Reasons people give for declawing include fear that a child or dog might be scratched (a cat scratch tends to be much less dangerous than a bite), fear of furniture damage (furniture can be replaced; it can be covered by slipcovers; it can be protected with sticky-tape products or Bitter Apple Spray that discourage cats from scratching), fear of aggression (actually, declawing may cause more aggression, especially passive-aggressive behavior), fear that a declawed cat in the house might be in danger.
The following is taken from an article written by MeLinda Hughes of Merlin's Ragdoll Cat Rescue:
If you are concerned about your cat’s claws, please know that there are a number of excellent alternatives to declawing. Cats can be properly trained to not scratch by using a variety of cat scratchers (please see product reviews on www.floppycats.com; there are literally thousands of different types of scratchers) and using positive reinforcement (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/training_your_cat_positive_reinforcement.html).
There are nail tips called Soft Paws (available at PetSmart and Petco or at http://softpaws.com/ ).
Cats’ nails can be kept trimmed short. I actually trim my cats’ claws every Sunday afternoon when we have their grooming session.
There is actually no legitimate reason, in my experience, to declaw a cat unless it is for the cat (problems with ingrown nails). A large number of veterinarians have actually even decided to no longer declaw and are actively working with animal welfare groups for legislation to declare declawing illegal in the US (http://www.declaw.com/), though a significant number of vets still declaw. Note that declawing is a major source of income for vets, so please consider that before you rely on your veterinarian’s recommendation about declawing. There is a new form of declawing, tendonectomy, which is supposedly less painful. It may be less painful at the outset, but this is not a suitable substitution to declawing. In fact, it can cause even more issues (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/declawing.html).
Many declawed cats live happy, healthy lives, and this is not to say that all declawed cats develop visible issues. Unfortunately, the potential for these issues is high. Furthermore, if for some reason your declawed cat ends up in a shelter, please know that he is much more likely to be euthanized than a clawed cat. Cat shelters are stressful environments, and when declawed cats end up in shelters, there is a great possibility for either extreme fear or extreme aggression, both of which lower the cat’s adoptability and endanger his life.
Copious amounts of information against declawing exist. One article I like to recommend to my adopters is by well-renowned cat veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve: http://www.catscenterstage.com/declawing.shtml. Dr. Hofve also has a website called Little Big Cat at www.littlebigcat.com where she provides additional articles on cat behavior and declawing. Additional information on cat behavior and declawing can be found at http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/scratching_and_declawing/Truth_about_Declawing.html
Please just be aware, before you decide to declaw your cat, that valid reasons exist to not declaw and that there are suitable alternatives to declawing that will keep your cat and you happy and in harmony. You are the one making the choice, but please be certain that you are making the best choice not just for you but for your cat.
Quotes from well-renowned animal advocates against declawing:
Jean Hofve (Little Big Cat): “Declawing is not a simple or routine surgery. It should never be done as a “preventative,” especially in kittens. Despite their reputation for independence, cats can readily be trained to leave the sofa, curtains, or carpet untouched. Using surgery to prevent or correct a behavioral problem is expedient, but it is definitely not the smartest, kindest, most cost-effective, or best solution for you and your cat.”
Noted veterinarian Nicholas Dodman (from his book The Cat that Cried for Help): “Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery.”
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