“Just declaw them.”
How many times have I heard this and cringed? I can understand how frustration takes over due to ruined furniture and other valuables in your home because of your cat’s nails. When gettng a dog, many would consider training them. Whether it’s house training, shake hands, or even herd farm animals, why is it that people know to train their dogs, but most don’t consider training their cat?
The truth is they should be. Older cats can also learn new tricks, and a proper setup of their cat trees in your home can actually make quite a difference. Pheromone plugins and sprays are also helpful. Have you heard of a clicker trainer? You must have as many trainers use them with dogs. Can we use it on cats to change their behavior as well? YES! We will get more into that next week.
Cats don’t do things out of spite. They are communicating with us and it’s our job to learn how to listen. Scratching is a form of communication and scent marking. This is a natural behavior. It’s exactly why feline behaviorists such as me exist. Your veterinarian knows the medical, and we know the pyscological. Hiring one for unwanted behavior can make a world of a difference.
So, let’s now dive into the word I really can’t stand. Declaw. What is it exactly? Is it inhumane? Are there any potential issues that can arise in the future? Think about it. If we damage our nail and it falls off or is pulled out, what does it eventually do? It grows back. So why would a cat’s nails be any different? How can we stop nail growth?
To declaw a cat, you are performing an amputation. You heard it right. Each little toe of your beloved cat is getting amputated up to the first knuckle. Look at your own fingers and imagine. Right? Now imagine you walk on them. How painful would it be over time for you? So why should we think our cat’s will be fine.
You see after their amputation their little paws are wrapped up for weeks. Putting any pressure on them is painful but they have no choice as moving around requires their paws. Not only is infection common, but there are many behavior issues you may encounter with your cat in the future. Some of these include litterbox issues, aggression, early onset arthritis (potentially chronic) and many others.
Should you experience destructive behavior, and are at your wits end, hire a behaviorist. Unwanted scratching is just one of the behaviors we are trained to most likely eliminate. We can provide you with tips, trick and a personalized written plan to use as a guide. I have preached many times on social media just how inhumane declawing your cat is. I will spare you the photos of the procedure, but I do hope you fully educate yourself if it ever crosses your mind.
If you aren’t willing to invest the time to train your cat, and are more concerned over furniture, please don’t get one. Better to be happy living in a cat free house than force a life of pain on an innocent cat. Remember: Declaw? Hell naw!