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Cat Care

To Declaw or Not To Declaw

If you are not prepared to realize that cats like to climb, scratch and rip things then you are not prepared to be a cat owner. Get a goldfish instead.

Many people wrongly think that declawing a cat is a simple procedure that is no more damaging to the cat than a trip to a nail technician for us. However the truth is that declawing involves removing an entire digit of a cat’s toe along with the ligaments and tendons that go with it. Without this part of the foot, your cat cannot properly grasp, hold or establish footing for proper walking, running, springing, climbing or stretching. Declaring is a cat is like cutting off half their toes.

When veterinarians remove the end digit of a cat’s toe (the only way to remove the end digit) all of the sensory and motor nerves in the cat’s limb are damaged. They do not repair themselves or grow back for many months. Your cat has to walk on these stubs for ages and may suffer from great pain or a lack of feeling in the amputated limb that can easily cause injury or accident. You might have pristine looking furniture, but your cat could be in agony.

Remember that during all this time the cat may not "rest" his feet as we would after a similar operation but must continue to scratch in his litter box, walk and attempt to jump as usual regardless of his pain. Scratching in a litter box is particularly painful for cats that have been declawed.

Declawing may not even be a permanent solution. It is possible for the claws to grow back, but often not in the normal manner. They may grow through the top or bottom of the paw, creating a painful stumpy-looking sore.

Besides the physical mutilation, consider what declawing may do to the cat's psychology. Being able to scratch a post or furniture is integral to your cat’s sense of well-being. The constant pain may cause personality changes in the cat baffling the owner, including biting, viciousness and reclusiveness.

The cat’s instincts can also be affected once they realize that they are missing one of its most important means of defending itself. Knowing that he or she cannot defend himself with his or her claws, he or she might take an offensive posture, biting or attacking first before another animal can spot his or her physical weakness. Other cats become depressed, and lose the loving personality that made you choose him to start with.

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