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Why Declawing Cats is Bad

Cats tend to scratch everything. And while scratching can be annoying, this doesn't mean you should get them declawed. Today, our Stuart vets discuss why declawing cats is bad.

What is declawing?

Declawing is the surgical removal of all ten front toes at the last joint. Declawing by amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper is the most common method. Laser declawing for cats, which uses a small, intense beam of light to cut through tissue, is another option. Both can cause long-term physical issues for your cat.

What is a tendonectomy?

A tendonectomy is when the tendon that controls the claw in each toe is severed. The cat retains its claws but is unable to extend or scratch them. A tendonectomy is associated with a high rate of abnormally thick claw growth. To keep the cat's claws from snagging on people, or from growing into the paw pad. they require more frequent and difficult nail trimming.

Does declawing cats hurt them?

Declawing can result in paw discomfort, back pain, and infection. Claws that have been improperly removed can regrow, causing nerve damage and bone spurs. Some cats may bite more often because they can no longer defend themselves with their claws.

Shredded newspaper is typically used in the litter box for several days after surgery to prevent litter from irritating declawed feet. This unfamiliar flooring, accompanied by pain when scratching in the box, may make cats stop using the litter box.

Why do cats scratch?

Scratching is natural cat behavior. Scratching allows your cat to stretch its muscles, shed the outer nail sheath from its claws, and mark territory. Cats in the wild use their claws to catch prey, defend themselves, and flee predators. Scratching at home is a way for them to leave their scent in their territory, which helps them feel at ease and secure.

Alternatives to Declawing

There are many safe and effective alternatives to declawing you can use to keep your cat happy.

Trim Your Cat's Nails

Trimming your cat's nails once a week can help avoid any damage to items, like your living room sofa. Make sure you avoid the blood vessels and nerves at the base of the claw so you don't injure your cat. If you're unsure about how to trim your cat's nails, you can ask your vet to show you how. Or you can take them to a grooming session.

Consider Grinding Tools

Similar to the suggestion above, grinding tools make grooming seem more like a pedicure. Your cat will likely need to be conditioned to accept the grinding tool, though. And you'll likely need your vet or groomer to show you how it is done to avoid injury.

Get a Scratching Post

Scratching posts provide a safe place for cats to scratch themselves. Try spraying an over-the-counter pheromone on the scratching post to entice your cat to use it. Your cat will be less likely to scratch your furniture once he becomes accustomed to using a scratching post.

To learn more about alternatives to declawing, and more suggestions for getting your cat to stop scratching, contact our Stuart vets.

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