When it comes to declawing a cat, many owners mistakenly think it is akin to getting nails clipped. However, the reality is much different. Declawing involves amputating the last bone on each toe of a cat’s paw, which, in human terms, is equivalent to cutting a finger off at the knuckle.
While declawing may seem like a good way to stop your feline from scratching everything in sight, this procedure offers no medical benefit to your cat. However, if your cat’s claws are posing an issue, there are alternative measures you can take. Below are a few of them.
What is the Procedure for Declawing?
As mentioned above, declawing is a form of amputation, which means it requires invasive surgery. The three most common methods are blade, laser, and cosmetic declawing.
Blade declawing uses an instrument with a sliding blade to cut a straight line through the joint between the claw growth and the rest of the paw. This is the most common method of declawing and is considered the most invasive.
As the name implies, laser declawing uses a laser that removes the third bone of the cat’s paw. While this method is more expensive, it causes less pain and bleeding. It also has a shorter recovery time.
Cosmetic declawing is also less invasive than blade declawing as it uses a tiny, curved blade to perform a tiny bone dissection. Like laser declawing, the paw pad and soft tissue remain intact with this method, which means a quicker recovery time and less post-operative discomfort.
If you’re having issues with your cat’s claws, speak to a vet from the likes of Green Valley Vets and they can help you make an informed decision.
Consequences of Declawing
Once you declaw your cat, it’s important to be aware that it loses the ability to defend itself. Therefore, they must be kept indoors since they can no longer climb or ward off a potential predator.
Also, while many people declaw kittens to prevent potential destructive behavior, there is no way of predicting whether your cat will behave like this as it grows. Declawing doesn’t always get rid of bad behavior, either: some cats may resort to biting instead of scratching.
Alternatives to Declawing
The good news is that there are alternatives to declawing. Rather than put your cat through an invasive procedure, consider the options below first:
- Scratching alternatives: Cats require scratching stimulation. If this isn’t provided, they will be more inclined to go for your beloved furniture. Where possible, provide your cat with toys, trees, obstacle courses, or scratching posts with horizontal and vertical surfaces that allow them to work their claws.
- Behavioral training: Another helpful technique is behavioral training: this involves teaching them how to redirect their energy rather than claw away at your furniture.
- Soft Claws: Did you know you can buy vinyl caps for cat claws? These take patience to apply, but they make your cat’s claws softer and less destructive.
- Trimmed nails: Although it is less effective, keeping your cat’s claws trimmed is another method. However, keeping them trimmed will stop your cat from sharpening them like mad around the house.