Declawing cats used to be a standard practice, but it's not done as often these days. Cat owners are becoming more wary about declawing and feeling conflicted about whether they should do it or not. If you are trying to decide whether declawing your indoor cat is a good idea, here are some reasons why you should never declaw your cats, and some alternative ideas to stop them from scratching.
Your cat's claws are their first line of defense. Even if you have an indoor cat, you never know when someone might leave a door open or it decides to run under your feet to explore outside. If you cat does accidentally get outside, he or she won't have any way of defending itself if it's attacked.
Form of Amputation
Declawing a cat is a form of amputation. Think of it as not only removing your fingernails, but removing the entire tip of all your fingers. When the claws are removed, a piece of bone is removed behind them. If the bone isn't removed, then the claws will grow back. Some vets can use a laser to help remove the bone with a lower chance of hemorrhaging, but it is still a painful, invasive surgery.
While some cats can recover from their declawing just as friendly as they were beforehand, other cats develop serious aggressive behavior. This is because they become insecure about not having any defense and they have to develop another means of protection. You might think that declawing your cat will keep your children safe, but it could lead to the cat biting instead.
Every surgery comes with complications, which is why surgery should be avoided whenever possible. You cat could wind up with immediate complications, such as:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Need for entire leg to be amputated
Even if the recovery goes well, complications could arise later on. These include:
- Some claws grow back misshapen
- Shattered bones in paws
- Life-threatening infections
Instead of rushing out to declaw your cat, first try some tactics to get your cat to stop scratching people and furniture. One thing you can do is use a spray bottle to stop bad behavior. Most cats don't like water, so if you lightly spray a cat with water from a spray bottle when it is scratching, it will learn that the behavior leads to getting sprayed by water. Set up a scratching post in your house so there is a place for your cat to scratch. If you have a large home, you might need to set up a couple throughout the house.
Cats need their claws, even if they live indoors. Avoid these negative outcomes and try some of the alternatives to get your cat to stop scratching. Contact a company like Southwest Animal Hospital to learn more about this.