Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Reasons Why You Should Not Declaw A Cat

A cat's claws are a vital part of their physical and psychological well-being. Many people do not realize that declawing a cat is inhumane, and a very unnecessary major surgical procedure which often leaves the declawed cat with physical and psychological problems that will last their lifetime.

Cats use their claws for many reasons such as to exercise, groom themselves, mark their territory, and as a first line of defense against predators. Cats scratch as part of a normal instinct, and taking that away can lead to even worse behavior problems. Many people believe that declawing a cat just consists of removal of the cat's nails but this is not the case. It is actually an amputation of all the cat's digits at the first knuckle of bone. It is a major surgery, which is very painful to the cat, and recovery and healing from this surgery can be painful and difficult for the cat. Complications such as infection can occur, as well as the general risk of anethesia during the procedure.

The declawed cat often develops litter box issues, such as not using the litter box, because the litter hurts their feet, so they begin avoiding the box and start peeing and pooping in various places around the home. This leads to further frustration on the part of the cat owner who is now faced with the cat damaging the floors and leaving behind unpleasant odors throughout the house. Cat urine odor is very difficult to remove, and a cat's sense of smell is more sensitive than humans. Once the cat begins urinating on the floor, they will often continue to do so because, despite the owners attempts to clean the area and remove the odor, it still exists to the cat's sensitive sense of smell, and this unwanted behavior persists.

The cat owner then becomes even more frustrated as this behavior continues. They often don't understand why their cat who used to faithfully use the litter box now refuses to do so, and often will blame the cat for another bad behavior problem, when it is not the cat's fault at all. If the owner cannot get the cat to start using the litter box again, they will often start considering letting the cat go outside. This poses a huge safety risk to the cat because once the cat has been declawed, they have no way to defend themselves to the many dangers that exist outside. Declawed cats cannot be let outside because they can no longer effectively defend themselves and cannot climb trees to get out of harms way. Once a cat has been declawed, there is not an option of safely converting the indoor cat to be an outdoor cat.

Another common problem with cats who have been declawed is biting. Because they do not have their nails anymore, the cat can become very frustrated. The scratching instinct that the cat has can no longer be satisfied and can lead to the cat starting to bite. Even the best behaved cat can become mean and unsociable and because they no longer have their claws, they resort to biting as a way of letting you know they are unhappy. I am aware of many cases where cat declawing has had a negative impact on the cat and its social behavior. This, however, does not happen in all cases. Some cats who have been declawed seem to do just fine and adjust to their situation without difficulty or resulting behavior problems. But, many cats do not adjust well, and the owners often end up feeing guilty that they did this to their pet.

The best thing a cat owner who is considering having their cat declawed can do is plenty of research. Find out all there is to know about the procedure, the risks, and the outcome. Talk to others who have had their cats declawed and get their opinions. Do not just take a vet's approval on this issue. Some vets will say it is no big deal because they stand to profit from the surgery, and they do not have to live with the cat afterwards. Other vets will discourage this procedure because they know it is not the right thing to do. Make sure the decision you make is an informed one. You do not want to end up with regret, as this surgery is permanent.

There are many options the cat owner has as an alternative to getting their cat declawed. One option is to purchase nail caps which are caps that are glued to the cats nails to prevent the damage from scratching. Another choice is to learn how to safely trim your cat's nails to keep them short and dull which will reduce the damaging effects of scratching. Provide several different styles of scratching posts and cat trees in your home to encourage your kitty to scratch the appropriate things. Scratching posts made of sisal rope work really well and cats seem to enjoy using them to scratch on. Try using double-sided sticky tape on the areas where you dont want your cat scratching. It provides a surface that cats do not enjoy and will deter them from scratching there. Buy some scented deterent sprays that are made to keep cats away and spray it on areas where the unwanted scratching is occuring. It may take a little more effort on your part, but the outcome can be very successful without having to put your cat through a declawing surgery.

Cat declawing has been banned in many countries, unfortunately as of yet, the United States has not adopted this law, and hopefully this will change. Anyone who is considering putting their cat through this should consider and try all the other options. There is just not a good enough reason to put your cat through such an awful surgery. And not just the surgery and recovery, but the lifelong effects it will have on your cat.

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