Should I have my cat declawed?
Declawing should always be made on a case-by-case basis, and is a rather controversial subject. Many people consider declawing a cat unethical. Other people think all cats should be declawed. Here is a list of the major pros and cons associated with declawing a cat. It is very important that these items are thoroughly pondered before a declaw/don't declaw decision is made, as the procedure is irreversible.
· Cats sharpen their claws and scratch on the furniture, walls and draperies in your house for multiple reasons. First of all, it's their instinct to keep their primary weapons sharp and in good order. Second, it's good exercise for their foreleg and shoulder muscles. Third, they have an endorphin release in their brains when they scratch; they get hooked on it because it feels good!
· Almost all cats, with patience and the proper equipment, can be trained to leave the furniture alone and beat up on the designated scratching post(s) and area(s).
· Declawing a cat removes his primary means of offense, but also removes his primary defense. Declawed cats are helpless against dog attacks and other cats. If you plan on declawing your cat, you MUST commit to making that kitty an indoor-only kitty for the rest of its life. Interestingly, indoor-only cats have a life expectancy of 15+ years. Outdoor-only cats have a life expectancy of 3 years.
· Cats do NOT cognitively regard declawing as a mutilation. However, they do commonly recognize they've been disarmed. Many cats who are a little inconsistent about being nice may start biting after being declawed.
· Cats who are aggressive and ready to strike with little or no provocation are MUCH safer for family members to be around, and much easier for veterinary staff to handle for medical care, after being declawed.
· With recent developments in veterinary medicine, cats declawed at Windmill Animal Hospital experience minimal pain peri- or post-operatively. All declaws at Windmill Animal Hospital are performed via laser surgery--thereby reducing post-op pain, swelling & bruising by 80%. In addition, combining long-acting local anesthetics with morphine-based systemic analgesics, assures that all Windmill Animal Hospital declaws are performed with maximum patient comfort and compassion. Complications associated with declawing, such as infection, pain, and lameness, are rare, but always a possibility.
Deciding to declaw your cat should be based on careful consideration, and only after reasonable efforts have been made to train your pet into scratching appropriate items, and leaving your furniture alone. Do NOT declaw your cat if you can not or will not commit to keeping your pet as an indoors-only pet the rest of its life.