Many cat owners who truly love their pets have no idea what declawing means to the animal. Declawing means far more than leaving your pet defenseless against an attack outdoors. Some of the negative effects of declawing are: the severing of ligaments and tendon brings severe pain; the loss of claws can create an imbalance that can lead to injury; there can be changes in personality and temperament.
Have you ever wondered at a cat’s remarkable grace, agility and faultless sense of balance? To a great extent, this is due to its ingeniously designed retractable claws that allow the animal to establish sure footing.
When a cat is declawed the animal has to be completely anesthetized. This in itself can be dangerous and when the cat awakens from the anesthesia, it will be in severe pain. The physical effect of declawing is a gradual weakening of the muscles of the legs, shoulders and back. Balance is impaired. Cats feel defenseless and thus live in a state of stress. This can make them more prone to disease.
Although known for its grace, cats are not naturally sure footed. Without the lightening quick ability to grasp with its claws, it can be easily injured in a fall. Deprived of its claws, a cat may turn to its only other form of defense – its teeth. It is common for a declawed cat to become a biter.
Given all these negatives, why would anyone even consider declawing their cat? “To protect the furniture” is the most common reason. Another is “To keep my cat from scratching when we play with him” is another. Remember, 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 effect that creates a tranquil disposition.
Rather than declawing – try one or more of the following solutions:
Give your cat a manicure.
It is best to do this starting when it is a kitten. Take your cat to a professional groomer, have its nails trimmed during your regular visit to your veterinarian or learn to do it yourself.
Use nail caps.
You can apply this yourself or a professional groomer can do it for you. Nail caps come in a wide variety of colors that can give your kitties the look of a colorful manicure.
Provide your cat with its own furniture.
A scratching post should be rough and course. When a kitten starts to scratch on your furniture, gently pull it off and place its front paws on the scratching post. Keep the scratching post in an easily accessible place so the cat becomes used to using it.
If an older cat persists in scratching, give it a squirt of lukewarm water from a spray bottle or a child’s water gun. Spray anywhere but in its face. At the same time say a sharp ‘NO’. Then take it to the scratching post. Soak a cotton ball in pleasantly scented bath oil. Attach the cotton to the part of the furniture that the cat scratches. It will repel the cat as long as the scent remains.
Your cat gives you love, loyalty and companionship. You owe it the same. But you owe it one more thing; leave its paws and claws as they were meant to be.