Your sofa and your nerves are in tatters. You’re scolding your cat, knowing all the while that it’s futile. This is not a cocker spaniel that you’re dealing with. This is one of nature’s most pragmatic and self-sufficient creatures: a cat. Worse, you’re well aware that your cat considers your behavior baffling. She looks at you as if you’ve gone slightly mad. “Why the Fuss?” she seems to say. “What are you raving about? I’m simply doing my thing — what’s up with you?”
You’re at an impasse. What to do?
Above All, Don’t Declaw
Please, take this as a given. Declawing is not an acceptable option for the beautiful, loving animal that depends on you. The reasons to avoid declawing are compelling, for you as well as for your cat.
Declawing is literally maiming a cat, a mistake that can lead to physical, emotional, and behavioural complications. It is erroneous to think that declawing a cat is a trivial procedure similar to trimming fingernails. A cat’s claws are a vital part of her anatomy, essential to balance, mobility, and survival.
Declawing is an irreversible surgical procedure that involves amputating a cat’s toes up to the first joint. It is a very painful surgery with a strong potential for secondary complications. Imagine having the last joint of your own fingers amputated: not a pleasant thought
On rare occasions, declawing may lead to secondary contracture of the tendons. This makes it uncomfortable for the cat to walk. Since the last joints of her front paws are missing, she compensates by placing more of her weight on her hindquarters, causing her to be out of balance. This shift of weight to the back feet may lead to atrophy of the muscles of her front limbs and strain injuries to the back ones.
Being out of balance is extremely distressing to a cat, whose very life is about balance. You’ve observed cats climbing trees, teetering perilously on a single branch, leaping incredible heights to land on a pre-selected spot, or threading in and out of complex arrangements of knickknacks without disturbing a single ornament: unless, of course, they choose to do so. These are acts of balance and part of a cat’s basic heritage.
In addition to being an intrinsic part of a cat’s normal conformation, her front claws are her primary defence. Once declawed, there is no replacement or regrowth of the claws. You may think, “My cat never goes outside.” But what if your cat accidentally gets outside and you can’t find her? She is now defenceless in a potentially hostile environment.
Deprived of her front claws, a cat may become insecure and distressed. I can assure you that if your kitty becomes emotionally distressed, you will too. A cat’s display of distress tends to take such forms as urinating on your favourite rug or spraying your antique armoire. Feeling defenceless without her claws, your kitty may become hostile to people, including you, and to other cats; becoming apter to bite.
Some cats develop an aversion to their litter box because of the pain associated with scratching in the litter after a declawing procedure. If your kitty doesn’t go in the box, she will find a more comfortable place to do her business. Often times, these habits are hard to break.
One more compelling reason not to declaw: Some European countries have ruled declawing illegal! It is considered inhumane.
For more information on declawing, please visit www.declawing.com.