The Truth About Declawing
Scratching is as natural to cats as breathing. Unfortunately, this instinct can be damaging to things like furniture for indoor felines. That’s why, for many years, owners turned to practices like declawing to prevent destruction.
With the recent news of New York becoming the first U.S. state to outlaw declawing cats, many pet parents—especially new cat owners—have questions about the practice.
Here are a few facts about feline declawing and healthier alternatives for retailers to share with their customers:
Why do cats scratch?
Cats use scratching as a way to mark territory, stretch their paw muscles and remove dead husks from their claws.
What is declawing?
Traditionally, declawing is a surgical procedure (also known as onychectomy) to amputate all or part of the feline’s third phalanges bone and accompanying claws.
What are some of the negative effects?
Complications of declawing can include issues with anesthetic, hemorrhage, infection, nerve damage and bone spurs. Cats can also experience chronic pain due to the permanent alteration to how their paws touch the ground.
How can I keep my cat from scratching?
Rather than resorting to removing cats’ claws, owners can instead work to train cats to avoid destructive scratching behaviors. Be sure to provide plenty of suitable surfaces to redirect scratching, such as carpet-covered posts or sisal boards, and utilize catnip, treats and toys to encourage use.
Owners can also help minimize negative scratching by keeping their feline’s claw trimmed and deter scratching on furniture with special tape or sprays.