Cat declawing is a controversial practice that is sometimes necessary, but it’s often done for reasons that could have been addressed in other ways. Here’s what you need to know about declawing and why there are few times when you should actually do it. A veterinarian at Casillas Veterinary Hospitals in Montebello, East Los Angeles, and Lynwood can go over this issue with you if you need more help.
What Declawing Really Is
When a cat is declawed, the entire claw plus the part of the bone holding the claw is cut off. This is not a surgical excision of just the claw itself. As many people note, the human equivalent would be chopping off each finger at the knuckle. Declawing can lead to psychological issues in the cat (that shouldn’t be a surprise given what the procedure does), and the cat is left without defenses.
The Only Times You Should Declaw
It used to be that declawing was done routinely to prevent scratching by indoor cats. People wanted to save their furniture and so amputated their cats’ claws. Now, declawing for generic scratching reasons is considered cruel, and more states are looking at banning non-medical declawing. There are only two times when declawing is permissible.
One is for medical reasons. Maybe the cat was in an accident or was abused, and the claws have become deformed and are hurting the cat; in that case, declawing may be necessary to prevent more pain and infection in the cat.
The other is in special circumstances only, such as when the cat has to be either declawed or dumped. For example, one vet in the UK told the BBC that the only cats she ever declawed were two owned by a woman entering a nursing home. The home demanded the cats be declawed or rehomed, but the cats’ personalities precluded rehoming. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons gave the vet permission to declaw both cats.
There Are Other Remedies for Scratching
If you thought you had to declaw to stop the cat from scratching, you’re wrong — there are ways to modify the cat’s behavior instead. Contact an animal hospital like Casillas Veterinary Hospitals in Montebello, East Los Angeles, and Lynwood at (323) 726-1525.