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Is it bad to declaw a cat?
Is it bad to declaw a cat?
Cats’ claws give them the edge when hunting, but it’s not a necessity.
Do you think you’ll ever have to declaw your cat?
Cats spend years developing their claws, but it’s a habit they must develop as kittens in order to stay safe. Declawing your cat means losing that edge, which could leave them vulnerable when hunting.
A cat’s claws are the most important defence mechanism on its feet. By definition, declawing a cat removes those weapons. Most people have heard about the ‘declawing debate’ – do you think it’s good or bad?
Here’s the thing – declawing is more than just getting rid of the claws, it’s also about the consequences and how that affects their life. It’s also about what it says about your relationship with the cat.
When did your cat get claws?
Cats have claws as kittens. They are born with a single digit with a nail that grows and grows until the cat has the full set.
What does this do to your cat?
Your cat doesn’t need these claws. Cats are hunters by nature and this is what they use their claws for – getting close to the prey and hunting.
Cats don’t like to soil themselves. Their claws are also used to scratch furniture, bedding, and even people, so if you know this, your cat will probably avoid it. It’s just a natural instinct to them.
It can be challenging for a cat to live with this habit. The claws can be scratched to bleeding and your cat can suffer from this.
Cats also find it uncomfortable and difficult to groom their feet. If you have your cat declawed, they will struggle to do this.
Is it a necessity or is it a lifestyle choice?
Your cat is asking you to remove their claws, but how do you decide? This is up to you and your cat.
How do you remove the claws?
You can get a special tool to remove the claws. You can also remove them yourself using either a tool or some alcohol or even just by hand.
Either way, do make sure you’re doing it in the right way. It’s best to not over do it so you avoid too much tissue damage.
How do you handle it after?
After your cat gets their claws removed, there will be some bleeding and your cat may struggle to move. If you get it right, there should be a pretty short recovery period but if not, your cat may be miserable.
You’ll need to support your cat and reassure them and make sure they are comfortable. Don’t force your cat to get back to work or play immediately.
You’ll need to keep them safe and away from other animals while they recover.
Do your research
While you can choose to have your cat declawed, you do need to get it right. There are a lot of things to consider before you make the decision, so it’s best to look into what’s involved and what could happen after.
If you have to find someone else to remove the claws, you’ll need to get it done right by making sure you choose someone who knows what they’re doing.
A good first step is to choose a qualified, experienced and trustworthy professional who you can trust to do a good job and give your cat the best experience.
Do some research, like we did to find and recommend the vets and clinics you’ll use. Use the internet to learn as much as you can about how to keep your cat safe while they have their claws removed.
Find a clinic and vet
It’s a good idea to find a reputable clinic and vet in your area to do the claws and get their help. They may have a procedure you can have your cat watch, but more importantly, they’ll be able to assess the damage caused by the claws and help you decide what you want to do to fix it.
It’s also important to consider that if your cat needs medical attention after the claws have been removed, a vet should be able to assist.
Ask your vet
We found a vet clinic and vet that would do the claws for us, and we had to get it done. While it’s best to find one yourself, if you don’t have much experience, a vet may be able to give you some ideas on where to look.
Find out if there are any pre-payment options to help you with the cost.
Some vets will offer discount options for paying upfront. This may be a good idea, but you may need to make some payments each month to make up the difference. The vet may also ask for a deposit, especially if the cat is new.
If you can’t pay upfront, you may want to ask if they have a low-cost option, like monthly payments. Ask them to discuss the costs with you and give you a rough estimate.
Be up front
Be open and honest with the vet about what you want done, including any allergies your cat has. Have any questions? Ask. Make sure they understand your needs and what you want to achieve.
Ask what they’ll do
You can have all the information in the world, but you may still not understand exactly what the vet is going to do to remove the claws. Ask the vet, especially if you have any questions or you can’t find answers in the information given to you.
The most obvious thing to look at is whether you can remove your cat’s claws yourself. It is a bit fiddly, but some cats are happy to do it themselves, and will usually be able to do so without too much trouble.
Some cats need someone to help, but you may be able to teach your cat to allow you to help. This can be very effective and save time, so ask the vet if this is something they can do.
Remember you can’t see anything the cat is doing when they do this themselves, so it’s possible they are cutting themselves. Always watch the area closely and if there are any signs of damage, let the vet know immediately.
Ask the vet about alternatives
Make sure the vet knows whether there are any other options to try, such as gel-based plasters, rubber bands, clips or even homeopathic remedies. All can help to make your cat less uncomfortable.
Keep all your options open when it comes to removal.
If your cat is a bit of a pain, you may get asked to let them use their claws, or to make them use their claws differently. If this is something you can manage, it can be very effective in changing how they use their claws.
Ask the vet if there is any special treatment they’d recommend and whether you can do this yourself. You can do many things yourself without any specialist advice, but sometimes it’s worth asking if there is something you can try yourself before getting them to do it.
Ask the vet about risks
It’s important to ask the vet whether there are any risks associated with the particular treatment they are advising. Although it’s good to have all of your options available to you, some treatments involve risks, and you need to be aware of