Say No To Cruel Cat Declawing

No To Declawing 2017-10-31T20:30:56+01:00

We Believe The Practice Of Cat Declawing Is Cruel

Onychectomy – the practice of surgically removing cats claws – is cruel, unnecessary and illegal in the UK. Thankfully there are alternatives to solve cat scratching problems.

What The Experts Say About Declawing Cats

“We may not know when some cats are suffering because of their stoic nature. Some cats in great discomfort may actually purr and seem to be half-asleep. Such self-comforting, so-called displacement behaviours are indicators of stress. Cats may learn to cope with the chronic pain of onychectomy, but the absence of overt pain does not mean they are pain-free.”

Dr. Michael W. Fox, D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Vet.Med

“It is becoming more and more apparent that the number of feline patients who have declaw procedures performed have subsequent chronic pain issues…within days to months to years.”

Dr. Gaynor DMV

“Veterinarians acknowledge that declaws are very painful for cats, but a recent study showed that the pain lasts longer than originally thought. Cats declawed on one paw that appeared to walk normally were put on a gait-analysis machine. Results showed that none of the cats fully used the declawed leg 12 days after surgery.”

Dr. Brenda McClelland DMV

“Stoicism may be cats’ greatest enemy in the declaw debate. Nobody declaws dogs—in vet school we were told that it’s too painful. Dogs whine, scream and howl; their pain is easy to recognise. But cats are quiet, and they characteristically endure pain without complaint. It is axiomatic in science that “lack of evidence does not equal evidence of lack.”

Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM

“While the pain is obvious in large cats (tigers) because of their size, small cats will go to great lengths to conceal their discomfort.”

Dr. Jennifer Conrad, The Paw Project

“In veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure (declawing) serves as a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs”

Dr. Nicholas Dodman

Say No To Cat Declawing

Cats need their claws for many things other than for protection. Their natural balance and agility are due to their retractable claws. As cats walk on their toes they need their claws for walking, running, climbing and stretching even if they are frequently kept indoors.

When cat owners lose patience with their cat’s scratching they often see declawing as the answer to stop this behaviour. However, declawing is an incredibly cruel practice as the surgical procedure removes the entire claw, including some of the bone to prevent any possible re-growth. Surgery is not always successful meaning the claws may still grow back, but in a distorted and painful way. Without the end of their digits, adjusting to normal walking and jumping is a difficult process. Many post-op cats develop a distorted gait as they try to avoid pressure on their toes because of the pain, which can lead to crippling in the hips, legs and spine.

The pain after the removal of their claws causes much upset and confusion for the cat affecting many of their daily activities. Common reactions include avoiding the litter box because digging and standing on the granules is unbearable; reduction in climbing and running and lastly, as cats use their claws for defence, they may turn to biting when feeling threatened.

Declawing is not just a permanent nail cap at the base of the paw

Declawing (Onychectomy) is ten separate, painful amputations of the last digits of a cats finger including bone (third phalanx), dorsal ligaments, flexor tendons, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, claw and fur. As claws grow directly out of bone, declawing surgery irreversibly carves out and severs the third phalanx to keep the claw from growing back.

Possible risks, consequences and realities of declaw surgery

By declawing your cat you are forever deprived it of their first line of self defence. Further, it has been shown the physical & emotional satisfaction to the cat of digging their claws into scratching post helps them relieve stress. More serious consequences are listed below.

Consequences Of Declawing

1. Infection

For every bone and piece of skin that is cut during declaw surgery, there is a wound site for infection to set in. The infection can start in one finger and spread throughout the paws and can lead to amputation of the entire toe, paw or limb.

“Post-surgical complications include abscess formation, chronic infection (aggravated by cat litter) and chronic or intermittent lameness.”
– Dr. Michael W. Fox

2. Paw Swelling, Limping, Arthritis or Improper Gait

Research has shown that, in the immediate post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pads of the feet, and off the sore toes.

This effect was significant even when strong pain medication was given, and remained apparent for the duration of the study (up to 40 hours after the surgery). If this altered gait persists over time, it would cause stress on the leg joints and spine, and would lead to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints.
– Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM

Declawed cats tend to walk abnormally back on their heels rather than on their entire pads because of the chronic pain at the end of their severed fingers and toes. They often develop chronic arthritis and as the front toe pads shrink, chronic bone infections are common…The tendons that control the toe joints retract after surgery. These joints essentially becoming frozen. The toes remain fully contracted for the life of the cat. In order to keep weight off the tender amputated toes, cats shift their weight backward, the altered gait stressing the limbs and spine, which could lead to arthritis later in life.
– Dr. Michael Fox

Laser Declawing

There seems to be a few people with the mistaken idea that laser declawing is kinder because it ‘just’ removes the claws instead of the entire last joint of the cats toes.

