You love your cat, but you love your furniture too. What’s a pet owner to do when their beloved feline is tearing holes in the sleek leather couch? The answer used to be quite simple: declaw.
I’ve been a cat lover my whole life. This love affair began at such a young age I don’t remember a time in my life I wasn’t the proud companion to a cat. My mother was the same way; she was always falling helplessly in love with little furry faces.
We never declawed our cats. I can’t really say it was a moral issue; it was just something we didn’t do. I never knew much about it except that we never did it. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what declawing a cat entailed. When I realized what declawing does, I decided then and there no leather couch would be worth doing that to my cat.
What Is Declawing?
When you take your cat in to be declawed you might possibly think the nails are removed from your cat’s paws or just trimmed down permanently. That’s partially true. Look at your own hands. Would you like to lose your nails? Surely not! That isn’t the whole story though!
When a cat is declawed it’s not just the nail that is removed. The nail is bonded quite well to the first bone in your cat’s claw. They must remove the uppermost bone to remove the nail. Now look at your hand. Imagine someone cutting off your fingers down to the first knuckle. This is what happens when a cat is declawed. Not only is it painful, many consider it to be mutilation.
For a more detailed description of what declawing entails, please visit the website www.declawing.com. Also consider that declawing is outlawed in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Japan, and Ireland just to name a few.
Results of Declawing
If you consider how often you use your own fingers you may realize declawing a cat is pretty drastic. Every part of your body, even something as small as your pinky toe, is designed to help your body move. If you remove even one small appendage, or part of an appendage, you lose some of your natural grace. When your cat is suddenly missing parts of their fingers they lose their natural movement and they must learn to balance all over again.
Cats use their nails for a variety of reasons. The most useful would be self-protection and climbing. Cats climb trees to get away from predators or to catch a meal. Their nails are their first line of defense when they are being attacked. Without their nails, they are left almost defenseless. Even if you keep your pet inside at all times, you can never be one hundred percent sure they will never get out of the house. Declawed cats that venture outside are left defenseless.
Behavior modification: You only need a little time and a little patience to teach your cat not to scratch furniture or drapes. They will use an alternative if properly trained. Many companies produce cat ‘trees’ and scratching posts for cats. You can easily teach your pet to scratch these as opposed to your household items. Simple redirection will usually do the trick. Cats are not dumb animals and they will pick up the change rather easily. Ask your veterinarian for advice on training your cat.
Trimming: Trimming your cat’s nails may not completely eliminate the problem but it will help. You should visit your veterinarian for a lesson on trimming nails. There are nerves within the nails that you must not cut. If these are nipped or clipped they will leave your cat in extreme pain.
Soft Paws: Soft Paws were developed by a veterinarian as a safe and humane alternative to declawing a cat. They are also available for dogs and can work on other small household pets as well.
Soft Paws are vinyl tips that are glued over your cat’s claws to prevent damage from scratching and leave your cat’s paws intact. They are so easy to use you can put them on at home. These come in a variety of colors and sizes, and last up to six weeks before they need to be reapplied. You can purchase a kit for $18.00 online that will last you and your pet for six months.
If you have issues with your cat scratching everything you own you may be tempted to remove the problem by declawing. Most consumers simply don’t know what declawing really does or that there are alternatives. Now that you know the specifics you are better armed to make an informed decision about your cat’s health and well-being.