In July 2019, New York became the first state to ban feline declawing. Throughout the United States, one question emerged: what is so bad about declawing a cat? The procedure may appear like a manicure, but there is a reason why many veterinarians deem declawing inhumane.
Why Do People Declaw?
Scratching is a habit that many cats develop at some point in their lives. They may scratch up furniture or even their human companions, leading to frustrations at home. Some cat owners may see declawing as a quick and easy solution to an expensive problem. However, many are unaware of exactly how invasive and painful the process actually is.
The Declawing Process and Its Effects
Declawing does more than simply remove the claws. Part of a cat’s bone must be amputated in order to ensure that the external nail will not grow back. Cutting off this section is the equivalent of amputating a human finger at the first knuckle. This can cause chronic pain that continues far past the initial surgery.
Additionally, a declawed cat’s paw does not touch the ground at the same angle as a free-clawed cat’s. The cat will have to relearn how to walk, and they will never be able to quite match the comfort and grace they once enjoyed.
Cats that have been declawed are also known to exhibit changed behavior. Instead of scratching, they may choose to bite. Biting is oftentimes more dangerous as bacteria in the mouth can lead to infected bite wounds. Additionally, declawed cats are known to become more antisocial or anxious.
Alternatives to Declawing
Although declawing is still legal in 49 states, it should be avoided at all costs. There are several humane alternatives that will still limit scratching damages. Your best alternative solution depends on the reason why your cat has taken up scratching.
Untrimmed nails. Cats with untrimmed nails may try to remove the dead outer layer by scratching at furniture or other textured surfaces. To avoid this, nails should be kept short. They can be trimmed either at home or at a professional grooming salon.
Boredom. Some cats scratch at humans or objects because they lack stimulation. Invest in a scratching post, or lay out some toys that your cat will enjoy.
Feeling threatened. A cat that feels unsafe in any way may resort to scratching their human companions. Analyze points of stress in your cat’s life. If there are children in the home, speak to them about proper handling and your cat’s specific boundaries.
Regardless of the reason, your cat will benefit from having a scratching post. It provides a way for them to keep their nails clean and bodies exercised. If the problem persists, consider nail caps. These allow the cat to scratch but limit any resulting damage.
Claws N Paws Day Spa in Fountain Valley, California provides professional grooming services with your pet’s best interest in mind. Visit our location or contact us at 714-962-1005 for any inquiries.