Why You Should Not Declaw Your Cat

Declawing your cat is not a simple procedure and it should never be lumped into the same category as neutering or spaying. Many cat owners choose to declaw their pets because it makes ownership convenient; however before you make the decision to declaw your feline friend, it is vital that you understand the disadvantages of putting your pet through an unnecessary surgery and consider the alternatives.

Surgical Risks

A common misconception among cat owners revolves around the erroneous belief that a declawing procedure is no worse than trimming a pet’s nails. This is not the case at all. Declawing is a major medical procedure that requires anesthesia and an overnight stay at the veterinarian’s office. As with any surgical procedure, complications could develop. In fact, according to a research study from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, nearly half of all cats that underwent surgical declawing procedures experienced complications in the clinic following the surgery.

In addition to the immediate risks, cats that are declawed may also suffer from arthritis or joint pain, which can lead to joint degeneration. This medical condition is more likely to occur because declawed felines shift the weight from their toes to reduce pain from the arthritis.

Defense Mechanisms

Many pet owners declaw their felines without regard to how they will defend themselves should they be confronted by a rival cat or a dog. If your cat is an outside cat, or an indoor/outdoor cat, you are dramatically affecting their ability to protect themselves when they are in a threatening situation. These felines are unable to climb trees or fight back. Your cat’s claws are their natural survival tools.

Litter Box Problems

For cats that are litter boxed trained, which is basically all indoor cats, but some indoor/outdoor cats as well, declawing can lead to problems using the litter box. Some cats treat their paws with extra care and concern not just immediately following the procedure, but for years after or even their entire lifetime. They may not be able to use a litter box that uses hard litter, which means cat owners may have to go out of their way to find special, more expensive cat litter to make it easier on their beloved pet.

Alternatives to Declawing

The majority of cat owners choose to declaw their cat because he or she is scratching up their door frames or leaving their furniture in shambles. Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. It is actually their way of marking their territory. Therefore, cat owners may want to consider purchasing scratching posts for their cats to make everyone happy.

If this doesn’t work you may want to speak with your vet about a tendonectomy. Like declawing, this is a surgical procedure, but it is not painful and does not remove the entire nail. It simply prevents the claws

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