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Steps to Take Before Considering Declaw Surgery for Cats

Declaw blogDeclawing a cat is nothing like a manicure. The procedure typically involves removing the last bone (or at least part of the bone) in each toe of the paw. Like any surgical procedure, declawing is painful and requires time and care to recuperate.

Before resorting to surgery, it’s important for cat owners to remember that scratching is a natural feline behavior. Clawing at surfaces is how cats mark their territory and sharpen their nails. However, when those surfaces are rugs, furniture, and other household items, it’s easy for owners to get frustrated.

Several steps can be taken to prevent destructive scratching. Staying on top of nail trimming will lessen a cat’s need to scratch. If you’re not comfortable trimming your cat’s nails yourself, you can make an appointment with a veterinarian. It’s also essential to provide plenty of appropriate places for your cat to scratch. Place scratching posts in multiple locations around your home so that your feline companion always has an appropriate alternative to your furniture.

If this is not enough, you may want to try applying an anti-scratch product to furniture and carpet. Remember, never resort to physical punishment. If you catch your cat in the act, say “no” and carry your cat to a scratching post. Cats are very capable of learning appropriate behavior.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Linnea March 18, 2014, 6:57 am

    Declawing is NEVER OK.

    The Paw Project’s mission is to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to rehabilitate cats that have been declawed.

    In this age of information, ignorance is a choice.

  • Christi Moore April 5, 2014, 11:55 am

    Hello Fellow Pet Lovers,

    I wish to give my 2 cents on the opposite side of the cat declawing issue.
    1. If your cat goes outside at all, by means do NOT declaw – they need those claws for protection and hunting in the outside world. If your cat is an indoor only cat, they do not need their front claws but do NOT declaw the back paws which they need for scratching themselves.

    2. I read and hear so many drama/scare tails of declawing and I just don’t see it, not in my cats or those of other people I know who have declawed. I’ve declawed (front paws only) 6 of my 8 cats (those 6 were/are indoor only cats, the 2 were allowed outside when I lived in the country). None of my declawed cats EVER had a problem.

    In terms of pain, NO IT’S NOT! It’s not like the cat is awake when the claws are removed! Responsible declawing I done while the cat is fully anesthetized and given mild pain medication when they awake.

    Post surgery pain I’ve personally witnessed was no worse than when you or I have a tooth extraction and it lasted only 2 or 3 days.

    Within 2 weeks, every one of my declawed cats adjusted to the difference in balance and were then able to run, jump on various furniture and counters (naughty naughty, LOL), play with each other, groom themselves, and cover their potty stuff in the litter box completely without pain or difficulty.

    In terms of providing alternative scratching items so they don’t scratch carpet and furniture, I have never in 40 years EVER seen, known, or heard of any cat that worked on — many won’t use the approved scratching item, and those that do still scratch the curtains and furniture as well!

    The No No sprays and plastic claw covers (that go on the cat’s claws) are temporary at best and very expensive to keep applying every 2 weeks.

    I do advocate declawing (front paws only) WHEN APPROPRIATE: i.e., if the cat is and will always be indoor only, and if the cat is clawing everything in sight and does not respond sufficiently to redirection to appropriate scratching items (some do, but in my experience, very few). That’s a wait and see thing.

    Declawing an indoor only cat eliminates the constant 24/7 forever need for saying NO and redirection…..the ongoing “argument” with the cat, if you will. It eliminates the stress from both cat and cat owner and allows for a calm and peaceful home environment. It allows a cat owner to live in decent home furnishings instead of guaranteed “shred city”. It also minimizes potential injury to the owner or others when kitty has to submit to the myriad “indignities” we must periodically do to keep them healthy (medications, grooming, vet checks, etc.), or when the little toddlers have an oops moment with kitty.

    I can tell you truthfully that all of my declawed cats have been and are very happy and healthy kitties and suffered no trauma from declawing.

    I think we need to collectively move to a middle ground thinking on declawing – use it wisely and responsibly as I’ve outlined above. I don’t believe it should be used indiscriminately but conversely, based on the arguments of those opposed to the practice because of pain and crippling (which, if surgery and post surgery is done properly, is utter nonsense), then by gummy we better darn well do away with spaying and neutering cats as well because of the pain they experience during and after surgery and the “crippling” of their natural processes!

    Moderation and wisdom are the 2 key words to responsible pet care. Add a dash of common sense and you’ve got the purrrfect win-win relationship with your furry “kids”.

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