D E C L A W I N G A "declaw" is actually an amputation of the toes of the cat. A cat's toe is made up of three bones, called phalanges, just as our finger has three bones. Declawing involves removing the entire first bone, not just the claws. This would be the same as amputating the first bones of all of our fingers. Once the bone is removed, a hole is left. This hole is closed up using either surgical glue or sutures.
Since the declaw is an amputation, it is a very painful procedure for the cat. The LASER decreases the pain since it helps to seal the nerves, but it will not eradicate the pain. Each cat is different in its tolerance for pain, but the larger and older the cat, the more likely the cat will be painful for a longer time. We send home medication to help control the pain, but your cat may need more depending on its pain threshold. Some cats will be tender for only a day or two (usually the younger cats), while other cats may limp and hold up their paws for two to three weeks. When a cat walks, it is primarily walking on the bone that is amputated. Thus, after a declaw, a cat has to learn to walk again. Some cats learn faster than others how to walk and keep their balance. The declaw procedure has a higher rate of complications than other types of "routine" surgeries. These complications can be divided into short-term complications and long-term complications. Short-term complications occur within the first couple of weeks after the surgical procedure. A declaw is not considered a sterile procedure, so infections of the toes can occur. If a toe becomes infected, the cat will be placed on antibiotics. If a cat is too active in the first week or so after the declaw, its toes may open up and bleed. This bleeding may be either a small or large amount. If the toes open up, the cat must be re-anesthetized and the toes closed back up to prevent an infection of the bone. The cat is also placed on antibiotics. Long-term complications can also occur. Some cats can be painful when they jump as they don't have that last bone to cushion their landing. They may limp and favor one or both paws intermittently for the rest of their lifetime. Some cats can't metabolize the glue that is used to seal the edges of the hole and, years later, the glue causes an infection. If that happens, the cat must again be anesthetized and the glue removed. In other cases, owners feel that a cat's personality has changed after being declawed. They feel that the cat started biting more after the declaw. This is a general overview of the declaw procedure and the common complications. Since each cat is an individual, there may be other complications that have not been discussed here. Visit the pet library section for further information regarding declawing.
The Emotional Consequences of Declawing Your Cat
Pet owners are often caught off guard when behavioral changes arise after declawing. Most of the time their veterinarian hasn’t warned them it can ‐ and does ‐ happen. I believe owners must be aware they are risking significant and permanent behavioral side effects, in addition to the many potential physical effects I already mentioned when they choose to declaw their pet. Many cats experience emotional difficulties from declawing surgery. Owners report that their pet becomes morose, withdrawn, irritable, and even aggressive. Imagine if every step you took caused you severe pain, you might act that way too! Pet owners notice personality changes in their cat, too. Recently declawed cats often become nervous, fearful and aggressive. Having lost their instinctive primary defense mechanism against predators, they resort to using their last remaining means of defense ‐ their teeth. Many cats who were confident on the ground when they still had their claws, begin spending much of their time on elevated surfaces like the top of the refrigerator, countertops, or high shelving in closets once they’re declawed. Some declawed kitties, once they discover they can no longer mark with their claws, begin to urinate around the house to mark their territory. This can result in long-term inappropriate elimination problems. Tragically, declawing is still a routine procedure for many vets. No matter what they claim, a 2001 study published in a prominent veterinary journal reported that 80 percent of declawed cats had at least one medical complication following surgery and one-third developed behavior problems, such as biting or urinating outside their litter box. Bottom line… there are no benefits to your pet from declawing ‐ only serious risks. I believe that finding alternatives to this barbaric surgery is the humane and loving thing to do for your cat.
Thinking About Declawing? Please Read This First!
I believe if cat owners really understood what occurs during a declawing surgery, they would never, ever choose to put their pet through this barbaric procedure. Here’s what you must understand: while other mammals, including humans, walk on the soles of their feet, cats walk on their toes. When you declaw your cat, you’re literally cutting off part of her toes. Tragically, many people believe “declawing” only involves removing the claw. But because the claw grows out of bone, declawing requires amputation of the entire first joint of each of a cat’s toes. The surgery removes not only the claw, but bones, nerves, the joint capsule, collateral ligaments, and the flexor tendons. Normally, kitties carry 60 percent of their body weight on their front feet ‐ more than half of their body weight! If her front paws become damaged, even temporarily, the effects are felt all the way through the cat’s wrist, elbow, and shoulder, down the spine to the tail. With declawing, you change your cat's ability to walk naturally. She’s forced to shift her weight backwards, which can lead to collapse of her wrists. Declawed cats sometimes end up walking on their ankles or wrists, which is very painful. Declawing also severs her tendons, causing them to contract and pull the toes back. This changes the angle at which the foot connects with the ground. Here’s another problem with declawing… When a small piece of bone is purposely left in, a painful regrowth can occur, even as much as 15 years later. All in all, declawing can lead to a whole host of physical complications such as chronic small bone arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and neuralgia. Yet, many cats, being the stoic creatures they are, often appear normal after a declawing procedure. They may go back to playing, climbing and jumping, but none of it is normal movement because their entire physiology has been altered. And down the road, behavioral problems can arise.
