Declawing is a procedure that is permanent and completely removes the claws of a cat. It is often done to keep a cat from scratching and harming household furniture and carpets.
Many people consider declawing as a minor procedure. This is a misconception. This procedure is traumatic and quite painful to the cat and can have many adverse consequences. Also, it is not the only way for owner’s to deal with the issues of scratching. There are many other ways to redirect or repress the impulse to scratch without using surgery.
First, let’s consider what is entailed with declawing. Let’s look at the claws in relation to humans. Their claws would be like the entire fingertip on a human, not merely the finger nail. If the same procedure was performed on a human, it would require that the entire tip of the finger to be amputated. This includes the bone and all, from the tip top of the nail all the way down to the first knuckle. When you declaw a cat, you don’t have only the nail itself removed, but the whole top part of their toes.
I’m sure you can imagine how painful this would be. The procedure fundamentally changes the ability of the cat to navigate through their environment. Not only are cats left without their main mechanism of defense, but they have to learn how to walk without using their toe tips. This will often lead them to having back and leg pain as they have to redistribute their weight in a way that is unnatural. There is often chronic pain in the location where the amputation happened. You also risk infection of the site since the toes are opened and exposed.
Scratching things is part of a cats natural behavior. If you bring a cat into your home, it’s part of what you must accept. Many owners and veterinarians have developed ways to help control this natural desire in cats to claw in their environment. One way is to use scratching posts. If you place treats of cat nip on or near the posts, it will teach your cat that the post is where to scratch. Also, trim your cat’s claws regularly to reduce any damage from scratching.
As you can see, declawing a cat is cruel and unnecessary. There are many other options available to help you curb your cat’s natural desire to scratch and claw. Give those a shot before you take the drastic measure to amputate your cat’s claws.