I recently came across a post on how to declaw a cat and it made me sick to my stomach. It appears that a lot of people do not know exactly what declawing is and what it does to a cat. So I decided to make a post about it, hoping to inform some cat owners and hopefully save some cats from the ordeal.
What is declawing a cat?
The medical term is Onychectomy. To declaw a cat is basically removing the cat’s toes so that they can not scratch. Notice how that reads “toes” and not nails. That’s because declawing is amputating the cats toes. Because nails re-grow, declawing takes a more drastic measure and amputates the toes so that the whole front of the foot is removed, making a cat’s body unable to re-grow nails.
Why would you declaw a cat?
To be honest, the only reason someone would want to declaw a cat is because its so convenient for the owner. Declawing would be done to prevent scratching, but if you treat a cat right, the cat won’t scratch you.
I want to list some reasons posted in the article I read that would be good reasons to declaw a cat, following that I will share my opinion.
The cat scratches my hand/feet/leg when playing
You are probably roughhousing your cat of doing something your cat dislikes, a way better approach would be to start playing in a cat-and-human friendly way. Training your cat not to scratch
The cat scratches my furniture and there is no room for a scratching post
Are you really this selfish to want to get a cat but you do not want to provide any basic living requirements for cats? You should not own a cat if you care nothing about it.
The owner is to busy to train the cat, but wants to play and cuddle at anytime
Again, selfish reason. Training a cat to not scratch (or better yet, training yourself to interact properly with a feline) does not take up much time. If you don’t want to commit any time to a cat, you should not own a cat.
The other pet (cat,dog,bird) and the cat fight and I’m afraid one might get hurt
Did you think for one second before getting the cat? If you already have a cat, a dog or any animal for that matter, you should first test and see if they are compatible together and train both animals on how to interact. If they don’t want to interact and only fight, you should not get a cat.
All the reasons that article listed, are selfish and decadent reasons that are purely in the interest of benefitting the owner and not the cat.
Come on, declawing can’t be that bad?
To give you a reference, your fingertips would be removed along the entire length of your nails. So not just your nails, but your skin, bone and muscle below it as well.
Cats do not show their pain well
Cats are very sensitive and suffer pain in pretty much the same way as we humans do. The big difference is that cats tend to hide their pain.
You won’t see you cat cry and in most cases you won’t hear your cat when its in pain, but because you can’t see or hear it, does not mean your cat is not in pain.
Declawing is done under anaesthesia because it is so extremely painful, but that your cat will suffer pain for weeks to follow is overlooked.
Declawing is already illegal in many countries
A lot of countries have set up regulation on declawing as it was proven animal abuse. Here are some of the countries where declawing is already illegal:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
Declawing is not yet illegal in most states of the United States. California is the first state to outlaw declawing since 2009, and Virginia has a law that prohibits declawing unless medically required. It is expected that more states will follow.
Better alternatives to declawing
So hopefully you are now aware that you should never declaw a cat. But you might still want to do something against cat scratches and maybe you even have good reason too, like a new born child, or bad kitty behaviour.
Luckily there are several good methods to prevent scratching.
If that fails, you can visit your vet and have him trim or file the nails. See how this reads “nails” and only just nails. This is the same as trimming your own nails. Painless if done right.
There is also a great option that is painless and even looks pretty sweet: Soft Paws / Soft Claws. See the picture above. These vinyl caps are applied over the cat’s nails with non-toxic glue, making the nails painless for cats and humans.
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