Thinking of Declawing Your New Kitten or Cat?
To anyone who thinks a cat should be declawed,
please consider this: Why are only cats declawed and not dogs? Dogs
can do damage with their nails. They dig up yards and gardens. They
dig holes in carpets and ruin hard wood floors. They can scratch
people both by accident and on purpose. Their nails are able to
rip or puncture furniture and clothing at times. And yet no one
ever takes their DOG to the vet to have their claws removed. WHY?
It is because you can SEE a dogs entire foot. If you removed the
entire first digit on a dogs paw, you would actually have
to LOOK AT a deformed foot. Every day you would be reminded that
you removed a vital part of their anatomy.
A cats first digit retracts up into
the paw. This means to the naked eye you would not actually SEE
any deformity. But it IS just that. It is an amputation of an entire
digit, bone and all, not just removal of a nail. But because after
a declaw surgery the paw still LOOKS normal, most people do not
realize how unnatural this procedure is. Some facts about declawing
that you might not know.
Declawing is not a routine procedure, like
teeth cleaning, it is a major surgery and it has a name: AMPUTATION.
And not only once, but 10 times! This surgery, like all others,
comes with the possibility of complications. Ask yourself if anything
on this list is an acceptable risk:
Excruciating pain, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhage, bone
chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claw inside
of the paw, chronic back and joint pain because shoulder, leg and
back muscles weaken, postoperative hemorrhage (either immediate
or following bandage removal), paw ischemia, lameness (due to wound
infection or footpad laceration), exposure necrosis of the second
phalanx, abscess associated with retention of portions of the third
phalanx, abscess due to regrowth (which must be treated by surgical
removal of the remnant of the third phalanx and wound debridement).
During amputation a bone may shatter which serves as a focus for
infection, causing continuous drainage from the toe. Abnormal growth
of severed nerve ends can also occur, causing long-term, painful
sensations in the toes. Infection will occasionally occur even when
all precautions have been taken.
Cats who were once lively and friendly have become withdrawn and
introverted after being declawed. Others, deprived of their primary
means of defense, become nervous, fearful, and/or aggressive, often
resorting to their only remaining means of defense, their teeth.
In some cases, when declawed cats use the
litter box after surgery, their feet are so tender they associate
their new pain with the box...permanently, resulting in a life-long
aversion to using the litter box. Other declawed cats that can no
longer mark with their claws, will mark with urine instead resulting
in inappropriate elimination problems, which in many cases, results
in relinquishment of the cats to shelters and ultimately euthanasia.
70 % of cats surrendered to shelters because
of behavioral problems, are declawed and developed these problems
after the cats were declawed. Many declawed cats become so traumatized
by this painful procedure that they end up spending their lives
perched on top of doors and refrigerators, out of reach of real
and imaginary predators against whom they no longer have any adequate
Since a cat relies on its claws as its
primary means of defense, removing the claws may make a cat feel
defenseless causing a constant state of stress. This may make some
declawed cats more prone to disease. Stress can lead to a myriad
of physical and psychological disorders including (among others)
suppression of the immune system, cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome
Other facts: Did you know cats use their
claws for balance, to jump, and to climb? That cats walk on their
toes, not the pads of their feet, and declawing forces them to walk
in an unnatural way? That the claws play an important role in grooming,
and that grooming is the way a cat helps to control its body temperature,
its scent signals and more?
Did you know all these countries have banned
declawing or at least labeled it inhumane : England, Scotland, Wales,
Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands,
Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal,
Belgium, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Yugoslavia and Japan?
A 1994 study by the Department of Veterinary
Clinical Sciences found that of 163 cats who were declawed, 50 percent
had one or more complications immediately after surgery, such as
pain, hemorrhage, lameness, swelling, and non-weight bearing. Of
the 121 cats whose progress was followed after surgery, 20 percent
had continued complications, such as infection, regrowth, bone protrusion
into the pad of the paw and prolonged intermittent lameness and
palma grade stance (abnormal standing posture).
Are you willing to take the chance?