Taken from Examiner.com Amelia Moreno Chicago Pet Care Examiner
It used to be considered a necessary procedure. Declawing the cat would protect the furniture, people, and other animals. And why did the cat need claws if it was going to spend all day in the house anyway?
Unfortunately, the consequences of declawing a cat are more complicated than just ‘saving the furniture.’ Declawing is a painful procedure. The last bones on each of the cat’s toes are amputated – the equivalent of taking a human’s fingertips off. This procedure is done either usual scalpels or a guillotine like clipper to separate each toe. There is also laser surgery that severs the bone and cauterizes the tissue. The paws are then either medically glued shut or sutured. Another procedure called tendonectomy is also available. In this procedure, the tendons that connect the toes are cut. So, the cat gets to keep his toes but loses control over their extension. Tendonectomy is linked to abnormally thickened claw growth that requires more frequent nail trims. These trims are much more difficult that the usual nail trims and because of this particular procedure’s complications, most cats that have gotten it need to be declawed the traditional way and end up losing the tips of their toes anyway.
There are so many side affects to these procedures that they actually outweigh any temporary convenience. Cats may be unable to scratch the furniture, but they may also stop using their litter boxes because the natural scratching and rearranging of the litter actually hurts their feet. Back pain is also a common issue on declawed cats because their paws are, to put it one way, now deformed. Their paws hurt and they cannot walk with a natural gait− much like a human wearing extremely uncomfortable shoes that she is unable to take off.
Declawed cats are also more susceptible to infections, tissue necrosis, and nerve damage in the declawed paws. There is even a chance that improperly removed nails may grow back and have to be removed again. These declawed cats also run the risk of getting bone spurs, lameness, and are more likely to bite since their main defense (their claws) are gone. Add to that how pain can make for a cranky animal and it is no surprise the declawed cat is a very unhappy cat.
But there are different ways to manage a cat with claws that are less intrusive and less painful to for the animal itself.
Sprinkling catnip on the scratching post might be a simple way to get the kitty interested in the post to begin with. Getting a sturdy, thick, post will help the cat feel confident that they can really dig in there. There are also different types of scratching posts that are not really posts at all. Some come in rugs (already conveniently infused with cat nip), some can be hung on doors, some can double as a resting spot. There is a plethora of choices out there to get a kitty interested in scratching the right things instead of the wrong.
It might be easier to entice a cat while also making it unpleasant to scratch certain objects. It can work together to force the cat to do the right thing. There are products on the market such as Sticky Paws, which is a double sided tape that discourages cats from scratching or jumping on furniture simply because they cannot stand the feel of it on their paws.
There are also odorless sprays that are set off by motion and make a loud ‘shhhh’ sound that surprises the cats. They then associate that noise, and the fear it causes them, with whatever area it was in and they leave the area alone.
Some sprays use herbal mixtures to discourage a cat from scratching. Whether or not they are effective is really up to the buyer.
Make it Impossible
A company called Soft Paws offers kitty nail covers that effectively sheath the weapons. The fake nails are glued on top of the cat’s real nails and last a few months. They come in an almost endless variety of colors, combinations, and themes. The website has a very informative video on how to apply these nail covers at home, but it can also be done by a vet or some pet stores that offer the service.
These nail toppers will not curb the urge to scratch, so keeping a scratching post or another appropriate scratching toy always available will satisfy the cat’s instinct