We’re assuming your kitty is up to a lot of mischief these days clawing away at your precious furniture. Of lately, she has also started digging her “oh-so-sharp” claws into the upholstery fabric tearing it to shreds. You initially forgave her, but with the piling damage to household items I am sure you’re thinking about taming her.
This is the story of many who have cats as pets and declawing is the first option they resort to, to discontinue their cat’s destructive habit. Cats will always scratch because it is an inherent instinct we humans cannot change or stop. Besides, speaking about declawing it is not the best option to discipline your cat.
This article aims at educating you on the pros and cons of declawing your kitty.
What is declawing?
Cat’s claws are removed using a medical procedure called Onychectomy. The claws on a cats paw are not like the nails on our fingers. The claw is connected to a toe joint called the distal phalanx. Declawing includes removing the claws along with the toe joint. It is as good as cutting off your finger at its last joint (the one just below the nail). And remember it is ten such amputations on your cat’s feet. The procedure is irreversible and a very painful one. Declawing is also considered illegal in a few countries.
Cats need their claws, cats need to scratch
We humans always consider claws to be a cat’s weapon of defense. But, the real functions extend beyond that.
The cat is known for its great ability to balance. Whenever a cat jumps from a height, it always lands on its fours. Cats belong to a group of mammals called digitigrades (those who walk on their toes). Their body structure is such that is distributes weight across all the ten toes including the claws. It is on account of this that they are able to balance perfectly when walking, climbing and running.
Additionally, the scratching activity the cat indulges in is a method of stretching and exercising its muscles. You can picture her stretch majestically right? That is something you will miss if you declaw your cat.
Advantages of Declawing your Cat
There are advantages, but none for you cat. Your cat will continue to scratch. The absence of claws however can be a guarantee of no more damage. You will also not have to worry about your cat snapping at you or your kids in anger.
Disadvantages of Declawing your Cat
There are many points to include in this category. Declawing alters the manner in which the cat distributes its body weight and so distorts balance. Your kitty may not be able to walk properly. There is a loss of muscle and the muscles become weak because he or she is unable to stretch properly.
If the procedure has not been done properly, the foot may develop infection. When the right amount of tissue has not been removed it may grow back which means one more painful corrective surgery. Another complication is permanent crippling due to nerve damage. To add to it is the pain; it is an aspect we cannot express.
Declawing also has psychological effects on the pet. Cats become moody and unfriendly. The cat might also become aggressive and start biting because of its inability to use its paws like it used to. Your cat may withdraw completely and lose interest in the regular activities it performed earlier.
Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat
- Trim your cat’s nails frequently
- Train your cat to use scratching posts and scratching pads.
- You can also use Vinyl nails tips for your cat too.
So, as a wise pet owner you now decide what’s best for your naughty but adorable kitty.