Monday, April 15, 2024

When Can A Cat Be Declawed

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  • Older cats at risk for declawing
  • Kittens too young to be declawed
  • Feline skin conditions irritated by hind claw scratching
  • Destructive claw sharpening in the home
  • Unintentional injuries to family members caused by playful cats

REMEMBER: Even the most closely watched indoor cat will be unable to protect himself outside if declawed.

Looking for a new feline friend? See the cats and kittens available to adopt at Michigan Humane on our Adopt a Pet section.

The Kitty Cant Defend Themselves

Cats nails are their primary defense mechanism. Without them, the feline is constantly scared, frustrated, and anxious because they have no way to defend from the threats. They use teeth for protection instead. Its not uncommon for a declawed cat to become a biter.

If your declawed indoor kitty ever escapes from the house and gets into a fight with other cats, she wouldnt stand a chance. Other cats with full on claw equipment would hurt your precious kitty and she could not do a thing.

Still not convinced? See the Paw Project movie about the bad sides of declawing. I didnt see it myself because its quite graphic as I heard, but it gets the message out.

Exceptions To Declawing Bans

In New York, vets can still declaw cats if the surgery is part of an effort to fix a related health issue like a tumor or infection, according to NPR

Some groups have argued the procedure should be allowed as a last resortif it would keep a cat from being abandoned or euthanized. Its what the New York State Veterinary Medical Society asked for as its state lawmakers considered the declawing ban in 2019.

Cats that would lose their home if not declawed face a higher risk of euthanasia than if their owner were able to care for them, the society wrote. They also exchange a life of comfort and care to potentially spend years in conditions that may be far from ideal for long-term living. 

NYSVMS wrote further that declawing should be allowed if cat scratching prevents an above normal health risk for owners or if the cats parents have already made an effort to stop the cat from destroying things with their claws. 

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Recover From Declawing

The full recovery period following a declaw surgery takes anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the cats age and size.

Recovery seems to be harder for an adult cat compared to a kitten, likely due to the fact that a fully grown cat is heavier, so walking around on its wounds is more painful. While the cat is recovering, its important to keep them indoors so the paws stay clean and dry. Until the cats paws are completely healed, shredded paper must be used in the litter box in place of clay or clumping litter. 

What Is The Effect Of Declawing On The Cat

Declawing Cats: Why I

There are many myths and anecdotal reports about the dire behavioral and surgical complications of declawing. In the past few years, a number of behaviorists, pet psychologists and epidemiologists have studied the effects of declawing on the car, the owner, and the cat-owner relationship. At least 10 scientific studies have examined the consequences between the pet and the pet-owner relationship. These studies show that it does not alter the cats behavior. In fact, cats may continue to scratch furniture after but cause no damage. There is no increase in behavior problems. Declawed cats are not at greater risk of getting bitten or injured in catfights. Owners of declawed cats report a higher number of good behaviors than the owners of clawed cats.

At least 10 scientific studies have examined the consequences of declawing

There is some speculation about whether declawed cats might be more prone to either biting or house soiling. In a study of biting frequency and intensity, declawed cats did not bite any more often or any more seriously than a control group of non-declawed cats.

The only consistently recognized effect of declawing is a few days of post-surgical discomfort to the cat paw and paw pads. Therefore be certain to discuss pain management options with your veterinarian prior to surgery.

Are Indoor Or Outdoor Cats Better Off

  • Indoor cats tend to have longer lifespans, because they are less likely to get hit by cars or encounter feline viruses.
  • However, indoor cats need good environmental enrichment – otherwise they are much more likely to develop psychological problems
  • Indoor cats in multiple-cat households are more likely to experience stress-related disorders if they don’t get on, because cats are naturally solitary animals
  • Outdoor cats can express their inherent behaviour more readily, such as hunting and playing with bugs
  • Vets say outdoor cats can appear braver, and more psychologically balanced, as they are challenged multiple times a day
  • However in rural parts of the US outdoor cats are much more likely to encounter predators

The Kitty Is In Pain Often For The Rest Of Their Life

Declawing is not nearly as harmless as cat manicure. As said above, the surgery includes claw amputation and the amputation of the toe bones.

How would you feel if someone removed your nails including fingers from the first knuckle? Declawed cats are living through this exact terror. It is a painful procedure with many potential negative effects on the kittys health, short term and long term.

Declawing often leads to:

  • stop using the litter box
  • be afraid of their own shadow

I saw a heartbreaking comment in a , written by a vet assistant. She wrote about a situation at her vet office when cat owners brought their wonderful kitty to get her declawed. Two weeks later, they returned to get the cat euthanized because, as they said: The cat became mean.. Luckily, the vet kept the poor feline as an office cat. Those people obviously dont deserve a cat but Im sure many situations such as that one could be prevented if people stopped declawing their cats.

