5 Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat

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Although our cats are wonderful members of our families, all cat owners know that having a feline at home can bring the occasional challenge. One common annoyance is scratching, whether that be the furniture, a family member, or another pet. While removing your cat's claws may seem like the simple solution, in reality it is no solution at all. Here are 5 reasons why you should never declaw your cat:

1. Declawing is more than a simple nail trim.

There is a lot of misconception about what the declawing process is really like. If you thought it was an easy procedure similar to a routine nail trim, you are highly mistaken. In order to fully remove the claw and prevent it from growing back, a surgical procedure is used to amputate the last joint of each digit on the toe. If that sounds painful, that's because it is! Many countries have deemed this surgery inhumane and have outlawed it altogether. These include England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Here in the United States, New York became the first state to ban cat declawing in 2019, although US cities such as Los Angeles, Denver and San Francisco already had similar laws in place. We imagine other US states and cities will follow suit.

2. Declawing can lead to pain, infection, and mobility difficulties.

Cats are the kind of animals that walk on their toes. However, if you remove the top digits of these toes, it can be extraordinarily painful to walk. Your cat may shift its weight and move unnaturally to compensate for the discomfort, which can cause negative long-term health defects, such as strain on the joints and arthritis. Healing from this surgery can result in complications too, leading to infections, nerve damage, and bone spurs. 

3. Declawing may alter your cat's personality, and not for the better.

If you had to deal with persistent pain, difficulty walking, and figuring out how to fundamentally change the way you move and interact with the world around you, you would certainly manifest changes in your personality too. This is no different for cats, who may experience severe depression, agitation, lameness, or aggression. Although some cats may appear "normal" after a declawing surgery, remember that cats are incredibly skilled at hiding when they feel unwell. Years of self-preservation to prevent predators from taking advantage of their weakened state means you may not fully appreciate how much suffering your cat is truly experiencing. 

4. Declawing may lead to litter box challenges.

Another trait cats have developed over their evolutionary history is the consistent habit of covering their waste after going to the bathroom. This may be the result of hiding their scent from dangerous predators, or their preference for a "clean" litter box. However, in order to practice this behavior, cats need their claws to dig in the litter. When cats are declawed, this process becomes difficult and painful, and they may choose not to use the litter box at all as a result.

5. Declawing denies your cat its first line of defense.

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, claws play an incredibly important role in their defense. They may need their claws to protect themselves from another animal, keep their balance in tricky high-altitude situations, or hunt pesky vermin. By removing your cat's claws, you eliminate their ability to keep themselves safe, and may encourage unwanted behavior, such as biting you.

What are some good alternatives to declawing?

Now that you know a few reasons why you should not consider declawing your cat, you may be wondering what can you do to help prevent unwanted scratching. Luckily, there are many safe, humane, and easy alternatives to try. Consider trimming your cat's nails once a week to keep the claws dull enough to prevent real harm to others or furniture. You can also provide multiple cat scratching posts around the house to give your cat an appropriate spot to indulge in its natural and healthy instinct. Placing these posts around spots your cat typically likes to scratch can redirect them to sanctioned spaces.

There are also a lot of great products on the market to deter cats from scratching furniture, such as sticky pads and furniture guards. Not to mention, the effective products you can purchase for your cat's claws too, such as soft plastic caps that are glued to your cat's claws and last for approximately 6 weeks. Just think of all the fun colors! Don't forget, you can always talk to your veterinarian too about safe options for your cat that fit your lifestyle and budget. 

To read more interesting cat articles about health & wellness, decoding cat behavior, and fun cat travel destinations, visit Tamadori Collection!




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