by Heather LeggA big dilemma of cat owners is to declaw or not to declaw. Why do some decide to let their cats keep their claws while others think declawing is the only way? Some owners fall in the middle, and this can be a tough decision to make. Think about the pros and cons to do what is best for the cat, the owner, and the household.
The best reason to declaw a cat is if the owner has a medical condition where her health could be compromised if the cat scratches and breaks the skin. There may be bacteria under the cat’s nails that can get under the owner’s skin and cause serious infections. Those with a health condition where this could be dangerous or life threatening may choose to declaw a cat.
Not to Declaw…
Declawing a cat is major surgery. It is not just a cat manicure! Cat claws are attached to the bone and declawing entails surgery, recovery time, possible complications, and pain management. Any surgery has risk involved, including the procedure for declawing.
A declawed cat should never go outside. They can’t defend themselves, and it can be life threatening to put a declawed feline outside. Though some people believe a cat should not go outside anyway because of dangers, claws or not, a declawed cat won’t even have the option.
Claws are part of the cat. Cats are born with their claws and many believe that is enough reason to keep them. It is often considered inhumane, unnatural, and selfish of the owner to declaw a cat.
Solutions to scratching issues do exist. Kittens can be trained to use a scratching post and usually won’t attack the furniture. Careful, consistent nail clipping can help the problem.
Some owners use Soft Paws, lightweight nail caps that are glued on to the cat’s nail. These last a few weeks, and then the owner just replaces them when they come off. If using these, the cats should stay indoors. Another option is if the cat has a favorite piece of furniture, some owners choose to cover it with a blanket or sheet to protect it unless company is over. It may deter the cat enough to use his scratching post instead.
Some countries have banned declawing as they deem it inhumane. This is something to think about…
To declaw or not to declaw is a serious decision. If a cat claws one piece of furniture one time, don’t rush him to the vet for declawing. Weigh the reasons and the individual situation to do what is best for the owner and the cat.
Heather Legg is a blogger who writes about healthy lifestyles and pets.