The contentious practice of declawing cats is still carried out in the United States, despite the fact that it has been outlawed in a number of nations throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, amongst others.
However, declawing operations for cats come with a number of possible hazards, including the possibility of causing the cat long-term pain and suffering. As a result, it is illegal in various cities and states throughout the United States.
Continue reading to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of declawing cats, as well as several safe alternatives to consider.
What Exactly Is Declawing a Cat?
The word “declawing” is deceptive since the process of declawing a cat entails more than merely removing the cat’s nails from its claws. The procedure known as “declawing” a cat involves surgically amputating the last finger or “knuckle” in each of the animal’s feet. The cat’s whole nail bed, along with the very tip of each toe, is clipped off during this procedure. In the vast majority of instances, just the cat’s front paws will be declawed.
Why Might Cat Owners Think About Declawing Their Pets?
It is common practice to declaw cats in the hope of preventing them from scratching furniture, humans (those with immunodeficiencies or bleeding problems are particularly at risk), or other animals.
Declawing a Cat at What Age?
Cats may have an easier time adjusting to their new normal if they are declawed as young kittens rather than as adults. Despite this, the majority of animal welfare groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), are opposed to the practice of declawing cats. That this day, the states of New York and Maryland are the only ones in the United States to have outlawed the practice of declawing cats. However, at least 13 localities have done so.
Price Paid to Have a Cat Declawed
The cost of declawing a cat may vary anywhere from $600 to $1,800 depending on the kind of declaw surgery that is performed and the location of the veterinary facility that performs the treatment; however, the typical cost is somewhere in the middle of those two numbers. The cost of treating any issues that may emerge as a result of declawing your cat is not included in this sum and may rapidly pile up depending on the nature of the condition.
Clawing a cat may be done in a few different ways.
The process of declawing a cat, which is also known as onychectomy, may take many various forms, but it always involves cutting off the “knuckle” or the very last finger on each foot. A look at the three most common methods of declawing, as well as an alternate procedure that some vets choose to do.
When performing the first and most usual kind of surgical procedure, a sterile clipper is used to make the incision through the third finger.
The second technique, known as disarticulation, entails severing the ligaments that are linked to the third bone in order to remove it in its entirety.
In a third approach, lasers are used rather than scalpels in order to remove the third digit. This procedure results in nearly little blood and potentially less discomfort than the other, although it is much more expensive.
Alternately, some veterinarians choose to conduct a tendonectomy on their patients. They achieve this by cutting the tendons on each toe of the cat so that it cannot extend its claws. However, you should continue to get your cat’s claws trimmed on a regular basis for the remainder of their lives to avoid any potential difficulties.
Negative Aspects of Declawing Cats
The choice to declaw a cat may seem to be an innocuous and speedy solution to a bothersome and destructive issue; nevertheless, this is not the case. However, this does not take into account the effects that the declawing procedure has on the cat or the potential health problems that it may provide.
The following are some of the drawbacks associated with declawing your cat:
As a kind of surgery, declawing exposes the patient to the dangers of infection as well as those associated with the anesthetic.
Sometimes there are complications that last for a long time and are unpleasant. Pain in the paw, nerve injury, an irregular stride, or persistent back pain are some of the possible causes.
A cat that has had its claws removed may cease using its litter box in an effort to reduce the pain in his feet.
A physical checkup to evaluate the overall health of the cat, the treatment itself, anesthesia, antibiotics, and potentially even an overnight stay can add up to a significant cost associated with surgical procedures. The price may be anything from $600 to $1,800. Complicacies will ultimately result in an increase in expenses.
There is a possibility that some cats may feel anxious and have difficulty adapting.
After having his claws removed, a cat that was previously biting as a means of self-defense may now bite more regularly.
Without their claws, cats are severely limited in their abilities to climb, hunt, and protect themselves. Because of this, cats who have had their claws removed should be kept inside.
Scratching is a Behavior That Is Inherent in Cats.
One of the most challenging aspects of declawing is the fact that it is a permanent and, at times, excruciating solution to a problem that cats must solve for their own physical and emotional well-being.
Scratching is a behavior that is instinctual for cats. They do this for primarily four reasons, which are as follows:
1 So that the outer, rotten covering of their claws may be removed.
2 To establish their area by leaving behind a sign that may be seen as well as a fragrance (cats have scent glands on their paws).
3 To loosen up their toes and fingers as well as their claws.
When they are anticipating the arrival of their owner or when they are responding to anything that is occurring in their environment.
It is often more beneficial to educate your cat how to scratch in an acceptable manner as opposed to completely eliminating the behavior.
