What Declawing Cats Entails
If this procedure were done on a human, it would be like cutting off the fingers at the knuckle just past the fingernails. Declawing a cat is basically cutting off the last knuckle on each of their toes.
You may not be aware of it, but there is a hot debate about declawing that has been going on for years. The Humane Society says that, "declawing cats is far worse than a manicure." And there is no benefit to the cat whatsoever!
People think that declawing their cat is a quick-fix to stop them from scratching up their furniture. In reality, declawing your cat makes the cat less likely to use the litterbox, keeps it from being able to defend itself, should it escape the house, and it often causes them to bite more often.
Some people with immunodeficiencies or bleeding disorders are afraid of getting scratched, thinking that they will get sick. In reality, they are much more likely to get sick if they get bitten by a cat, or from the litterbox, or even from the fleas that may be on the cat.
There is another option, called tendonectomy, where the tendon that controls the claw is cut. This allows the cat to keeps its claws, but it has no control over them. According to the Humane Society, "Although a tendonectomy is not actually removing the claws, a 1998 study published in the "Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association" found the incidence of bleeding, lameness, and infection was similar between tendonectomy and declawing." And I would think that it would be awfully confusing to the cat!
What About The Scratching?
Kittens usually start scratching by the time they're 8 weeks old. That's when they should be introduced to a scratching post.
This is also when you should start getting them used to getting their nails trimmed. Trimming their nails is something that you can do yourself, as long as it is started at an early age. And you don't need any special equipment; you use the same nail clipper you would use on your own nails.
Medical Drawbacks to Declawing Cats
Declawing a cat could make them lame. It changes how their foot hits the ground when they walk, and can actually cause back problems. It's kind of like walking in a pair of shoes that don't fit right.
Because the procedure is so painful, it often makes a cat stop using the litterbox, because they become too afraid to scratch the litter. Even if it is replaced with shredded newspaper.
When I worked for a veterinarian, I was in the operating room when cats were being declawed. Even though the cats were anesthetized, the majority of them would scream as each bone was being cut. It's been over 30 years ago that worked there, and I can still hear that screaming.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, there is a bill proposed in New Jersey to outlaw the declawing of cats. In my humble opinion (for what it's worth), it should be outlawed in every state. But that's just me.
I guess the jury is still out on whether it is right or wrong to declaw a cat. However, if you look at all the articles written, there sure doesn't seem to be any real reason to justify doing it. Introduce your 8 month old kitten to the scratching post, and keep several around the house, and learn to trim their nails on a regular basis. Problem solved!
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