Should You Declaw Your Cat?

South Austin Vet Clinic Declaw Cat Article image

What if I just promise to limit my furniture scratching to weekends...?

Cats make wonderful inside and outside pets. Since they can easily be trained to use the litter box, or to do their business outside, many people like to allow their cat to stay with them indoors. However, cat’s have a habit of sharpening their claws, and like to do so especially on furniture and sometimes walls. While some cats can be trained to sharpen their claws outside, some cats are not so easily deterred, and unhappy cat owners may begin to consider declawing their pet in order to keep their furniture in tact and their pet in their home. There are a few things to consider when making the decision of whether or not to declaw a cat.

  1. Declawed cats must remain inside—forever. A cat’s claws are its primary means of defense. Once you declaw a cat, it must remain inside. If it gets out and is attacked by another animal, it could mean the death of your cat, or at lease severe injuries because your cat will have no means of defending itself.
  2. The declawing process requires surgery. Many people are under the assumption that declawing is similar to the cutting of fingernails. However, a cats claw is not a fingernail. It is a bone that must be detached from the paw. The declawing procedure entails detaching the first joint of a cat’s toes. This is a painful procedure for which the cat must be put under anesthesia. Once removed, the claw will never grow back. If your cat is an indoor only cat that never goes outside but has a furniture clawing problem, declawing could be a good option for you both.
  3. Declawing a cat may change their personality. Cats are very proud animals, and when they are declawed, it can make them nervous, embarrassed and depressed. Some cats recover quickly, while others may sulk for a longer time. This is because being declawed can make a cat feel more vulnerable to attack. In addition, the procedure is painful and requires a long recovery time.
  4. Nail trimming can be a good alternative. Keeping a cats nails trimmed down can be a good way to prevent them from scratching your furniture without having to declaw them. However, nail trimming can be tricky since there is a blood vein that is present in each claw that can be painful if clipped. Your veterinarian can provide nail trimming services to keep your cats claws short and neat so that they will be less likely to claw, and if they do, it will not cause severe damage to furniture.

Whether or not to declaw a cat is a tough decision that should not be considered lightly. Consider your cat, their environment, and the consequences of the procedure on both you and your cat. Talk to you veterinarian before deciding whether or not this procedure is for you. If you should decide to declaw your cat, be sure and have it done with a veterinarian who is familiar with the procedure so that there is minimal pain and a quicker recovery time to lessen the impact of the surgery on your cat.

For more information about declawing your cat, you can contact us here at South Branch Pet & Bird Clinic at 512-462-0002.