option here is to have your vet carry out the surgery at the same time as spaying or neutering the cat. This means just the one use of anesthetic on your cat, which is less traumatic.
Did I Answer Everything You Want To Know About Is Declawing Cats Bad
Cats are intelligent animals with complex needs. Unfortunately, declawing a cat can change their personality and is often considered inhumane by many people, including veterinarians. We hope this post helped you learn more about declawing cats so that you can make an informed decision for your feline friend.
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How Is A Cat Declawed
The standard method of declawing is amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper. The wounds are closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the feet are bandaged.
Another method 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.
If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
A third procedure is the tendonectomy, in which the tendon that controls the claw in each toe is severed. The cat keeps their claws, but can’t control them or extend them to scratch. This procedure is associated with a high incidence of abnormally thick claw growth. Therefore, more frequent and challenging nail trims are required to prevent the cat’s claws from snagging on people, carpet, furniture, and drapes, or from growing into the cat’s paw pads.
Because of complications, a cat who has been given a tendonectomy may require declawing later. Although a tendonectomy is not actually amputation, a 1998 study published in the “Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association” found the incidence of bleeding, lameness, and infection was similar between tendonectomy and declawing.
Is It Ok To Declaw An Indoor Cat
This is a delicate subject. It is legal for cat owners to approve this procedure and there are sure to be many professional vets that can carry it out effectively. You may be convinced that this is the best solution for all involved. If so, you must get the best information on your options to take the best next step.
However, there are lots of arguments against declawing cats. Below, you will learn some more about those to help you get a better idea of whether or not to go ahead with declawing. The key issues here regard the health and well-being of the cat both in the short-term and long-term following the removal of their claws. There is also the fact that many cat owners are ignorant of the details involved in this invasive procedure.
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Laser Surgery Reduces Declawing Complications But The Procedure Still Hurts
When the surgical laser is used for this procedure, a skin incision is made around the base of the nail and then the ligaments attaching P3 to P2 are cut and the nail surgically removed along with P3. The advantage to using the laser is that as it cuts it also cauterizes nerves and blood vessels.
This reduces bleeding and inflammation and is believed to reduce pain as well. However, the laser in no way makes this a painless procedure, but does seem to help reduce the complication rate. Complications can include bleeding, infection, lameness, nerve damage, gangrene, extensive tissue damage, and death
Why Is Declawing Done
Our feline mates have kept some instincts that may have worked well for them in the wild, but do not work all that well for us humans indoors. And key among those is the tendency to scratch.
In the outdoors, cats need to scratch surfaces in order to keep their claws sharp. They use these to protect themselves against threats, to catch prey, to give them traction to move faster, and to deposit their scent and mark on their territory. They usually sharpen their claws by dragging them through wood and other rough material.
Cats keep this habit even when they are indoors. In the absence of trees, they turn to wooden furniture and drapes. Their prey instinct is activated when playing, and those sharp claws may draw blood even if they do not mean to.
By removing the cats claws, owners are able to protect their furniture and themselves from scratching. Its the easiest way to resolve the issue of the owner. But this signifies a lot of trouble for the cat.
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