What Is Cat Declawing
Declawing a cat is the surgical process of removing/amputating the first knuckle of a cats toes, thereby removing where the claw grows, says Jamie Richardson, DVM, medical chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary in New York City. Its similar to cutting off a humans fingers or toes at the top joint. Dr. Richardson says that declawing cats irreversibly physically alters a cat for the purposes of changing its natural behavior, most often performed for the convenience of the pet owner.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the cost varies on the nature of the technique, surgical time, and the location of the clinic. For uncomplicated cases, Dr. Richardson notes that recovery time is around 10 to 14 days. Cats that have undergone a full declaw will be tender on their paws for several weeks and possibly permanently due to the altered anatomy of the paw. Removing the claws of an outdoor cat is among the mistakes cat owners should never make.
The Truth About Declawing
Will Declawing my Cat Reduce Damage to Household Items?
The Wisconsin Humane Society works hard to save cats. We provide extensive medical services and socialization for cats that are abandoned and we love every one of them for their beauty and unique personalities. The last thing that we want is for anything bad to happen to any cat. That is the reason that we actively educate people about the perils of declawing their cat. And, we’re confident that if people take our message to heart and follow some easy instructions on safeguarding their furniture, they will not need to have their cat declawed.
Many people assume that having their cat declawed is a routine and necessary activity. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is easy to train a cat to use a good scratching post and WHS has cat and guardian approved scratching posts available for sale. The post should be at least 30″ tall, mounted in a stable base and covered with sisal rope.
Here are some more eye-opening facts and opinions about declawing:
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
You May Like: Dawn For Fleas On Cats
Refusal To Use The Litterbox
After being declawed, a cat may refuse to relieve himself in the litter box. Englar says there could be several reasons for this behavior. The first is, simply, that the cat has wounds on his feet, she says. When cats use the litter box, they tend to dig, or at least cover up their leavings. If cat litter gets in those wounds, it hurts. So a cat may avoid going in the litter box, thinking their feet may hurt less if they go somewhere else.
She also notes that to reduce the chance that litter will get stuck in the incisions, some people switch to paper litter right after a declawing procedure, but this could backfire. If paper litter isnt what the cat is used to, he may choose to go somewhere else because he doesnt recognize that the paper litter is supposed to take the place of his regular litter, Englar says.
Is Declawing Cruel To Cats New York Might Be The First State To Ban It
To declaw a cat, you amputate each toe at the first knuckle, taking off bone along with tendons and the claw. This is a controversial operation, and some veterinarians say it can lead to lifelong complications, pain, and lameness.
Declawing is illegal in most European countries and in Britain, where it is considered cruel. In Israel, declawing a cat could land you a yearlong prison sentence and a fine of around $20,000.
The rest of the world recognizes it as mutilation, said Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian who runs The Paw Project, an anti-declawing group.
But the procedure is still relatively common in the U.S., where surveys suggest about a quarter of peoples cats are declawed. According to a 2011 AP poll, 55 percent of cat owners approve of the surgery, though declawing opponents say most people dont fully understand what it entails.
There are a couple of ways to declaw a cat. Many veterinarians use shears to lop off the toes. A scalpel works too. More recently, some places do the job with lasers.
In recent years, Conrads group has led successful efforts to ban declawing in several cities in her home state, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and West Hollywood.
Now, it has its hopes pinned on New York, which could become the first state in the nation to outlaw the procedure.
This is mostly done because people care more about their furniture than about their cats, Rosenthal said.
She likes to comb my hairwith her claws, she said proudly.
Don’t Miss: Is Lavender Plant Safe For Cats
First: The Scratching Behavior
Scratching is a natural and normal behavior for every cat. Contrary to popular belief, its main purpose of scratching isnt to sharpen their claws, but to 1) remove dead pieces of nail 2) spread their scent, and 3) stretch. Cats can be vertical, horizontal, or vertical and horizontal scratchers. Theyll often pick items in places where they spend a lot of time or objects that are along common routes they take in the home .
What Can I Do Instead Of Declawing My Cat
Nail caps or claw covers, such as Soft Paws, can be a great and immediate way to protect your surfaces while youre working with your cat to redirect any undesirable scratching behavior. The nail caps can be applied by you, your veterinarian, or a cat groomer, just place adhesive inside the nail cap and slide it on.
Also Check: Blue Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Why Do The Uk And Us Have Such Different Cat Cultures
“A big difference is that many more cats in the US are kept exclusively indoors,” says Dr Sarah Ellis, an expert in feline behaviour at International Cat Care.