People dont expect their cat to change after declawing. When the kittys behavior changes, owners either cant handle it and give the cat away, or live with their cats new health and behavior issues, regretting what they did. Some felines never get back to their old selves.

Declawed cats are also missing out on their favorite kitty activities. They can no longer enjoy scratching,  jumping smoothly as before, or stretching using their claws.

If You Have A Kitten Who Is Scratching Up Your Furniture And Generally Tearing Up Your House You May Be Tempted To Have It Declawed Read This First

Cats by nature have a need to scratch to mark their territory, stretch their bodies, and remove the worn-out outer claws to expose fresher sharper claws underneath. For an indoor cat, this natural instinct can result in tattered curtains, torn up sofas, and carpets left in shredsdestructive and cranky behaviors that can leave frustrated pet parents scrambling for a solution.

Some may be tempted to declaw their cats. Also known as onychectomy, declawing is a surgical process in which the front knuckles of the cats toes are amputated so the animal can no longer use its claws to scratch household items or hurt others during rough playor defend itself should it meet an aggressive cat or another animal outdoors or even hop a fence or climb to get away from a predator.

Many groups, including the ASPCA and American Veterinary Medical Association , discourage declawing and suggests non-surgical alternatives. This major surgery has the potential to result in chronic, lifelong pain, and a change in the animals gait. In 2019, New York State became the first state to outlaw the procedure. Declawing is illegal in many countries in Europe, as well as in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

Read on to learn about special circumstances that may require declawing and a guide to safer alternatives to declawing so you and your kitty can have a happier relationship.

There Are Age Limits For Declawing Cats

The minimum age at which most vets will declaw a kitten is around three months old, although some may prefer to wait until the animal is slightly older. A young kitten’s bones are softer, which makes the procedure a little easier to perform. Kittens also tend to heal quicker than adult cats, so there is some benefit to declawing at an early age if it truly seems necessary to do so.

What Is Declawing In Cats

Cat declawing is the surgical removal of the toenail from a cat and the portion of bone from which it grows. In most cases, only the front paws of a cat are declawed. Depending on how the procedure is performed, it might best be referred to as an amputation of the small bone on the end of each toe. As a surgical procedure, it requires a general anesthesia and appropriate and sufficient pain management throughout the recovery procedure. It generally takes a few days to a few weeks for healing to be completed, after which time the cat can walk, climb, knead and scratch comfortably. Anecdotally, adult cats and those that are heavier may take longer to heal and adapt. Your cat may be hospitalized for several days after the surgery, and pain management medications may be dispensed for the first few days that your cat returns home. In many cases, a special, dust-free kitty litter may be recommended to prevent contamination of the surgery sites until the paws are entirely healed.

When Should I Declaw My Cat

Pet owners often choose to declaw their pets to protect furniture, property, pets, family, or for the pets safety. We recommend declawing your cat while they are still kittens between the age of 3-8 months, usually at the same time they are spayed or neutered between 5-6 months. This is recommended as they will recover quicker at this age and run a lower risk in experiencing complications.

We recommend choosing to declaw your cat in one of the following situations:

  • Medically necessary for their health to relieve pain, infection, or illness
  • Threatens the safety of a family member
  • Training, behavioural, and environment enhancing efforts have proven unsuccessful curving bad behaviour
  • Last option before euthanasia or relinquishment

What To Expect After Declawing Your Cat

After your cat goes through the declawing procedure, you must provide the best care because the cat will most likely be in pain. Caring for a declawed cat requires looking for signs of any health problems and considering all the health precautions so that they can return to their normal activity. Declawing or onychectomy does not exactly change your cats behavior, however, it is important to look out for some post-surgical signs that may be concerning. These signs include:

  • Reluctance to put pressure on their paws. .
  • Painful swelling. Redness and swelling  in the paw, followed by pain.
  • Lethargy. Lethargy or lameness that is noticeable in the cats posture that is also an sign of pain.  
  • Excessive licking and chewing of the paw.
  • Irritability. Changes in behavior, or displaying aggression. Moreover, displaying litter box avoidance is also a sign. 
  • Bleeding. Bleeding from paws and toes.

If you notice that your cat exhibits any of the behaviors stated above, then your cat needs immediate veterinarian attention. Post-operative dysfunctionalities such as lameness is an indication that your cat needs veterinary medicine. More than anything else, understand that your cat is feeling pain, and utmost care and understanding is needed from you as their parent.

