Declawing is one is the most talked-about debates among cat owners. This procedure may seem like a quick fix to prevent damages from your cat scratching, but in fact, this is a painful surgery that is even considered inhumane or illegal in some countries. Declawing a cat is a serious surgery with pain that will continue for a long period of time resulting in unhealthy behavioral changes.
Scratching is a natural and healthy behavior in cats. You should be aware of the harms of declawing before making this decision. Because declawing is so painful, in most cases your cat will have to relearn how to walk. Studies have also proven cats who have been declawed can become more aggressive and even more likely to not use the litter box.
A cat’s nails are its first line of defense. Once a cat has been declawed, it would be cruel to let it outside because they would not be able to defend themselves in the case of a fight. A declawed cat must remain an “inside cat” for the rest of its life.
First and foremost you should trim your cat’s nails regularly to a healthy length. Talk to your vet about the best nail clippers they use, but we have found that the nail clippers from the dollar store are quick and easy, even for the most stubborn cats. You should choose a time when you cat is calm and comfortable to clip their nails.
You can also talk to your vet about nail caps such as “Soft Paws”. Soft Paws are light, vinyl caps that go over your pet’s nails to prevent damages from scratching. They come in a variety of different colors and sizes and glue onto your cat’s nails. You can learn more about them here.
Lastly, you should have around two or three scratching posts, at least 3 feet tall, around your home. Scratching is a natural cat behavior that should be encouraged (in the right places). Scratching posts will serve as a deterrent for scratching on couches or chairs as well as promote healthy behaviors. You can also train your cat to learn where they should and should not scratch by using catnip and deterrent sprays.
In the end, choosing to declaw your cat is a personal choice. You should be aware of the behavioral changes and the harm that this can cause to your cat. Before getting your cat declawed, we encourage pet owners to try these alternatives for a happy and healthy cat.