Experts believe Americans are more likely to keep cats indoors because many live in high-rise buildings in the city. Meanwhile, in rural places in the US, there are more likely to be predators such as coyotes and wolves.
Outdoor cats may find more suitable scratching material outside – like trees. It is also unsafe to declaw cats that go outside, as they may need their claws to protect themselves.
However, there is also a cultural difference, says Mr Birdsall.
“For Americans, it’s a matter of freedom and convenience – the right to the freedom to make decisions in terms of how you raise your cat, and convenience, because once you remove the claws, you don’t ever have to worry about you or the furniture getting scratched.”
“By contrast, in the UK, any concerns for freedom and convenience are vastly dwarfed by concern to the welfare of the cat – it’s unthinkable to declaw cats in Europe.”
Tips For Cat Claw Maintenance
To better help avoid surgeries such as declawing, taking better care of your cat’s claws might be the solution to a scratching problem. A cat’s claws or nails grow constantly throughout their lives. This is one reason why your cat scratches to wear down and sharpen them. It is both a biological need and a routine habit for cats.
If you want to prevent your cat from scratching the floor, curtains, clothes or any household objects, you should have at least one scratcher available . These could be in the form of cat trees, adhesive couch protectors or simply a stand-alone scratcher. Choosing a cat scratcher might take some trial and error for your particular cat, but it is important.
You can also trim your cats claws if they are becoming a nuisance and are unable to do them properly themselves. We have more information on how to trim your cat’s claws properly to ensure you do it right.
Environmental enrichment is very important for your cat. It allows them to be sufficiently mentally stimulated and helps to prevent behavioral problems. Ensure you have plenty of toys and games to help your cat stay engaged and reduce destructive behavior.
Addressing your cat’s psychological well-being can help reduce scratching problems. You need to look for signs your cat is stressed and deal with them accordingly. In doing so, you should be able to avoid resorting to the painful process of declawing.
Also Check: What Was Hp Lovecrafts Cats Name
The Horrifying Truth About Declawing Your Cat
September 4, 2020 by Patricia Rummel
Imagine going to a salon and asking to have your nails trimmed, and they take out a large pair of clippers and cut your nail off at the knuckle. This is the horrifying truth about declawing your cat.
As described by Cats International, the term declawing makes people think only the claw is removed, but a more appropriate description would be amputation/mutilation.
Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. It doesnt matter how the procedure is preformed, scapula, guillotine or laser. The end result is the same EXCORIATING PAIN. This is the barbaric reality of declawing your cat.
Sensory and motor nerves in the cats paw are cut, damaged, and destroyed. Recovery from the surgery is a slow and a painful process. The pain from declawing is life-long and normal cat behaviors are forever gone. This procedure keeps our cats from enjoying pain free things such as walking, running, springing, climbing, and stretching. This crippling procedure keeps our cats from a life of fun energetic normal cat behavior.
So what are the alternatives to this horrible act of mutilation? There are four options to choose from, which are known to be successful.
Cat Scratching Posts Cats will always scratch, it is in their nature. The key is to provide your cat with a post that he/she prefers over your furniture.
Your Best Resource For Cat Health & Wellness
If your cat has an excessive scratching habit, having them declawed isnt on the list of healthy and safe options. Having your cat seen by a veterinarian can be the key to determining the reason for scratching and finding the best solution for you and your cat. At Catonsville Cat Clinic, our veterinary specialists have many years of professional experience in caring for cats both young and old, and can help you find the right way to lessen your cats bad habits while keeping them happy and healthy.
Contact us today to learn more or schedule a visit.
Recommended Reading: Blue Catfood
The Consequences Of Declawing
However, the drawback to declawing while it is young is that it might be unknown if a pet is going to be destructive or not as it grows up. So, its not fair to put a cat through surgery simply because it has claws and may or may not be destructive in the future.
. Once a cat is declawed, it should be kept strictly indoors since the pet will no longer be able to defend itself or climb to escape a potential predator.
. If a cat is intentionally scratching people or other pets in the household, owners should be advised that this cat, if declawed, may start biting instead of scratching. In this case, where a cat is scratching people/pets as a form of aggression, a behaviorist should be consulted to attempt to manage this aggression instead of proceeding to surgery.
What Happens When A Cat Is Declawed
Many people are under the impression that declawing a cat is little more than giving them a permanent manicure. In fact, the procedure is far more involved than that.
You dont just remove the nail when declawing an animal, as theres also a little piece of bone that has to come out as well. As a result, this is a fairly involved surgery.
Dont think of it as removing your fingernails. In essence, its like chopping off the entire tips of your fingers.
