Declawing: More Than Just a Manucure!
People choose to declaw their cats for a number of reasons: Some are frustrated with shredded drapes or furniture, some are worried about being scratched, and others simply feel that a declawed cat is easier to live with. In many cases, cats are declawed preemptively, as a part of a spay/neuter package offered by veterinarians, even before claw-related problems occur.
Too often people believe that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat's nails, the equivalent of a person having her fingernails trimmed. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe and, if performed on a human being, it would be comparable to cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
Declawing can leave cats with a painful healing process, long-term health issues, and numerous behavior problems. This is especially unfortunate because declawing is an owner-elected procedure and unnecessary for the vast majority of cats.
What about Laser Surgery?
During laser surgery, a small, intense beam of light cuts through tissue by heating and vaporizing it, meaning there's less bleeding and a shorter recovery time. But the surgical technique itself is similar to the traditional method (or "onychectomy"), with the laser simply replacing a steel scalpel blade. So while the use of a laser may slightly reduce the duration of the healing process, it does not change the nature of the procedure.
Another procedure introduced more recently effectively deactivates cats’ claws by severing the tendons that extend the toes. Called a “tendonectomy,” the surgery retains the claws in the paws and is often thought to be more humane because of its shorter recovery time. But the method has its own set of problems. Since cats are unable to keep their claw length in check through vigorous scratching, owners must continually trim nails to prevent them from growing into the paw pads and causing infections. And though tendonectomies are generally considered less traumatic because of decreased post-operative pain, a 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found the incidence of bleeding, lameness, and infection was similar for both procedures. Furthermore, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend tendonectomies as an alternative.
While there have been changes in the way that cats are declawed, it's still true that for the majority of cats, these surgical procedures are unnecessary. Educated owners can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows animal and owner to happily coexist.
Declawing and tendonectomies should be reserved only for those rare cases in which a cat has a medical problem that would warrant such surgery—or after exhausting all other options, it becomes clear that the cat cannot be properly trained and, as a result, would be removed from the home. In these cases, a veterinarian should inform the cat's caretakers about complications associated with the surgical procedures (including the possibility of infection, pain, and lameness) so that owners have realistic expectations about the outcome. There is just as much evidence to support the case against declawing as there is research to support it, with some studies finding few or only short-term adverse reactions to the surgery and others finding medical complications and significant differences in behavior.
Purchasing or building a scratching post is an important step in training a cat to avoid destructive scratching. Several companies manufacture scratching posts and other products that appeal to cats. Some companies and organizations have developed similar plans for do-it-yourselfers.
How to make your cat scratch a scratching post?
Cats scratch to smooth out the rings of their claws, which have gradually frayed. Scratching is also an instinctive method of marking a territory. Each scratch leaves secretion from theglands of the cat's feet - a scent that gets other cats attention. See Why cats scratch
Cats naturally claw trees and prominent objects in their territory. If they are not provided with an adequate surface in the house, they will choose their own. Therefore it is important to provide your cat with a cat scratching post, which she can use for playing and scratching.
The ideal scratching surface can vary between cats - from a simply carpet covered to the more exotic sisal rope or artificial surface coverings. The cat scratching post may be tall, short, round, with horizontal or vertical surfaces. But if you want to your cat to scratch the cat scratching post you should consider the next rules:
- The good cat scratching post must have a sturdy base, which will ensure stability. Sturdiness is an important quality since the cat often presses its bodyweight onto the post to get a good scratch. If the cat feels insecure or unsteady on the cat scratching post, she simply won't use it.
- Take a cat scratching post that provides combination of different covered surfaces. Carpeting is not always a feline's favorite scratching material, and it may not be such a great idea to train your cat to scratch on the carpet, since she may have trouble telling acceptable carpet from the carpet covering your floors. On the other side is the sisal rope, which is durable, inexpensive, attractive to cats, and lasts longer than carpet.
- The post should also be wide enough for your cat to sit on top and look at her surroundings.
- Natural bark and stripped tree trunks are also good choices. Just be sure the bark is bug-free and the trunks are not chemically treated.
More about scratching posts!
If your cat is unaccustomed to her cat scratching post you may need to help train your cat to choose the post rather than your furniture. There are four key aspects that will help achieve a positive result with scratching posts:
- Whether a new kitten or an older cat that is new to your home starting a scratch-post training before a problem arises makes sense. It is easier to establish good habits rather than try to correct the problems later.
- Help show your cat how to scratch. Actually go through the scratching motion yourself while your cat is watching. Don't try to physically force your cat to scratch by holding her paws. She will resist and even dislike the post. The most effective method of teaching your cat to use her post is through lures and rewards. Once your cat understands that scratching and climbing her post is fun, reward her and gain your enthusiastic approval.
- Make the post a fun place to be by placing toys on or around it, or rubbing it with catnip. If your cat likes catnip, rub some into the rope so that the cat can smell that wonderful smell. Once your cat has smelled the catnip scratch your nails, gently, along the surface of the rope. This will help teach your cat where to scratch.
- Most cats scratch immediately after waking while stretching themselves. Keep the scratching post nearby to where your cat likes to sleep, and as soon as your cat wakes up from a nap, call her to her post.
- Put it where it will be used.Place the cat scratching post near a sunny window or a draft-free corner where your cat likes to spend time, or in front of a frequently scratched piece of furniture.
- Spray your cat with water every time your cat scratches the wrong place. See 13 ways to save your furniture from cat scratching- Don't replace the surface just because it's badly shredded that's the effect the cat is trying to achieve and after all it is her scratching post
Declawing of Cats, the world's attitude.