“Laser declawing is a very intricate process which only skilled operators should carry out.”

To properly declaw a cat the final piece of bone must be removed otherwise it will grow back, if performed incorrectly not only does the cat end up with no toe ends but he suffers scorched flesh and bone too.

Understanding the Motivation of the Scratching Behaviour

Morals

If you make the moral decision to join the ranks of the claw conservatives, what do you do when your cat starts tearing up your furniture? Are there things you can do to circumvent the problem, or do you just have to lock your furniture away behind closed doors? The answers are yes, there are, and no, you don’t have to, but to make inroads on this problem, it helps to understand the motivation of the scratching behaviour.

Furniture

The simple explanation that furniture clawing is primarily conducted to sharpen the claws is not true. Furniture clawing does not sharpen the claws; it conditions them by exercising muscles and helping to shuck off dead nail husks. Another reason why cats stretch up and sink their claws into furniture is that it relieves tension.

Scratching

Scratching and clawing at various objects is also a form of visual and olfactory marking behaviour. The visual marking aspect is easy to appreciate, cats are inherently predisposed to mark their territory and because of this, claw marks are always strategically positioned in a highly visible location, such as the arm of a couch facing the door. The olfactory component of scratching adds a more subtle component to this marking behaviour. The pheromonal odours released from scent glands in the paws leave no doubt in another feline mind as to exactly who the marker was. This helps explain why declawed cats continue to go through the motions of furniture scratching when they have no claws to show the visible fruits of their labor.

Conditioning

Another reason why cats scratch furniture excessively: The behaviour can be reinforced by conditioning. Getting attention for engaging in a behaviour will usually increase the frequency of that behaviour. A detailed account of the behaviour is needed to establish where and when it occurs, and what precedes and what follows the cat’s actions. Only with such attention to fine detail can effective behaviour modification programs be designed. There are many imaginative and conventional solutions that can be tried before resorting to the travesty of amputation. To update an old saying, there’s more than one way to cure a cat.

Declawing Does Nothing to Benefit the Cat

You will sometimes hear the disclaimer, “It’s better than putting him to sleep.” This is a fallacious argument, and usually offered only to soothe the owner’s conscience. Only the cat’s owner can make the decision to put their cat down because of scratching problems. He or she can also make the decision to let the cat keep its toes. Unlike neutering, which does benefit the cat, both health wise and behavioural wise, declawing does nothing positive for the cat.

Declawing Robs a Cat of His Chief Weapon of Defence

You will sometimes hear the disclaimer, “It’s better than putting him to sleep.” This is a fallacious argument, and usually A typical counter-argument is, “My cat is indoors-only.” Even indoor cats sometimes manage to escape. A declawed cat does not stand a chance against a large dog, a bigger cat, or a predator. Although he still has teeth, by the time he gets in close enough to bite, it may be too late.

Declawing is Painful Surgery

Think of it as 10 amputations (if only the front feet are declawed). Pain meds may help initially, but phantom pain may last for weeks or months, as nerve endings heal. Dr. Nicholas Dodman describes the pain following surgery: “Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain.”

Declawing Leads to Biting Problems

You will sometimes hear the disclaimer, “It’s better than putting him to sleep.” This is a fallacious argument, and usually A typical counter-argument is, “My cat is indoors-only.” Even indoor cats sometimes manage to escape. A declawed cat does not stand a chance against a large dog, a bigger cat, or a predator. Although he still has teeth, by the time he gets in close enough to bite, it may be too late.

Cats Need the Exercise their Claws and Toes

Watch a cat stretch, whether horizontally on a carpet or vertically with a tall scratching post. He will grab the carpet or sisal with his claws, using the resistance to pull and stretch his muscles. Cats’ claws actually play a large and positive role in their amazing muscle tone and agility.

Altered Gait May Lead to Later Joint Problems

Domestic cats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. Walking with an altered gait because of the lack of the first digit of the toes can affect all the joints of the leg, resulting later in arthritis of the hip and other joints. Jean Hofve, DVM describes this joint deterioration more fully, in her article, “A Rational Look at Declawing.”

Cats Need to Be Cats for Their Entire “Nine Lives”

Honestly, if a cat could speak human language, do you really think, given a choice, he’d say, “Sure thing. Cut off part of my toes?” His claws and toes are an integral part of making a cat a cat. Would you honestly want him to be anything less, especially since there are humane alternatives? It’s your decision, but please take your cat’s needs into serious consideration before making such a drastic and permanent choice.

Choose The Humane Alternative To Declawing
Soft Claws Nail Caps