Owning a cat is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but with it can come some unique challenges. If your cat constantly scratches, whether it’s you, your furniture, rugs, or walls, you may have considered declawing them.
Declawing, also known as onychectomy, used to be a popular elective procedure performed by veterinary clinics across the world. However, due to improved client education and alternative options, this practice is thankfully becoming a thing of the past. In fact, this procedure has been banned in Europe for nearly a decade. Now several major corporate veterinary chains prohibit the procedure entirely and entire cities in the US are banning it.
Declawing is not a simple nail trim; it’s amputating the last bone of each toe on a cat’s paw. In human terms, it’s like amputating each of our fingers off at the knuckle. But because we don’t walk on our hands, one may think it may not hurt for the rest of our lives. However, cat’s do, and it’s an extremely painful procedure not only in terms of recovery, but often for their entire life.
After a kitten or cat is declawed, there can be many complications that arise from a ‘simple declaw procedure’, including:
There are several safe and humane alternatives to declawing a cat. Cats can be trained to use scratching posts to sharpen their claws. If your cat prefers scratching a certain material, choose a scratching post that has a similar feel. Also pay attention to the direction in which they scratch – stretching up vertically or out horizontally – as there are scratching posts designed to meet those needs, too. Just ensure they are tall or long enough to allow for your cat to fully stretch out. If you’ve tried a scratching post and your cat still isn’t a fan, there are products such as catnip or Feliscratch (a pheromone-based scratch attractant) that encourages cats to scratch on approved surfaces.
Other alternatives are frequent nail trims and nail caps, such as those made by Soft Paws. You can also discourage your cat from scratching on unapproved surfaces by laying tinfoil across the surface or attaching sticky tape to it.
At TLC Cat Clinic, we have a strict No Declaw policy, and we work with cat owners to come up with solutions for their pets to get their urge to scratch out in a safe and acceptable manner. If you experience inappropriate scratching problems with your feline friend, please give us a call!