Declaw Alternatives

Yes, a cat post.  I'd say (without looking at actual numbers) that we do about 50% of our cat spays/neuters with a front declaw, 10% is probably a 4 paw declaw, and the remaining 40% are only spay/neuter.  Surprisingly (to me) maybe 45% of those initially not declawed come back in later for a front declaw.

I've never been a fan of declawing.  Working at the clinic has made me even less of a fan.  I live with one front declawed cat (done at an older age, but definitely not old) and one who has kept all of his claws for his 13 years of life thus far.

Why do people feel that declawing is necessary right away?  I will say that I stand by the fact I would rather see a cat declaws and living inside safely, than the alternatives (becoming an outdoor cat or dead).  Of course, of course, of course!  I just feel like we're missing out on a key element of pet education if we're seeing so many (standard) declaw procedures.

1) Nail trims.  I've been experimenting lately with my own cats.  I've got both of my cats accustomed to the dremel.  I trim the tip with a clippers (if I let them get that long) and then dremel it back, like I would a dog's nail, until there is no point to the nail.  This means that he can't be using the nail to scratch things.  I ran my fingers over the nails when I finished this morning and it doesn't appear to be sharp in any way.  We have leather furniture, so scratches happen pretty easily.  He doesn't actively scratch things, but if I let his nails get too long they tend to do the damage all on their own.

2) Soft Paws.  I've heard very little good about the product, most of the negative relating to the glue used.  I bought some a while back and haven't used them yet.  I've  been told to expect to have to order new glue to use as the tube in my kit is likely dried up, despite it not being opened.  The reason I haven't tried them is I'd have to let the nail grow out for them to fit.  I simply haven't seen the point yet.

3) Appropriate scratching surfaces.  I don't have any cat trees.  I really, really, need to build one.  Not only as an appropriate scratching surface, but I'm sure the cats would love to have a place the dogs absolutely could not get to.  Most scratching surfaces bought at local big box stores are too short for the majority of the cat population.  It does no good if the kitty doesn't like it!

4) Enrichment.  Cats are more likely to find inappropriate scratching surfaces if they are bored.  Keep your indoor feline occupied.

5) Health.  As always, if there are sudden changes to your cat's behavior, a vet visit may be in order.

1 comment:

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

It's so cruel! We clip our kitty's nails, he tolerates it ok.