Contrary to popular belief, declawing cats isn’t even close to the same thing as a nail trim. In fact, by declawing your furry friend, you’re effectively cutting off its fingers.
Though the term declawing invokes the idea that it’s just a removal of part of the claw, it’d be more appropriate to label it as a form of amputation. Functionally, it’s like cutting off fingers at the first knuckle. Obviously, your cat will trust you less after this kind of procedure, which can lead to behavioral issues.
Cats who are declawed often resort to biting, as they no longer have claws for self defense, and can feel threatened more easily. They also may pee outside of the litter box, as the litter’s texture hurts their partially amputated paws. Cats can even develop arthritis from this kind of procedure.
It’s not just their behavior that changes, but their personality too. A playful, energetic cat may become defensive and depressed after being declawed, as they’ve been hurt by someone who is supposed to care for them.
I have a cat who had a botched declawing that required surgery, which is a very possible outcome of declawing. The procedure left her with intense pain and several behavioral issues. I didn’t do this; the family who originally owned her did. They gave her up shortly afterwards, likely because of said behavioral issues. I love my cat, but her special needs are challenging to deal with, and it's unfortunate and cruel that her first family treated her in such a way.
If your cat’s scratching gets out of hand, it’s important to consider alternatives to declawing. Proper training combined with plenty of safe-to-scratch places like scratching posts can prevent cats from clawing at furniture.
Another option is to simply trim your cat’s claws, a safer option that still dulls them. There are tools made to clip cat claws specifically, but you can even use a fingernail clipper to do that. It’s recommended to trim them every two to three weeks.
Vinyl nail caps are another humane, even stylish option which can be found in many colors. These should be changed every six to eight weeks, to prevent overgrowth of the nail underneath.
Besides all that, if you learn your cat’s body language and respect their boundaries, they’re less likely to scratch. It’s all about respecting your cat, as you would any living being.
Overall, if you love your furry friend, it’s important to protect them from getting hurt. Always consider more humane options over declawing. After all, is protecting your furniture really worth permanently changing your cat’s physical and mental well-being for the worse? If that’s the case to you, you shouldn’t own a cat.
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