People often think declawing cats is harmless. It is a quick fix for unwanted scratching. But they don’t understand what declawing can do to cats. The claws are objects for exercise stretch and maintaining the health of the fingers. Cats tend to mark the territory of their own. It’s their instinct. Hence the clawing satisfies both the physical and physiological needs of the cat.
If you carefully observe, the wild cats tend to claw trees. However the domesticated cats are mostly restricted to the inside home. Therefore, when left alone, they intuitively try to scratch the couch or side of the furniture and sometimes your favorite easy chair. With the regular trimming of nails or appropriate training, you can avoid scratching and similar problematic behavior. Instead, declawing is unnecessary and also a brutal thing to perform. Many countries have legally banned declawing, except for necessary cases or under the supervision of vets. Here is a guide to making you understand why declawing should be avoided.
What is declawing?
Declawing a cat is surgery. It is an operation carried on to remove an animal’s claw. Most feline owners do this as cats develop germinal tissue within the third phalanx; hence, amputation is necessary as there is a need to remove the full claw. There are three types of declawing found listed below.
Convention Declawing: The cats are given anesthesia, and the operation is performed. The nail is removed, and all ten toes are amputated with the cartilage. It is a standard method using the guillotine clipper or scalpel. After removal, the wounds are stitched or closed with surgical glue. The bleeding is stopped, and the feet look bandaged.
Laser Declawing: Now, with technology growth, even with lasers, this surgery can be performed. The intense spectrum of light is passed where the nails through the tissues are cut by heating and vaporizing methods.
Tendonectomy: It is the third type of surgical procedure. Here the tendon of the claw that controls the actions is severed. The claws remain the same here, but they cannot stretch or scratch any objects. It is usually performed on adult cats that abnormally have thick claw growth. It is subject to the decision of the vets only. However, even after the tendonectomy, regular trimming of nails may be required. Also though tendonectomy is not similar to amputation, the bleeding and infections after the procedures are similar.
What are the healthy alternatives to declawing?
There are some of the best alternatives for cats that can be used instead of declawing.
|Scratching post||A dedicated scratching post instinctively drives cats to them. You can add one or two at home. So, if the cat feels like scratching, they are used to the habit of redirecting to the post.|
|Claw trimmer||Many feline owners buy claw trimmers. But they are not sure how to use them. Hence, you can seek the help of vets or the groomer. They are a great option & cats will not feel defenseless.|
|Nail Caps||Nail caps from Soft Claws and Purdy paws are available in all sizes & they are extremely soft. It does not hurt the cats & you can also save the furniture from scratching.|
|Deter||Deter is one of the most common methods chosen by cat owners. You can use double-sided tape or tin foil to cover the claw. At the same time, they should be comfortable enough to move or stretch.|
What happens when the cats are declawed?
The major problem with declawing is that the last toe bone of the cat is amputated, and they undergo long-term risks. The certified consultants for cats say that if declawing is performed for humans, there is a high chance that our fingers are cut in the process at least the last knuckle.
To study the long-term effects of declawing, the sage journal, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery published a paper on the examination of 274 cats of different age groups. Half of them were declawed already. The people who do fieldwork by studying animals in shelters and other veterinarians examine the sins of pain in these cats. There were many factors included in the examination. The cats flinch when they respond to touch, feeling body tension, chewing fur, excessive licking, and some more of these similar symptoms. The experts looked at the medical histories & various notable behavioral changes reported because of declawing.
They shockingly found that the declawed cats are four times more likely to bite people and also more aggressive. They were seven times more likely to pee anywhere, not just the litter box, and three times over-groom themselves. It gets worse when the cats are diagnosed with back pain than the cats with claws. Also, this may be due to the modification that happened in gait. Because of the missing toe bones, they end up with chronic pain in the paws.
The results reinforced the opinion that declawing cats will cause unwanted behaviors because of pain management. Hence this was now supported by scientific study; therefore, the edge on stopping the declaw methods was brought into existence.
Why declawing must be avoided?
There are several reasons why declawing must be avoided. Here we are going to give the list of side effects of the surgery.
A most commonly found problem on declawed cats. The complications and reactions to general anesthesia result in hemorrhage and permanent nerve damage.
Due to the lack of support, the cats have modified to walk. You can see that the joints are strained, and the early arthritic condition occurs in the cat, causing severe pain whenever they walk or run.
After surgery, cats have to relearn or modify their walk in such a way that they don’t feel pain anymore. Since the toes are removed, it occurs a lack of support; there is no balance in the legs which causes severe mobility issues.