Is There Any Advantage to Declawing Kittens and Cats?
In most cases, the advantages of declawing a cat are more geared toward the owners of the cat than they are toward the cat itself. The following are some of the projected benefits:
preventing irreparable damage to furniture or carpets by scratching them.
Avoid scratching anyone, especially youngsters and those who take medication to thin their blood.
A possible improvement in your connection with your cat, provided that the scratching was causing significant problems and that your cat does not develop any behavioral problems as a result of the operation.
It is possible for some cats to make a full recovery without experiencing any difficulties, but this cannot be guaranteed.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are a few uncommon scenarios in which a veterinarian might suggest declawing a cat. One of these scenarios is “when a cat’s excessive or inappropriate scratching behavior causes an unacceptable risk of injury or remains destructive despite conscientious attention to behavioral modification and alternatives.” [Clawing is recommended] when a cat’s behavior “causes an unacceptable risk of injury or remains destructive despite con
These benefits of declawing a cat are typically offset by the drawbacks described in the section that came before this one. Because of this, many people who have cats choose to look into the alternatives that are outlined below.
Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat That Are Safe
Instead of having their cats’ claws surgically removed, cat owners may choose from a number of other options.
- Keep your cat’s claws trimmed.
You should schedule a reminder for every two to three weeks to clip your cat’s nails. If you follow the appropriate measures for grooming, it shouldn’t be too tough.
Take your cat to the groomer or the veterinarian on a regular basis so that they can handle it for you professionally if you find the possibility of this occurring to be laughable.
- Use nail caps
To protect your furniture from your cat’s sharp claws, you may want to purchase vinyl nail caps. The normal development of your cat’s nails will not be affected in any way by them, but you will need to replace them every four to six weeks as your cat’s nails become longer. When you introduce anything new to your cat, providing it with positive reinforcement in the form of treats and affection will make it simpler for your cat to adjust to the change.
- Make the areas where people scratch more attractive.
Sometimes all that is required to modify your cat’s undesirable habit is to provide a more desirable outlet for scratching. Establish scratching poles in the places of the house where he likes to scratch the most. Find out which kind of scratching post your cat loves by experimenting with various textures, as well as vertical and horizontal scratchers. If you want to make them more appealing to your cat, try dusting them with some catnip.
- Educate your pet cat.
To prevent an issue from occurring in the first place is the most effective strategy to avoid having one. If you start your cat off with the right kind of training when they are young, you can educate them to utilize a scratching post rather than your furniture, drapes, or carpet.
If you want to show your cat that you are unhappy with it when it scratches in the incorrect region, try making a hissing sound. Putting aluminum foil over furniture may be an effective way to prevent cats from scratching or clawing at it since most felines dislike the sound and texture of the foil and avoid it. There are a variety of treatments, ranging from sprays to double-sided tape, that can be purchased in businesses that specialize in the sale of animals, and these items may also be beneficial in preventing scratching.
- Keep an eye out for sources of tension in the family
Because they become stressed out or bored easily, cats can sometimes scratch people or their owners’ belongings, which can be quite harmful. If this is the case, they could also meow an excessive amount or spray in an unsuitable manner.
Find out what is making them feel uncomfortable and work to alleviate their concerns as much as possible. If it is a different pet, you may have to gradually reacquaint them with one another. Or maybe someone in your household needs guidance on how to communicate most effectively with your feline friend. It might even be anything as innocuous as newly rearranged furniture or the presence of stray cats roaming the neighborhood at night.
If you play with your cat more, it will make him feel more confident and amused, which will result in less scratching on your furniture. Put up cat condos and toys that encourage interaction, and make it a regular routine for your cat to pursue you around the home. Sprays that are calming and that replicate the pheromones that cats release may also be helpful.
Declawing is not something pet owners do for the sake of amusement. Scratching is often brought up for discussion when it has developed into a significant problem. On the other hand, there are a lot of healthy and risk-free options that you can try, and using them will make both you and your cat happy.
Have a conversation with your veterinarian about declawing and the other alternatives.
Undiagnosed ailments are another potential source of stress that may contribute to compulsive scratching. If you are conscientious about your cat’s health and take them in for examinations at the veterinarian on a regular basis, you may help your cat live a longer and healthier life.
The greatest possible result for your cat’s health may be achieved by the early diagnosis of symptoms and indications of illness. Pets Best provides clients with the ability to tailor their own cat insurance policies in order to get financial assistance in the event of unforeseen accidents or illnesses, allowing them to pay for the most effective treatment options. Get a price quotation and start safeguarding your pet as soon as possible!*