Shaping Good Scratching Habits to Help Save Your Home
The good news is… your cat doesn’t need to groom her claws on your furniture, drapes, or carpeting. While you can’t stop this natural, normal behavior (nor should you), you can do something that I know works: teach kitty where and what to scratch. Here’s what I suggest for luring her to the right places and dissuading her from the wrong places to scratch: Provide appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch, such as scratching posts and pads
Encourage your cat’s use of the appropriate objects by scenting them with catnip, hanging toys on them, and placing them in areas where she likes to climb and claw
Remove or cover up items you don’t want her to scratch
Create “forbidden zones” by placing double-sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, or vinyl carpet runner with the spiky part up on or around your furniture (Attach them to cardboard for easy removal)
Place appropriate scratching posts or pads next to forbidden objects
Try an herbal spray to replace your pet's paw pad scent markers on furniture or other surfaces to discourage her from returning to those spots
As a last resort, cover each of your cat’s nails with commercially available, temporary nail caps
If your cat continues scratching inappropriate surfaces, try linking an unpleasant sensation or sound to the event. Connect her scratching in the wrong place with an unpleasant consequence like an “invisible” spray of water or loud noise. Make sure she doesn’t see you doing it or she may get the idea it's safe to scratch when you're not around!
And this story I receive by email:
Should you ever need a "why not to declaw" story: years ago, right after that last Hurricane, my dogs found a blue fluffball in the neighbor's yard. I actually thought they had killed it. Which is odd for them, but it just laid there. I ran over to find it was a cat; skin and bone, without the energy to even move. The poor thing had gotten loose during the storm, and worse, was declawed. She had no means of catching food and was now nearly starved to death. It took months to rehab her, and those first days I had to hold her up as she fed.
I never found her family. I did try in case her getting loose was due to storm damage and not sheer neglect. But I eventually found her a new home with a young girl who loves her like her best friend.
S P A Y I N G
Benefits of spaying your cat: There are many benefits of neutralizing or spaying your cat. All these reasons are enough to opt for a spaying method as it will lead to a healthy lifestyle for your cat.
Many times your cat might attract unwanted attention from other male cats. By spaying your cat, you will reduce the chances of your cat getting unwanted pregnancy.
Spaying eradicates the chances of showing rancid behavior your cat might show during the time of mating. When cats desire to mate, they yawl, cry in pain, and pee all over the place as an indication. Their desire to mate can be neutralized by spaying.
Spaying eradicates the chances of them from developing breast cancer before the first heat of mating is sensed.
Pyometra is a type of infection that spreads in the uterus. The treatment is expensive and can even be life-threatening for the cats. Spaying eliminates the chances of your cat ever contacting the pyometra infection.
Spaying or neutralizing your cat doesn’t indicate that your cat will be sexually frustrated. It only indicates that their sexual urge will be suppressed as their estrogen receptor will be removed by the procedure. They can focus on their own being more than having to focus on reproduction
N E U T E R I N
Benefits of neutering your cat:
Similarly to spaying, neutering holds many beneficial points for both the owner and the cat.
Male cats urinate on areas to leave their mark which works like a marking habit for them. Neutralizing your cat will eradicate the chances of spraying urination. In other words, it will reduce their marking habits.
Neutral using your cat means eliminating the serious threat of testicular cancer.
Neutering can lead to freedom from the illness of hyperplasia of the prostate gland along with perineal hernias.
Most of the time, cats exhibit behavioral issues stemming from sexual distress. Neutering a cat will put an end to such distress issuing from sexual need.
Most of the time cats roam here and there in search of their mating partner. By removing their glands, you can put an end to it.
Similar to the cats who had been spayed, those cats who have been neutralized don’t feel sexually frustrated. Many times the cats are not permitted to mate because of health-related and behavioral threats but neutralizing them you can decrease the chances of such a crisis arising.
When you adopt a cat, it becomes your responsibility to make the decision that would help them live a prosperous, healthy life. In order to do so, you might need to make choices that will make the world a better place for them. Choosing to spay and neutralize a cat is the safest route you can take to eliminate any threat.