Litter box pain
It is an abnormal condition where you can see the cats dig the litter box while walking on them. Because of the pain, they search for soft and tender places where they place their feet comfortably. It is one of the primary reasons why they litter on different or inappropriate sites.
Unlike a human, their leg nerves are connected to the shoulders directly. Due to immobility or tissue damage, the shoulders become weak. The modified gait may not be adaptable to the shoulders. Therefore, they are unable to exercise much.
With the claws, most of the time, the cats mark their territory, especially while eating. Now when they don’t have the proper means to do that, their intake becomes less. They don’t eat only in a specific area, and they start spilling all around the home because there is no boundary.
It is very commonly seen that if the surgery is not done correctly, the nails start growing back under the skin improperly, which will cause severe pain, and apparently, you cannot pet them.
The best defense mechanism for cats is their claws. When they lose it, they become insured, and thus, they have behaved insecurely. Especially when they see strangers, even the slightest provocation may stimulate them to attack.
The pain becomes uncontrollable after a point to the declawed cat. They start biting often. It does not stop with biting others but also themselves. You can see them chew their tail quite often.
Indoor cats become highly vulnerable. The cats start running around the house because of fear. There is no means for them to climb, even when they are introduced to the outside atmosphere.
What are the long-term effects of declawing?
In medical terms, the declawing will include pain and cause Necrosis tissue. It is otherwise known as ‘Death tissue.’ It has been called for the same reason when there is substantial damage and death over the body tissue. The blood flow becomes very minimal in the tissue because of the injury or as side effects of radiation or any chemical therapies. When there is a large area of tissue that happens to have undergone Necrosis, then the condition will be called ‘Gangrene”. A similar pattern was found in the declawed cats. Also, removing the claw changes the contact of the cat’s foot on the ground, which can be compared to the pain similar when you wear a pair of shoes that or too tight or uncomfortable.
Sometimes the cats are identified with abnormal regrowth of the improperly removed claws, bone spurs, and nerve damage. When they pee in appropriate places, they choose soft surfaces to urinate like carpets or over soft fabric. The primary reason behind it is that they feel less painful over the gravel found in the litter box. With uncontrollable pain, they start biting people. For humans, this will result in hospitalization due to different kinds of infections.
The Top reasons why you should never declaw the cats
It is illegal
After constant persuasion of the pain that the cat faces, many countries have decided to make this procedure illegal. Almost 21 countries are up against the surgery. They have been banned, and it can lead you to jail if found. It includes many American, European, and Australian countries passing a bill on animal cruelty, leading to a fine of $20000, and spending a year in jail. Even though the case of declawing is rare in Asia, they also have passed this bill. Israel very recently adopted this bill as it is one of the countries that pet cats more than any other animal.
It is a common myth that declawing will help the cats to stay hygienic, but in reality, it is complete nonsense. Many veterans recommend declawing for their own businesses. But the fact is that the cats start grooming themselves a lot. During the phase of recovery, they scratch the gravel of the litter box and other soft fabric. It may cause infection, and you need to bandage them after a point.
You make them defenseless
Another important myth of declawing is that they become docile. The cat oppositely becomes highly aggressive. They use claws as one of the critical defense tools, now leaving them open for attacks. They become too rambunctious and become alone after a time. The cats become socially conscious about any other animals, even with quite a bigger cat. It causes a lot of depression in them, and they don’t even play with the owners.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it a good idea to declaw cats?
No, not at all! Declawing is a brutal action. People often misunderstand declawing as the trimming of nails. But truly it isn’t. They are usually performed as surgery. Claws are used by cats not only to scratch or dig objects but also to exercise and defend them when they feel insecure. Hence declawing is always a bad idea.
What are the alternatives for declawing cats?
The cat consultants recommended alternative is that it makes things unattractive to cats that they scratch often. It may not seem as funny as it sounds. The cat owners put aluminum foil or bubble wrap over them to prevent the cat from scratching. You can also provide them with scratching surfaces, train them with the distraction, and easily trim claws from a young age.
How often do the cats need trimming?
A nail trimming can happen over time from two weeks to three weeks. But never trim all the toenails in one sitting. For instance, you trim the two claws at two days intervals. Provide them special treatment, and if the cat still refuses, the vet or groomer can help you better.
The declawing performed on the pets primarily only to save the furniture is absurd. Because if you are considering petting a cat, you probably know that they are in their nature. Ensure that you have time to train your cats and provide them with the rewards. Getting a scratching post or teaching them with the water gun when they scratch anything valuable are some of the great alternatives. Declawing for any reason is brutal. Unless there is internal bleeding or infectious claws that affect other people say strictly ‘No’ for declawing. You can never punish a cat for being a cat.