Scratching furniture, clothes and the carpet is definitely one of the less appreciated traits of your beloved feline friend. But what can be done about it?
Some believe that declawing is the right, beneficial option for a cat, but a lot of evidence supports the premise that they couldn't be more wrong.
So, in case you are considering to declaw your cat, you should know all the facts concerning the importance of claws for a cat and the imminent drawbacks if they lose them:
1. Declawing claws is not the same as trimming nails
You may consider declawing as something similar to nail trimming, and therefore see no real harm in it. After all, you trim your nails regularly, so why would it be a problem to do it to your cat, as well?
But, when you trim your nails, that doesn't include cutting the upper portion of your fingers. In other words, declawing your cat's claws includes the removal of the upper portion, or the first joint, of their toes.
In line with this, we urge you not to take declawing lightly, since your cat will definitely not take it lightly. The operation itself may be carried out with a laser, a scalpel or a special cutter.
Afterwards, your cat will be in pain; this includes agonizing pain in the days after the operation and phantom pain which may last for weeks, months, or even years.
Sometimes, the claws may grow back inside the paws, which will cause more pain. Although pain medication may help at first, this cannot be a permanent solution.
2. Declawing may lead to additional health issues
After your cat has been declawed, on top of the pain caused by the operation, it may experience additional health problems. This is especially true of domestic cats, as they walk on their toes, which are shortened in the process of declawing.
After declawing, these domestic cats can no longer walk on their toes, so they have to change their manner of walking, which affects the joints of their legs. These changes in the joints of the legs may cause arthritis, which drastically impairs the life quality of your cat.
In addition, the loss of claws may cause the cat to lose some of its agility and muscle tone; when they stretch, cats usually use their claws to dig into a surface, to help them exercise.
So, without claws, they cannot exercise properly. Claws also serve as a weapon of defense for a cat, therefore, declawed cats are less able to defend themselves; potential attackers are more likely to seriously injure them.
3. Declawing may lead to changes in your pet's personality
We have to stress that some declawed cats can drastically change their personality, in more ways than one.
For example, a usually calm cat may become more aggressive when it loses its claws.
This happens because the cat no longer has its usual weapon for self-protection, and it must compensate by being more aggressive.
For the same reason, a cat may become more prone to biting than it was before the operation.
Also, a cat that used to be flawless in its use of the litter box, may start avoiding the litter box after the declawing, as it is no longer capable of digging the sand.
In other words, the cat will start using other, more comfortable, places to do its business, such as the carpet. Yikes!
4. There are better alternatives to declawing
In case you are really irritated by the enjoyment your cat finds in scratching household objects, there are much better alternatives to declawing.
For example, you can try making the carpet and sofa less appealing for scratching. You can do this by putting aluminium foil on these surfaces, or spraying citrus fragrances on them; citrus fragrances are unpleasant to cats, and aluminium foil is an irksome scratching surface.
We also advise that you opt for a tall, sturdy scratching post, specifically designed to provide your cat with the best scratching and stretching experience.
In conclusion, declawing may cause health issues, changes in the personality and intense, long-lasting pain for your cat.
It is always more beneficial to find healthier alternatives, to deter your cat from scratching furniture. So, if you're thinking about declawing your cat, just don't!