The Ugly Truth About Declawing Your Cats
You all know that my goal is to help people educate themselves about their pets! And maybe have some fun while doing it! *Breaks into a dorky dance that luckily you can’t see*. One thing that I get a lot of joy out of is when people *reach out to me* and request a topic to be talked about on the blog.
One such request that I got was to research people about declawing cats. So want to take any guesses as to what this post is about?! Yes, it is all about de-clawing cats. (I think the title may have given it away). But today, I’m going to talk about what declawing cats is, some myths about de-clawing cats, and alternatives to declawing.
What is DeClawing of Cats
So what is declawing a cat? Declawing is a serious surgery where a cat’s toe bones and claws are amputated. Despite its name, declawing isn’t just the removal of a cat’s claws. If the same procedure was performed on a human, his finger would be amputated at the last knuckle. This surgery is often done as a way to prevent cats from scratching up furniture and protecting their home from any damage that could be done.
Some places go into the details in which the declawing procedure is done. But as I was reading about it, I was cringing. And I don’t want my readers cringing! So I’m going to leave this part out. However, as always, if you have any medical questions about it, it is always recommended to talk to a licensed veterinarian.
Questions that People Have About Declawing Cats
· Why Do People DeClaw Cats?
What a million-dollar question right there! A lot of the time, people will declaw their cats to prevent them from scratching up their furniture. There are sometimes other reasons that people will declaw their kittens, but oftentimes the scratching is the main reason.
· What Happens to my Cat after I declaw it?
After declawing, behaviors such as biting and urinating outside the litter box are often pain related. Oftentimes, using a litter box can become too painful on their paws. This leads them to use the restroom in more comfortable places for them.
Additionally, they can become untrusting of humans which leads them to mean behaviors. They associate humans with putting them in a great deal of pain and want to avoid reliving the pain as much as possible. That is why a lot of times people will complain about their declawed cats being “mean”. They are not necessarily mean, they are hurt and wary of humans.
· Are there any good reasons to declaw a cat?
When I first starting writing this and outlined this question that was asked, my initial response was NO! Absolutely Not! And I saw a few people in a group discussion I had say that it would be better if the alternative was going to a shelter. But that really makes me sad. If someone were so cruel that they would either give up their cat to avoid having scratches or resort to cutting their fingers off. It almost makes me question if the cat would be happier in a shelter with the potential of going to a new home with someone who will love them claws and all.
The other time that I also found in my research that I actually agree with is if there is a medical need for it. Sometimes cats can develop cancer in their claws. In those cases, rather than just removing the one claw and cause the cat to feel uncomfortable, they will completely declaw them. They have to completely declaw the cancer-ridden claw to prevent it from spreading, so they just make it even.
However, if you really think about the number of times that the second happens compared to the number of cats who are declawed, most of the time the latter is not the case.
· Can declawed cats go outside?
No! After a cat has been declawed, they are losing their main form of protection. Therefore, any declawed cat is only allowed to be inside. Declawing an outdoor cat would be one of the crueler things people could possibly do.
One call out for this question. These cats are still allowed to go outside supervised. If your cat enjoys a leash and collar, then they are still available to go on walks as they please. The main point I am trying to make is that you can’t send an unarmed cat out into the wild.
· What is the cost of declawing cats?
The cost to declaw cats can range on location and the age of the cat. This range can vary from anywhere to $250 and $400.
· Is declawing cats legal?
Technically yes, it is legal in most states in the United States. However, recently some laws are being passed in certain states that are making declawing cats illegal. One such state that has recently passed a law against declawing cats is New York. It is also illegal in about 22 different countries, hopefully more as time goes on!
Alternatives to De-Clawing Cats
This is a much more effective method than anything else! If you take the time to train them and teach them that scratching furniture is unacceptable. This usually is not a quick fix and requires a lot of patience on your part. But this is one of the best long-term fixes. Your kitten will learn not to scratch furniture for the entirety of its life! The biggest thing is putting the work in in the beginning.
These are more commonly called ‘soft caps’. Soft Caps are nail caps for cat claws that are applied with adhesive, and to which cats usually get used to within a few days. This process can take some time to get used to and required you to re-apply covers as they naturally fall off. I like to think of these as the glue-on nails that you can buy at the store. I actually used these on my cats a few years ago and loved them. The only reason I stopped was I was sick of continuing to put them on her. Which makes sense, because that’s the same reason I stop getting my nails done, or even using glue on nails. Luckily, I found so many other awesome techniques to help with scratching.
This is a less effective, but nonetheless widely used alternative to declawing cats. It involves trimming the nails short and often. The purpose behind this is to prevent cats that scratch items to trim their nails. I always recommend for people to trim their cat's nails regularly to keep them happy and healthy. So, this solution can sometimes be very effective. However, this method will not stop a cat from sharpening its existing claws and using them, so it is not as effective as the first two.
This might seem like a no-brainer in the eyes of some cat owners, but it is very important to have plenty of options for your cats to play, scratch and chase. This will allow you to establish a difference between what is allowed to be scratched and what is not. I always recommend cat trees as they serve a scratching purpose as well as additional entertainment. I have also seen others have success with X-shaped cat scratcher and others as well. Some cats are very particular, so just because your kitten doesn’t like one scratcher doesn’t mean no scratcher will fit their needs. Just requires a little more time and plenty of good return policies. When you find your kitties ideal scratcher, you will see a big difference in them.
Anyone who’s read my blog knows I LOVE Pheromones for cats. I have seen such crazy success every time I implement them. The same is true for scratching. Sometimes cats scratch as a way to mark territory. Pheromones allow your kitten to feel safe and relaxed without ruining furniture. While this may not be a complete and quick fix, pheromones, especially when used with other tactics, are a great solution for cat scratching.
Making the Decision to Accept Your Cat:
Okay, this isn’t really an alternative to declawing cats, but it is an option to consider. When I got Phoebe, she started scratching this ottoman that I had. I knew nothing about cat scratching, so just hoped it would stop. Now, I know more about cat scratching and she has gotten better (within reason). The difference with me was I decided that I didn’t really care about the ottoman. (In fact, I actually want to turn it into a cat scratcher ottoman but I will go more into that in the future). Phoebe made me happy, not my furniture. And if I had to pick between perfect furniture and snuggling with her at night, she wins every time. Not even a question. Her happiness and health mean more to me than perfect furniture. Claws and all.
A lot of people don’t truly understand what declawing cats truly is. The process is oftentimes unnecessary and causes more damage to the cat in the long run than had they been able to keep their nails. There are only a few instances in which declawing would be acceptable, but more of the time there are many steps pet owners can take to make both themselves and the cats happy.
And now that you know all the details about declawing cats, you can pass it along to your friends and family. When they ask you if they should declaw their cats you can inform them about all the facts about declawing cats and wells as provide them with some alternatives. Keep your cat healthy and happy and let them keep their claws.