Declawing, or onychectomy, is akin to cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger. Unlike humans, that can have a nail removed without removing the finger, cats’ nails are attached to the last bone in their toes. Therefore, declawing requires the painful amputation of a cat’s third toe bone. There is another procedure (tenectomy) that does not remove the nail but cuts the tendon that allows the nail to protrude. Both procedures have their own risks and complications, and can result in wound infection, paralysis, lameness, chronic arthritis, claw regrowth, behavior changes such as biting and house-soiling, hemorrhage, and inflammation.
If your cat exhibits unwanted and destructive scratching behaviors, there are many more positive non-surgical alternatives available. Strategic placement of cat scratching posts or pads around your home will allow your cat to exhibit normal scratching behavior. Regularly trimming your cat’s claws will help to prevent injury and damage to household items. Temporary nail caps such as Soft Claws are glued over your cat’s nails to help prevent human injury and damage to household items. Feliway, a synthetic feline pheromone spray and diffuser, can be used around the home to help relieve anxiety or stress that often is the root cause of continued scratching by cats. Lastly, simply providing an enriched home environment for your cat to perform their natural behaviors and have control over their social interactions should reduce unwanted and destructive behavior.
At Passionate Paws, we will only perform this procedure if it has been determined that the cat’s claws present a human health risk or the claw has been found to be cancerous.
Dr. Susan Bonilla is the owner of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, offering traditional and complementary treatment options as well as full-service grooming. She is certified in acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy. You can reach her at 704-256-7576 or e-mail at Hello@PassionatePaws.Vet
Grooming Tip of the Week
Keep your pet warm this fall and winter by ensuring their coat is free of mats. Regular brushing will ensure that your pet does not build up any mats. The last thing you or your pet wants when it’s cold outside is to have to be shaved down for mats. Be careful with sweaters as they too can cause matting. If your pet wears a sweater, make sure to brush their coat out after wearing to reduce matting.