Feline Declawing FAQ
Q: Why do Kamloops pet owners get their cats declawed?
A: The only reason veterinarians in British Columbia will perform a declawing is to treat disease or illness. It is considered inhumane to declaw for behavioural reasons and often results in a more aggressive cat.
Q: What is the procedure for feline declawing?
A: Declawing (onychectomy) at our clinic is a surgical procedure where the last bone of the front toes is amputated which must include the nail bed and claw. The pain accompanied by the surgery can be very intense and a special medication must be used to numb the nerves. At home treatment lasts a couple weeks or longer, so the appropriate pain control prescription is very important. Anesthesia risks are minimal but may include aspiration pneumonia, organ system failure, visual impairment and clotting disorders. Other risks may include excessive bleeding and postoperative complications, including infection.
Q: Instead of declawing my cat, what can I do to make him stop scratching?
A: Is your cat scratching the furniture, or scratching family members? These are two different issues. It’s important to remember that cats have a natural scratching behavior and, as part of their daily behavior, expose their claws to stretch, relieve stress, mark their territory, sharpen and remove old nails. Solutions include encouraging appropriate scratching through scratch posts, pheromone sprays and catnip, or using a device such as soft pads to temporarily cover their paws. Scratch deterrents include things like double sided tape, tinfoil, or plexiglass furniture covers. Have your cat’s nails trimmed regularly to keep them blunt and from catching on home objects such as rugs or furniture.
Further Reading: Nail Trimming – Is it necessary?
In a word, yes. Cat nails will continue to grow, just like human nails, and will curl into the paw pads causing pain and infection. Trimming your cat’s nail’s every few weeks is enough to avoid ingrown nails. To prevent injury from cat scratches, use toys to play with them, not your hand, and if your cat is new to your home, give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. Cats naturally use their nails to stabilize themselves, so anytime a cat feels unstable, like in your arms, their nails will pinch in to steady them.
Cats also scratch out of fear or when they are not picked up correctly, which causes them pain. Children may need to be taught proper decorum around pets to prevent stress. Declawing doesn’t work as a measure to control aggressive behavior or other behavioral issues. Experts in cat behavior, such as your veterinarian, can recommend techniques for you to learn that are effective in managing difficult behavior issues.
If you have any questions about alternatives to declawing, call us – the only veterinary cat clinic in Kamloops that offers a full list of services to keep your feline friend healthy. We provide consultations, wellness exams, orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, dental care, diagnostics, spaying and neutering services for cats. We love cats, and we know you do too!