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Cat Declawing Surgery - Pros and Cons

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Cat Declawing Surgery - Pros and Cons

Many great things come with owning a cat - we get affection, company, and a friend through life. However, we mustn’t forget that even domesticated animals have natural tendencies. For example, to keep their claws clean and tidy, cats will scratch surfaces. Despite spending money on scratching posts, your feline friend probably chooses to ignore this completely and scratch everything else in the house.

Of course, the first thing to note is that your cat isn’t doing this out of some sort of maliciousness. They don’t realize that their behavior is destructive and actually just want to keep their claws healthy. The problem? When they start to claw  at visitors, furniture, and other valuables.

 

If you want to talk with Dr. Vincent Guerrero about declawing or alternatives, call 954-609-4811.

Why Declaw a Cat?

Later, we’ll look at the pros and cons of declawing surgery, as well as a potential alternative to declawing to try first. First, why do some owners want to declaw their cat in the first place? At our mobile veterinary clinic, most clients need Dr. Vincent Guerrero D.V.M. because their cat’s behavior is causing problems for the home or the family. It’s difficult to watch as they tear up yet another sofa or make guests feel awkward.

Normally, it’s a blend of social behavior and concerns for family members and the cat themselves. With declawing options, owners hope it’s the solution that enables everybody to live in harmony once and for all.

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Declawing Options

When considering cat declawing, there are a couple of options available to pet owners. For the most part, an onychectomy is the most popular option, and this is the technical name for standard declawing. Essentially, Dr. Vincent Guerrero D.V.M. will amputate a section of the front toe while your pet is under general anesthetic. In each front toe, cats have three bones, and the last section contains the nail. By removing a section from the last bone, the nail is removed (and so too the problems you’re experiencing). The benefit of this method is that most cats recover within just a few days.

 

Alternatively, some owners will choose a Flexor Tendonectomy. During this procedure, the professional severs a small tendon in the paw. By doing this, cats no longer have the ability to extend their claws or scratch. Although the nail remains, the cat has less control over it and can’t use it in the same way as before. As owners, we need to trim the nails every so often because the cat can no longer contract them.

Pros of Cat Declawing

What are the main benefits of cat declawing?
  • You can finally put an end to the shredding and scratching of objects around the home
  • It’s a middle ground between putting up with destructive behavior and choosing to euthanize or abandon
  • Declawing protects family members, friends, and other visitors (especially those prone to infection or taking blood-thinning medication!)
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Cons of Declawing

What are the biggest drawbacks associated with cat declawing?

  • Some cats have trouble using the litter box after losing their claws
  • There’s always a chance, no matter how small, of complications during surgery (this includes infection)
  • Those who spend lots of time outside can no longer protect themselves against predators
  • A percentage of declawed cats show their frustration by biting rather than scratching
  • It’s a permanent solution with no going back
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Alternative to Declawing


While declawing is the best option for some, others are worried about the drawbacks and decide to go down an alternative route. Before making a big decision, we recommend talking to Dr. Vincent Guerrero D.V.M. at the Home Veterinary Care of Fort Lauderdale: 954-609-4811. Alternatives to declawing include:

Training - That’s right, some owners can train their cats to scratch posts and toys rather than other items around the home. As you can imagine, this is much easier with kittens than cats.

Scratching Post - If you haven’t yet tried scratching posts and toys, this is always a good starting point rather than jumping straight to declawing. Some cats will love the scratching post and immediately use this as their main scratching location (problem solved!).

Soft Claws - As long as you are patient, you could use a surgical adhesive to cover claws with vinyl caps. Your cat will soon get used to the feeling and their claws do less damage around the home.

Environment Enrichment - We mentioned that cats have natural tendencies, and this includes the need to explore and adventure. Especially when a cat is restricted to inside spaces, we need to meet this need to hunt and explore by enriching the environment with toys, cat trees, scratching posts, etc.

Nail Trimming - Next, some owners find that nail trimming works wonders. However, keep in mind that cats can sharpen even short nails, so this doesn’t always work.

Diffusers/Sprays - Finally, you could try to relieve stress and anxiety with a special pheromone diffuser or spray. In some cases, this scent relaxes a cat and prevents them from scratching so much.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Declawing

Contact our mobile veterinary clinic to discuss declawing options with the wonderful Dr. Vincent Guerrero D.V.M. If you want to remove the claws from your cat’s front paws, this is the best place to go.  Please note that Dr. Guerrero will not declaw back paws so they can still be used as a means of defense.

Will declawing affect personality or behavior?

You might find people talking about a relationship between personality and declawing, but no studies or research has ever pointed towards a distinct correlation. During the recovery period, it’s natural for them to act with caution. As long as you’re supportive and show affection, they should return to normal in no time.

Can I send them outside?

Since cats with no claws can’t defend themselves as strongly, you should think about keeping them indoors after declawing.

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