Declawing and Why It May Not be So Good For Your Cat

Cat declawing is known as onychectomy, a procedure where what are essentially the fingertips of a cat are removed so that the claws are also removed – hence the common term, declawing. This is usually seen as an option for the following reasons:

1) To prevent cats from damaging furniture – Most cats have an inborn instinct to scratch objects, primarily to keep their claws sharp and ready for use. This is a basic throwback instinct to their wild past. Unfortunately, when they act it out, it means that you may have to constantly repair or replace couches, chairs, or even predominantly wooden furniture. 2) To prevent injury to medically compromised family members – some family members may be taking medicines that make it a terrible idea to get scratches, such as blood thinners. For others, it’s bacteria in the claws. However, this is a hotly debated topic since the following are controversial issues about declawing: It is painful, and may be painful for the rest of their lives

As stated before, this is the equivalent of removing a person’s fingertips. All the neural, muscular and bio mechanical issues that go with this change can drastically alter how a cat moves – because they will move not just to avoid pain, but also to adjust for walking without their paw tips. There will even be issues with using a litter box, as you may have to use fine-powder litter for the rest of the cat’s life. Heavier clay-based litter will be too hard for declawed paws.

Infection Because of where the operation will be, it’s incredibly difficult not to have infections – and in fact, these secondary infections may even create more medical problems. Self-defense If you remove the cat’s claws, then you doom them to being at the mercy of other cats. Declawing a cat effectively makes them indoor cats, permanently. Personality change Due to all the factors above, it’s no surprise if your cat’s psyche is deeply affected, as they may suffer from phantom limb pain and continuing to try to execute their instincts even without claws – this can lead to repeated chafing of their paws. Other solutions Other solutions aside from declawing should be explored before going to the last resort. - Claw sheathes There are available claw sheathes in the market, known as nail caps. These are attached one by one with glue to your cat’s nails, and are replaced every month. This can make sure that their claws can be left intact, and still be relatively safe for family members and furniture. - Scratching posts Scratching posts are the best alternative to declawing, but it requires that you should train your cat from kittenhood. Older cats may not take to using scratching posts anymore. - Avoidance Training By properly using some training aids, such as scratching barriers, a water gun and strong scented marking liquids, you can train your cat not to scratch furniture, and, if properly done, not even to scratch people. However, do be aware that you really can’t take away the instinct to scratch and sharpen claws. Declawing may be a final option, particularly if there are family members who could get seriously hurt by cat scratches. Furniture is nothing, compared to that.