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If You Love Your Cat, Please Don’t Declaw

Paws Come with Claws: It’s One of Nature’s Laws

Many cat owners who genuinely love their pets have no idea what declawing means to their animals.

How important are a cat’s claws?

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats.  Doing so removed the dead husks from their claws, marks territory, and stretches their muscles.  Similarly, have you ever wondered at a cat’s remarkable grace and agility, her faultless sense of balance?  To a great extent, this is due to her ingeniously designed retractable claws that allow her to establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching.

What happens to a cat when she is declawed?

Declawing a cat is not simply removing the nails.  Rather, it involves amputating the entire last part of the cat’s toes.  In comparison, it is equivalent to cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint.  Nerves, tendons and muscles are severed along with the joints, making recovery from declawing both painful and very lengthly.

Why do people have their cats declawed?
What is a natural behavior for a cat is often considered to be a misbehavior for humans.   The most common reason for declawing is “to protect the furniture,” along with “to keep her from scratching us when we play with her.”  Scratching is a normal characteristic of a healthy cat.  It exercises the foot muscles and removes dead tissue from the nails.  It also has a soothing, comforting effect that creates a tranquil disposition.

What can a pet owner do to protect himself and his furniture without harming his cat?

  • Clip your cat’s claws every 2-3 weeks.   You can do this at home using a simple nail clipper, or go to your veterinarian or a professional groomer for this service.
  • Give your cat a good, sturdy scratching post lined with catnip and covered with a strong material like sisal (a scratchy hemp product) or tightly woven carpet.
  • Discourage your cat from clawing furniture by using an adversive scent or spray on furniture, such as citrus, which cats don’t like.
  • Purchase inexpensive nail caps, which are commercially sold and are a non-toxic plastic cap that covers each claw until the nail is shed.

With close attention and lots of encouragement, your cat can be perfectly happy scratching her own furniture instead of yours. For further information on the practice of declawing and its alternatives, please visit www.de-clawing.com