You May Like: Why Does My Cat Drool When He Purrs
Anti Scratch Cat Training Tape
Cats dont like sticky objects and places. Therefore applying anti-scratch cat training tape is a good way to deter your cat from sinking its claws into your beautiful leather couch and other furniture as well. The sticky adhesive will teach your cat that the couch is NOT something that should be clawed, and they will avoid it. You do not have to worry about it looking ugly, because the tape is clear. All you need to do is to put the tape on your cats favorite scratching places and your cat will avoid it.
Understanding The Procedure For Declawing Cats
As veterinary care providers we are here to help provide you with accurate and unbiased information about declawing cats in order for you to make an informed, educated decision on behalf of your furry feline friend.
- Blade Declawing: An instrument with a sliding blade cuts a straight line through the joint between the entire claw growth and the rest of the cat’s paw. This is the most common method of declawing kittens or adult cats, and is the most invasive.
Don’t Miss: How Much Food To Feed Cat
Altering Your Cat’s Gait May Lead To Later Joint Problems
Domestic cats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. Removing the toe’s first digit will alter the way your catwalks and may affect the joints in its leg. This may eventually lead to your cat developing arthritis in its hip and other joints. So removing its claws can be seriously detrimental to your cat’s long-term health.
Does Declawing A Cat Affect Its Personality
Numerous studies that have researched a potential correlation between cat declawing and personality changes strongly indicate that none exists. Please remember that it may take your cat a little time to feel comfortable walking on surgically sensitive paws, which could indeed affect his or her personality traits and behaviors during the recovery period. Therefore, it is always important to be nurturing and supportive during the recovery process, in order to help facilitate a speedy recovery.
Recommended Reading: How Long Can Wet Cat Food Stay Out
When Is Declawing Needed
Ultimately, the decision to declaw the cat is up to the pet owner in conjunction with their vet . Some veterinarians are open to declawing if it means the cat doesnt end up back at the shelter or out on the streets.
Samantha Canup, DVM, from Noble Creatures Veterinary Services in Washington, Georgia says she recommends the procedure, if it ensures the cat will have a home for the rest of its life. It is better than being outside and at risk for trauma or disease. She does, however, emphasize that it is not for every cat and urges owners who choose this option to commit to having the pet indoors for the remainder of its life, or to finding it an appropriate home if they can no longer care for it. Declawed cats must be kept indoors because we have taken away their ability to fully defend themselves, she explains. Dr. Richardson points out that, in addition, removing the claws removes a cats ability to climb trees and jump fences, etc., to evade predators, and they would be very vulnerable if allowed outside.
On the other hand, Dr. Richardson, whose practice is in New York City where declawing is illegal, says it should be done only if medically necessary, in the instance of an infection of the bone or toe that cannot be resolved medically, or cancer, for example. In the vast majority of such cases, only one or two digits would require amputation, rather than all of the toes. A change in your cats behavior is one of the 11 cat cancer signs to look out for.
Why Is Declawing A Cat Bad
It has been over 15 years since I last declawed a cat. Anyone who has done the procedure knows why. Declawing involves amputating the end of the digit. If you look at your finger, imagine removing everything past the point of your last knuckle, on all of your fingers. Now imagine how that will affect your life. Now think about having to walk on your hands after having the ends of your fingers amputated. Declawing a cat is a very invasive veterinary surgery. Immediate complications from the surgery can include infection of the surgical sites, which can cause open wounds. The bones of the toe may become infected, which then requires prolonged treatment or may even cause death from the infection. Draining tracts can sometime develop, and the nail bed can sometimes regrow if not completely removed. The long-term consequences of declawing can include difficulty walking due to changes in the function of the paw, and painful arthritis.
Recommended Reading: Blue Buffalo Wet Cat Food
The Problems With Declawing Cats
Myers notes that declawing is a brutal procedure that can lead to significant complications.
Even when done under the best of circumstances and with the best pain management plan possible, its still painful and a lot of healing has to occur, Myers says. Complications can occur that can cause delayed healing or even lifelong pain and other issues.
A declawed cat cannot defend itself as effectively in a fight therefore, it is inadvisable to allow a declawed cat to roam unsupervised outdoors, she adds. We also do not fully understand the full extent of how declawing affects a cats behavior and mental well-being throughout its life.
In many parts of the world, declawing is banned. Martinez reports that 42 countries, including Australia, Brazil, and the U.K., have banned declawing. In 2019, New York became the first state in the U.S. to ban elective declaw surgery. In recent years, cities including Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have also passed declawing bans.