Declawing Your Cat – Everything You Need To Know
If you are a cat owner then you have almost certainly been on the wrong end of your feline-friend’s claws on more than once occasion. Razor sharp, they are an extremely useful tool for your cat, but they can also be something of a nuisance. Declawing is an aspect of pet care largely limited to the U.S., but one that can help you to minimize problems that occur as a result of your cat’s claws.
Reasons for declawing a cat
There are two main reasons why people choose to declaw their cat.
Protect their family
The first is because cats have an uncanny ability to accidentally hurt people with their claws. Cats are extremely agile and are able to jump great heights. They are also able to balance on things that seem far too small to be able to support them. Their claws are an important tool for their agility and help them to climb and grip. However, even when they don’t mean to use their claws, they can still accidentally scratch, or their claws may dig in when they climb on you. Many people, especially those with young children, choose to declaw their cat to ensure that family members cannot be unintentionally hurt.
Protect their home
Cats claws can also be damaging to carpets, flooring, soft furnishings and actual furniture around the home. Again, it can be completely accidental, but their day to day movements around the home can cause rips and scratches. The second reason that owners choose to declaw their cat is to protect the interior of their home.
Reasons against declawing your cat
Declawing is a controversial act in some parts of the world, and is even banned in some countries, including the UK.
Declawing is much more than a manicure
Many people mistakenly believe that the process of declawing a cat is much like a manicure. It actually involves the amputation of the first digits on each front foot and is a serious surgical procedure. It can cause your pet to be in pain for some time after the surgery. In some instances, nails can also grow back inside the paw. This can cause your cat to be in extreme pain, but will be almost impossible to spot.
Claws are your cat’s natural defence
If your cat likes to be outside, she will likely come across a range of animals including other cats. If she happened to get into an altercation with them, or was attacked, then she wouldn’t be able to protect herself
Declawed cats have their natural agility inhibited
Declawing a cat impairs their natural balance. This is because declawing involves removing bone as well as nail. As such, declawed cats will lose much of their ability and will have to learn new ways to walk, climb and balance.
Declawed cats can become more aggressive
With their natural defence removed, many declawed cats actually become more aggressive due to feeling unprotected and insecure.
Alternatives to declawing
There are some steps that you can take as an alternative to declawing, or at the very least to try before you book your cat in for a declawing procedure.
Trim their claws regularly
The majority of damage caused by cat’s claws is done by the hooked tip. By removing this portion of the claw on a regular basis, you may be able to eliminate the problem of accidental scratching entirely.
Buy scratching posts
Scratching is a natural behavior of cats, and one that helps to keep their claws in check. By providing somewhere special that they can do it, you can save your beloved furniture. Each home should have at least two scratching posts that are tall enough to allow your cat to fully stretch herself out, and rough enough to fulfil their clawing needs.
Train your cat to scratch in the right places
Cats are extremely intelligent and can be trained to use scratching posts by offering treats and rewards. Make sure you gently scold your cat if you catch her scratching your furniture, by telling her off in a loud, firm voice, or by gently squirting water out of a toy gun at her back.