When you hear about inhumane practices that are banned in two dozen countries, you assume the United States has to be leading the list of those against it. Sadly, that’s not always the case, such as the rampant and barbaric practice of declawing. About 25% of cats in the US are declawed, and while it is never done with malicious intent, the process is terrifying, and educating yourself on what declawing entails can hopefully prevent more cats from suffering.
Declawing is simply a nice way to say “de-knuckling.” The process (for both traditional and laser surgeries) involves the amputating all or part of the bones in the animal’s toes, not just trimming their nails, so that the claws don’t regrow. Declawing might save your furniture, but it can be devastating to cats. There is a long list of complications that come with declawing, but we can only cover so many.
Litter boxes hurt!
- Imagine having part of your finger removed, and then having to rake them through litter to go to the bathroom. Close to 95% of complaints and calls to vets about declawed cats involve problems with using the litter box. Instead they may use the entire house as the bathroom. This is especially prevalent in older cats.
- Claw regrowth is another serious and painful issue that can happen months or even years after the surgery if part of the nail bed is missed. The chances of lameness and arthritis also rise to obscenely high rates, with nearly 1/3 of declawed cats developing one or both.
- The tendons that are trimmed during declawing retract after surgery, becoming frozen. This leads to extreme stiffness, and can affect the cat’s balance.
- Declawed cats have no defense in the wild, meaning that a cat that escapes, or is abandoned, has no hope of survival.
The Chances Of Fatality!
- Any surgery can lead to death, either from an adverse reaction to anesthesia, or from accidents during the procedure. The chance of losing a cat over a selfish and unnecessary surgery should be enough to deter anyone from declawing their cat.
So, what can you do if you want to protect your house and skin from your cats occasional outbursts? There are numerous ways, all of which will be, at worst, a minor annoyance to your loved one.
- Soft Paws are a nail cap that fits over your cats nails snuggly and without discomfort. It prevents scratching, but allows cats to still stretch, kneed, and handle their litter effectively. Some cats will be more receptive than others (one of my cats has no problem, the other will not abide them!), but they are a great way to stop damage in a non-invasive way.
- Scratching posts! Some cats take some time and work to transition to a post if they are not accustomed to it, but they work wonders, and can help keep your cats nails healthier. They come in a variety of styles, from intricate, to comfortable , and the fun loving. Having one or two around the house will do wonders. Try different materials to see what your cat likes – carpet, cardboard, and sisal posts are widely available.
- Double sided tape is a great protection for corners of furniture as well. They even make specific tape designed for animals. The texture and tackiness is uncomfortable to the pads of cat paws, and will quickly deter them from that spot. Eventually you won’t have any need for the tape as they will learn to avoid scratching there at all costs.
These are just a few ways to help prevent any feeling of need towards declawing. Even if you’ve done it in the past, you can make sure future fur babies don’t have the same experience. And make sure to spread this information to other cat parents! Hopefully the United States will join the majority of countries in banning this practice before too long.
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