None of us wants to find our expensive couch in shreds, or our favorite outfit frayed. But before considering declawing your cat, it’s imperative to have all of the important and frightening facts. We’ll explore more about Fluffy’s paws and claws below.
What are a cats claws used for?
A cats claws are used for hunting its prey. Cats are excellent hunters, as any cat owner that’s found birds, mice and bunnies on their doorstep will attest to. Now you may be thinking, ‘My cat doesn’t need to hunt. I feed her well.’ That may be true. But did you also know that a cats claws are used for protection as well? I am a huge advocate of keeping a cat indoors for their well-being and safety. But even when you do, there may be times that Fluffy slips out. how to cut cat nails with human clippers Now what? She will have NO protection against predators and be completely defenseless, not even able to climb out of harm’s way.
Another very important use for their claws is grooming. A cat that has had their claws removed cannot properly scratch or groom themselves, leaving much more work for you and sometimes the onset of strange behavioral issues, such as biting.
Why do cats scratch?
When a cat scratches something, they are keeping their claws ‘filed’ or conditioned. They are also marking their territory, as they have scent glands at the base of the nail. This is a very natural part of being a cat and taking this ability away from them, would be taking a piece of their survival instincts away.
What is declawing? – How is it done?
Now here is the frightening truth…
What most people do not know, is that declawing a cat is in actuality, amputation. There is no way to just remove the nail, so the entire top knuckle is cut off during surgery. Along with excruciating pain of having their ‘fingers’ cut off, the ligaments, tendons and nerves that allow your kitty to walk and balance normally, are also severed. It is estimated that up to 30% of cats that have been declawed have lifetime issues, such as arthritis, stiffness of joints, continued pain and behavioral issues like biting and avoiding the litter box.
What other options are there?
That’s a great question! There are many easy and inexpensive alternatives available. Using a scratching post (sometimes called a ‘cat tree’) is an excellent option. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and your kitty can be trained rather quickly to use them. Once they learn they can climb and scratch on it as much as they want, you wont be able to get them off of it! You can even sweeten the deal by applying a little catnip and watch them go at it. There are good quality, cheap ones available on craigslist.org and you can pick up small, cardboard ones at any Target or Walmart.
Keeping kitty’s nails trimmed will certainly help with any possible damage and there is a great product called Nail Caps you can use. They are inexpensive, plastic sheaths that glue on to your cats nails, much like applying a human press-on nail. They work wonderfully with training your new kitten ( but you can use them on adult cats as well) and you can get them at most pet stores.
And finally, there are products you can use on your furniture, such as deterrent sprays and double-sided sticky tape. Apply these on places you don’t want kitty to scratch, like the arms of your chairs and couch.
Now that you have learned the dangers and truths to declawing your cat, you are able to make the best choice for your kitties health, and to set up a happy, well prepared home. May you and your furry friend have a long and loving life.