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Anti-Declaw: Understanding the Damage of Declawing & the Alternatives

Cats are conditioned to scratch during play and to also mark their territory. You’ll often have instances where your cat scratches you, leading to pain and injury. Cats will also scratch furniture ruining its good condition.

Sometimes this can be frustrating which leads to cat owners opting for a surgical solution to declaw their pets. However, more people are coming against this practice because it causes more harm to the cat.

In addition, there are alternative solutions like a modern cat scratcher that will get the cat off your furniture. In this post, we’ll look at the damages of declawing and some alternatives to consider.

Damages of Declawing

Photo by Manja Vitolic from Unsplash

Declawing leaves your cat vulnerable and unable to defend itself. It is familiar with using its claws to mark territory and to stand up to other cats and pets. When the claws are removed, the cat may become bitter and withdrawn.

Declawing will also lead to a lot of pain, making it difficult for the cat to function normally. It may change how the paws stay on the ground due to the pain. In addition, using the litter box will quickly get uncomfortable because of the irritation when scratching.

Your cat may also suffer from nerve damage, tissue necrosis, infection, and lameness. Claws are important to the cat and feature nerve endings that keep your cat active and playful. 

Declawing may also lead to cat overgrooming where your cat licks its paws too often due to pain and discomfort. The constant licking may interfere with its incisions and lead to infections. 

Lastly, scratching and playing on a modular cat tree helps the cat exercise its muscles and grow stronger. So, declawing may lead to weak muscles over time due to the pain and minimized activity level. 

Alternatives to Declawing

Declawing is not the best or only way to deal with your cat’s constant scratching. You have alternative options that will keep your cat healthy and still allow it to enjoy playing and scratching. 

In addition, it will give you an easier time as a cat owner allowing you to nurture a closer bond with your cat. Here are some of the declawing alternatives you can start implementing immediately.

Nail Trimming

Photo by Ivan from Adobe Stock

Clipping your cat’s nails is like giving them a nice manicure treatment. It needs to be done every two weeks to help keep the nails manageable. Starting the trimming sessions early while it is a kitten will help it get used to the feeling.

However, with fully grown cats, it may take a while for them to get familiar with nail trimming. You’ll need to bring some cat treats and one more person to help you as you clip the nails. You could also consider clipping them while your cat is asleep.

When trimming the nails, first ensure that it is fully exposed from the paw and that you can see it clearly. Place your nail clippers on the nail and cut off a bit of the nail. To do this, ensure that you don’t clip the pink part of the nail.

That part features the claw’s nerve endings and blood vessels and can be extremely painful if cut. Think of it like the human nail, there is a part that you can comfortably clip but it gets to a point where it becomes painful. 

If nail trimming proves to be a challenge, you can outsource the service to experts who specialize in pet grooming. They will help keep your cat’s nails short and maybe give you pointers on how to do it yourself.

Invest in Scratching Surfaces & Training

Photo from Katris

Cats require the right environment for them to play, thrive, and explore their instinctive urges. You can provide such an environment by investing in toys and a modern cat tree that will let them play and scratch at any time. 

Scratching surfaces help keep your cat off the furniture while allowing it to explore its playful and inquisitive nature. If your cat likes to scratch vertically, then a cat tree is a great option. However, if it prefers to scratch horizontally, invest in a special carpet that will allow for scratching.

Training your cat to shift from scratching the furniture to a toy or a modern cat scratcher will require some tricks. Using catnip is a great strategy that will help draw the cat closer to the scratcher, allowing it to explore how it works.

You may find that your cat still goes back to its favorite scratching spot on your furniture. Avoid punishing the cat and instead use double-sided tape or aluminum foil on that spot for a while.

Doing this will discourage the cat from scratching the furniture and allow it to go back to its cat tree. In addition, using a repellant spray on the spots where it scratches, is a great way to train it to stop and find an alternative.

Nail Caps

Nail caps are an excellent option to help cat owners reduce scratching without declawing their cats. The caps feature the use of plastic and are used to cover the sharp portion of the cat’s nail.

With nail caps, your cat can play normally, scratch, and defend itself without the pain and other complications that come with declawing. The application of these nail caps involves the use of glue and can last for about a month.

However, some cats may not keep them for that long. In addition, the application process may prove to be messy for you. So, getting your groomers to do it for you is an excellent way to reduce messiness and keep your cat clean and comfortable.

Anti-Declaw: Understanding the Damage of Declawing & the Alternatives
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Anti-Declaw: Understanding the Damage of Declawing & the Alternatives
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