How Declawing Affects Your Cat And Why You Shouldn’t Do It

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Imagine coming home from work after a long tiring day; you’re looking forward to getting ready for bed and drift off to dreamland. Except, the first thing that greets you are furniture and furnishings marked with scratches, and almost immediately, you instinctively know who’s the culprit: your adorable but mischievous cat.

In such a situation, you’ll most likely be tempted to declaw your pet so that they can’t do further damage. Whilst it may seem like a benign procedure, declawing your cat can pose several long-term adverse consequences that can affect your pet. Before you potentially make the decision that will change your cat’s life forever, we’ll give you the lowdown on how harmful declawing can be and what are some of the safer alternatives available for both you and your furry companion.

How declawing affects your cat

There is a myriad of ways to perform declawing procedures on cats, with the most common being a procedure called an onychectomy. It involves surgically removing the cat’s claw by means of the amputation of all or part of the end bones, also known as the distal phalanges.

Just as how removing nails from the nail beds can be extremely painful, declawing is a process that is not only excruciating, but also poses several negative effects on your pet. The medical drawbacks include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis and back pain, amongst many others. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground, effectively affecting their balance for the worse.

Moreover, cats may also experience phantom pain from their declawed paws, marking an increase in behavioural issues such as aggression, scratching and biting. Declawing your cat also increases the likelihood of overgrooming, which leads to its own set of problems.

Alternatives to declawing

Declawing your cat isn’t the only approach to stop your cats from scratching and damaging your furniture. You can adopt more humane alternatives that are safe and less painful for your furbaby. Here are 4 alternatives you can try:

1. Nail Trimming

One of the most accessible and easiest alternatives is to simply trim their nails every 10 days to 2 weeks. If your cat doesn’t wish to comply, you can always opt for nail grinders instead. When going for an extended vacation, you may consider one of the many pet boarding facilities that offer grooming services as part of their package.

2. Nail Caps

Designed to minimise the damage inflicted by sharp claws, nail caps are plastic covers that you glue over your furbaby’s nails. These durable covers are relatively inexpensive, and can last for four to six weeks. That said, these caps may be rather difficult to apply, especially if your cat doesn’t like their paws to be handled. In such cases, you’ll want to practise patience and give them time to get used to these foreign objects. Another alternative is to consider hiring a professional groomer to do it for you.

3. Training

It is in your cat’s nature to scratch at objects. Not only does it help to get rid of the dead outer layer of their claws, but scratching also helps them leave their scent on surfaces, essential in territory marking. Besides, it also helps the cats stretch their bodies, and flex their claws and feet.

To prevent your cat from damaging your furniture, you can encourage your cat to use a scratching post instead. To coax your cat to utilise the post, you can apply catnip (cat’s very own kryptonite) or spray pheromone solution on certain areas of the post. When you catch your kitty cat using the scratching post, reward them with praises and perhaps their favourite treats!

4. Protect your furniture

Apart from the above alternatives, you can take the step further by protecting your furniture. Tape coverings and bitter scents such as citrus fragrances will repel your pet cat. Be sure to regularly replacing the tape coverings and refresh the scents.

We hope this article will deter you from declawing your cat. If the alternatives are not working out, we suggest consulting a vet for professional advice. If you’ve gotten your adorable cat from a shelter with pet adoption services, there stands a chance that your adopted kitty cat has been declawed by their previous owners. This is another ball game altogether, and your concerns will be different than the ones above.

Whether declawed or otherwise, be sure to head down to consult a vet in a 24-hour vet clinics in Singapore to find an approach that best suit you and your pet’s needs.