The Rescoe Method Is Least Expensive

Declawing Cats Officially Banned at VCA Canada Hospitals

This is generally the least expensive method for declawing, and it involves using a sterilized Rescoe nail trimmer to remove the tip of the bone that holds the claw. Once that portion of the bone is removed, the wound is sutured shut. This method is not always a complete success because if enough of the bone isn’t removed, there’s a chance that a claw could grow back. The average cost for this procedure runs approximately $100.00 to $150.00.

Declawing Cats: What You Need To Know

Declawing is a surgical procedure that permanently removes a cats claws. Its one method used by cat owners to prevent a cat from damaging household items like furniture, carpets, and curtains when the cat scratches, which is normal feline behavior.

Once seen as a routine practice, declawing cats has become a hot-button topic in recent decades, as more people have come to view the procedure as inhumane and even barbaric. 

What Will Happen If You Declaw A Kitten

Declawing a kitten is an easy fix, but your cat will pay the price. In the long run, it will be the cause of various health problems. Its cruel, and your cat will not be happy about it. The fact that your kitten is born with claws means that it serves a purpose. If you declaw your cat, the following will be the repercussions:

  • Declawing is amputation

Declawing is the process of amputating all the kittens claws on the first joint. Its like amputating each toes bone, which is very painful and uncomfortable for the kitten. If were going to apply the same process to humans, its like cutting your fingers up to the knuckles.

Declawing is an unnecessary surgical operation. Many veterinarians discourage pet owners from doing this because the side effects outweigh the benefits. Over time, you may regret declawing your kitten once you witness its destructive effects.

  • Complications will arise

Declawing is notorious for its side effects during and after the surgery. During the operation, your kitten has a high risk of bleeding. Aside from that, it may suffer from the side effects of anesthesia, which can put the kittens life at risk.

After the surgery, a declawed kitten will have an increased risk of developing nail bed tumors. This will cost you more in vet care over the years, not to mention that your kittens life will never be the same.

  • Your kitten will live a life full of pain

  • Your kitten will feel insecure
  • The kitten will find it hard to walk

Things To Consider Before Declawing A Cat

The act of declawing cats represents one of the most highly controversial practices in veterinary medicine. Pet owners who are considering having their feline declawed should research the issue carefully, considering risks, potential complications, and the comfort level of their pet. Despite the issues surrounding declawing, there are still certain instances in which a pet owner should not be afraid to explore this option for his cat.

When Can A Kitten Be Declawed Conclusion

Kittens are undoubtedly some of the most adorable pets, but what isn’t adorable about them are behaviors like clawing. Thankfully, this behavior can be managed with a few techniques, the harshest being declawing. When done right, however, declawing should cause no problem to a healthy kitten. And as we mentioned earlier, many kittens will heal within just days of the procedure.

Finally, while many might be against it, no long-term problem has been linked to the procedure in studies. Ever had to declaw a kitten? What was the experience like for you and the kitten? Share below!

Declawing Entails Removing Some Of Your Cat’s Bones

The average pet owner may not be familiar with the specifics of cat declawing. In fact, declawing seems to have become a normal part of owning a new kitten. After all, cat claws can prove injurious to humans and other pets. Some cats will simply not stop scratching furniture or shredding household objects. Declawing seems to be the surest way to prevent and eliminate such behaviors. However, declawing is a major surgery. A cat’s claws extend from the final bones of its paw. A veterinarian cannot remove the claws without actually amputating these bones. In human terms, this would be a procedure similar to having your last carpal taken out. Clearly this is not the same concept as having a fingernail removed.

In order to declaw your cat, the end bone on each toe must be removed. Herein the controversy arises.

Declawing Is Always Risky

In general, a feline declaw has more potential for postoperative complications than other elective procedures. This is mostly due to the fact that the patient has 10 separate incisions that they are bearing weight on immediately after surgery.

However, use of the surgical laser and closely adhering to the above medication protocols and postoperative care instructions greatly reduces the chance for issues such as excessive pain/lameness and infection.

If you are thinking of declawing your cat, the professionals at Arnold Pet Station can help you navigate the decision. Contact us to set up a consultation.

Dr. Lindsay Laird

Can Declawed Cats Climb Trees Or Fences

July may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.Please note: This post is intended to educate cat parents with declawed cats but we do not support declawing cats. Still, its a complex topic and if you want to learn more about both sides of the argument, I highly recommend this article from the BBC

Sometimes it seems like our cats dont let the lack of claws slow them down for a second. Declawed cats still seem to do all the things that other cats do and some are even quite adept at catching mice.

But what about climbing? Can a declawed cat climb a tree, fence, or anything else?

