After declawing cats was prohibited by a recent bill passed in Michigan, a local vet clinic is stepping up to teach pet owners how to live with a clawed cat.
Local Veterinary Clinic Hopes to Teach Pet Owners How to Live with a Clawed Cat
Yes, you heard that right. They’re teaching people how to live with a cat who has their natural claws, instead of a cat that has been declawed. Declawing is a procedure that cannot be reversed, which removes the last toe bone and claws from a cat.
Dr. Daniele Knight, a veterinarian at Switzer Veterinary Clinic featured in the video, says that owners most commonly declaw cats to keep from destroying household items and also as a safety measure.
“Scratching is a normal behavior for them just the same way grooming is a normal behavior,” said Knight.
“They do a marking, a visual marking, so they’re actually making a little area of destruction that is visual and then they also use that method of scratching to rejuvenate their nails so to speak, so their claws actually get sharpened and groomed that way.”
Cat Owners Urged to Explore Options to Declawing
Knight also provided tips on how to discourage scratching in your home such as by utilizing scratching posts kept in an open area or applying nail caps. She also urges pet owners to consult with their local veterinarian to discuss alternatives to declawing.
“As veterinarians, we really want to promote a human-animal bond, so the family bonds with their pet, and so being able to explain a cat’s behavior and also help to give you ways to enjoy your cat’s natural behavior and get along better will give you a longer time with them and a healthier time for your cat.”
Facts About Declawing Your Cat
When cats are declawed, the last knuckle on each paw is removed, which is basically the same thing as having your own fingertip amputated at the last joint. Just imagine never being able to scratch an itch properly.
Declawing can be extremely painful. Extremely. It also has associated health risks such as infection, bleeding and nerve damage.
A cat who has been declawed can become permanently lame, develop arthritis or be in constant pain. With how well cats tend to hide pain already, this is important.
Declawed cats are over-represented in animal shelters because of issues that declawing can cause, including both behavioral and physical problems. Some issues include avoiding the litterbox, biting and painful or deformed feet.
Many veterinarians will suggest or perform a declaw surgery without discussing the risks with cat owners. Sadly, some veterinarians see it as a way to increase revenue instead of what risk it might pose to the cat.
If a declawed cat is allowed outdoors, it may not be able to defend itself against animals or other cats who might attack, and they cannot climb trees to escape.
There are tons of more humane methods to help control a cat’s scratching habits, such as the use of nail caps, using sticky tape on furniture, having their nails trimmed and providing scratching posts.