If your cats claw your furniture, doorways, even you walls, you may wonder whether they should be declawed.
Before you decide there are things you should consider and know; after all, you need to make sure it’s a good idea before you do something so drastic.
Because while it may be annoying at times, and even cost you money, cats have claws for a reason and until you understand the impact of claw removal you shouldn’t decide.
So, let’s look at the pros and cons of declawing your cat…
What is Declawing?
Declawing is surgery where the last joint of each toe is removed along with the claw; this is necessary because the claws of part of the joint.
Your cat will be given anesthesia and a painkiller, and a small incision is made in each toe and the joint is removed.
Your cat’s paws are then bandaged, in a day or two they’re removed and you can take your cat home; you should be given some painkillers that you’ll give the cat orally.
As you might imagine, your cat will be in some discomfort for a few days but it shouldn’t last too long; if it does be sure to see your vet.
Also contact your vet if your cat won’t walk (or is really reluctant to walk) or if you cat’s feet are swollen or bleeding.
You can also expect your cat to walk around carefully for a week or so and sort of weirdly as they adjust to the difference and the paws heal. Most cats recover relatively quickly and young cats frequently are okay within days.
There is really only one advantage to you to getting your cat declawed and that’s to prevent your cat from scratching… from scratching your furniture, your curtains, your other pets, your children, other people, and you.
A cat uses his claws as defense against other animals and declawing takes that away. Even if your cat is an indoor cat it may get out for any number of reasons and will be basically defenseless.
Declawing may be pretty painful — not the surgery itself, but you know that all surgery involves post-surgical part for some period of time; and since declawing is essentially multiple amputations there are a lot of places to cause pain.
You should be given pain medicine for your cat but, if you’ve taken it yourself, you know painkillers don’t always work or work completely.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, of Tufts University and one of the world’s most known and celebrated veterinary behaviorists, says this about the pain following declawing surgery: “Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain.”
Sometimes declawed cats feel pain when they use their litter box and can begin to associate the litter box with the pain and stop using it; which means they’ll be using your floors.
Your cat uses claws as sort of an early warning system to warn off animals and people but without claws some cats start biting.
A cat’s claws plays an important in their health and fitness. For example, cat’s use their claws to stretch and tone their muscles.
You’ve probably seen your cat stretch and attach their claws to a post or carpet and grab on to it and pull. They are stretching their muscles and also doing a form of isometrics.
You also probably noticed that cats so of walk on their toes and when they are missing a joint it can through off their normal pattern of walking which can put undue strain on their joints and cause them long term leg and hip joint problems.
Should You or Shouldn’t You?
When it comes to deciding whether you should declaw your cat,you need to look at your situation and see if it can be solved by behavior modification before you resort to the seriousness of declaw surgery.
Scratching posts, like the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post, and other options will be certainly better for your cat and very likely be better for you.
It is usually unwise to declaw your cat, however, there may be extraordinary circumstances when it may be applicable.
Before I finish I read an interesting fact about declawing, according to Dr. Christianne Schelling over at Declawing.com, “declawing is pretty much an American thing, it’s something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed ‘inhumane’ and ‘unnecessary mutilation.’ … In many European countries it is illegal.”