While it is possible for front declawed cats to climb trees, fences and other objects its not easy for them. Not only does the lack of claws prevent them from gripping trees and other objects, but declawed cats are also missing the last third of each toe which makes their grip even worse. 

Instead of the traditional leap, grip, and climbing technique that cats with claws use, declawed cats have to slowly try to shimmy up the tree or leap directly onto low-hanging branches. When it comes to fences, declawed cats usually dont have much of a problem and theyre able to hold on to the top of the fence with their front paws, lock in with their back claws and then climb over.

But lets take a closer look at whats going here and how a declaw impacts a cats ability to climb.

Why Do People Declaw Their Cats

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The most frequent type of declawing is called an onychectomy – it involves cutting the bones the claws grow from with a scalpel or laser.

Critics compare this to cutting off someone’s toes or fingers at their top joint, and say declawing can affect a cat’s balance.

There are some cases where the surgery is medically necessary, “if there’s a bad infection in the nail bed, or a tumour,” says Dr Sarah Endersby, veterinary development manager at International Cat Care, a charity.

However, she adds, many people declaw cats to stop them from scratching the furniture, which she calls “essentially an act of mutilation done to modify the cat for our benefit”.

Some studies suggest that between 20% and 25% of pet cats in the US have been declawed.

“It was something we didn’t get taught at university. It became banned as more Americans came to the UK with declawed cats.”

Cons Of Declawing Cats

There are many downsides to declawing cats.

Those opposed to elective declawing of cats cite numerous objections to declawing cats, including the following:

  • Declawing surgery is painful for the cat
  • Potential for infection after surgery
  • Surgical amputation is an unnecessary mutilation
  • Declawing takes away a natural behavior for cats 
  • Declawed cats cannot defend themselves from other animals
  • Some cats may have long-lasting pain or phantom pain
  • Lameness
  • Some people claim declawed cats develop other unwanted behavior issues like aggression and inappropriate elimination

Complications May Arise From Declawing

The complications that can arise as a result of this procedure include a long and painful recovery period, excessive bleeding, infection, personality changes, and even a permanent crippling of your animal. Although such cases are rare, it is necessary that a veterinarian discusses any possible complications, risks or safety issues with pet owners well before the surgery is conducted.

Can A Declawed Cat Live With A Clawed Cat

Yes. Declawed cats and clawed cats can live comfortably in the same home. That doesnt mean that there arent complications, though. 

Three main complications can arise if you have one declawed cat and another clawed cat. 

  • Your declawed cat acts out and starts causing social problems with other cats 
  • Your declawed cat resists litter use and pees elsewhere, causing your other cats to do the same
  • Your clawed cat is more aggressive and bullies your declawed cat

There are solutions for all three problems, but you should be prepared for them just in case. 

If your declawed cat starts acting out and bullies or attacks other cats, you should intervene even though they dont have their claws. Getting pheromone dispensers that help encourage all your cats to be calmer and happier is a good first step for mild misbehavior. 

For more severe or persistent misbehavior, you may want to isolate your declawed cat and re-introduce them to the other cats more slowly. Declawed cats can sometimes feel like they need to be more aggressive since they dont have as many options for defending themselves. 

Reintroductions help your cat feel more confident and comfortable since they give them some time apart and more controlled interactions until they usually behave. 

If your clawed cat is aggressive and starts bullying your clawed cat, you dont have to get them declawed too. Declawing your cat is a very personal choice, but it can have a wide range of permanent side effects. 

What Are The Cons Of Laser Declawing

Many animal advocates argue that this surgery is inhumane because it provides no benefit for cats for the sake of human convenience. Cat behaviorists suggest keeping your cat from clawing inappropriately by training your pet to scratch only where you want them to. Providing a variety of scratching mats and posts can deflect this behavior and preserve your furniture, carpets, and walls. Teaching your cat not to use their claws during play requires time investment, but cats can be quick learners.

Declawed cats have fewer natural defenses against predators. A declawed cat should never be let outside because they wont be able to defend themselves from other animals. For indoor cats, being unable to use their claws means they may be more likely to attack with their teeth rather than swat with their claws. Cat bites pose more of a risk to people and other pets because of the naturally-occurring bacteria present in their mouths.

Using the litterbox may be painful for declawed cats. Normally, cats enjoy pawing around in their boxes after using them. Their instincts tell them to move dirt around the area where they relieve themselves to cover evidence of their presence. The gritty clay of most cat litter can be uncomfortable against the toe tips where their claws used to be. This discomfort can lead to cats using other surfaces as their personal bathroom.

  • Increases biting
  • Can cause litterbox issues

Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

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