Declawing Your Cat

This is a very controversial topic which has a lot of emotion behind but it needs to be looked at. As a cat owner who has experienced difficulty dealing with a cat scratching issue in my home, it is difficult not to be biased but let's give the issue of declawing its due and see what exactly the pros and cons are.

There are 2 types of surgical procedures which are commonly done to eradicate this problem. One involves cutting the tendon that attaches the claw to the bone in a cats foot. The claw stays intact but the cat can't use it at all because it is no longer attached to the tendon that works it.

The second procedure employs the use of a laser for cutting. This procedure removes the lateral attachment. The claw is then removed.

Proponents of both these procedures claim there is minimal blood loss and discomfort. They also state that most cats are up running around in no time after the surgery. Great!

However, what they fail to mention is that both procedures are invasive (any surgical procedure is), both require general anethestic, and both can result in complications especially for older cats. The second procedure is quite plainly amputation. They also fail to mention what many people have stated - that post-surgery their cat developed a biting problem that was not prevelant prior to the surgery. What I have read also doesn't account for the many reports of people's cats undergoing drastic behavior changes afterwards.

One such advocate I read about stated that "there will be medical reasons and other circumstances where this procedure will be necessary." But it fails to cite any of those reasons.

For me at least, it all comes back to the question - "How would you like to have part of the anatomy God gave you amputated?" For me, there is only one "pro" After declawing, no matter what procedure you opt to have done, your cat will no longer be able to claw your furniture and carpets. The "cons" however, are still stacked against this and they are many!

We had a terrible experience with our cat Milo, when he recently developed a lower urinary tract infection and had to be admitted to stay 2 nights in a local vet clinic while he underwent surgery and monitoring for this common cat health problem. After seeing how terrified he was at the clinic and then worrying whether he would live or not because he refused to eat anything for a week after we got him home and had to be forcibly fed water to keep him hydrated, we simply could not bring ourselves to consider the idea of declawing no matter how stressful his clawing behavior was.

Milo is part of our family. God gave him all the parts he has for a reason and declawing to us is tantamount to saying he is less important than any other member of our family; something that we couldn't bring ourselves to think.

Pets count on us to look after their best interests. When we take on the responsibility of owning a pet we make what should be a statement of promise to protect them, nuture them and ensure that they are looked after. If you are considering declawing as a way to deal with your cats clawing behavior, I would urge you to please try some less invasive methods first before you resort to such a drastic measure. Why risk potential side-effects and the trauma that can accompany any surgical procedure if there are clearly other, less invasive ways of dealing with this problem?

by Brad Knell (c) 2005 All Rights Reserved

Brad Knell is the webmaster of http://www.stopcatscratching.com one of several sites designed to help people with pet problems.

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