The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Declawing The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Declawing
Showing posts with label Declawing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Declawing. Show all posts

Monday, August 9, 2021

Declawing: How This Procedure Affects Cats

To declaw, or not to declaw … that is the question.

I remember walking into the shelter to adopt my very first pet. I had looked at rescue groups, ads in the paper and had visited several shelters looking for the right cat – the one looking for me.

When I saw her, I knew. She was not exotic looking, nor a fancy breed. But she was just as beautiful. She was a black little kitten with blues eyes, amongst a sea of other black kittens in her litter. When she approached the wire door and let out one “meow,” that was it! My feline family had begun and her name was Kaya.

My Experience With Kaya

I had done everything to make sure we were a perfect match and that I could give her the best home possible. I researched cats and breeds. I looked into purchasing from a breeder or adopting from a shelter. I learned what costs would be involved in having a pet and I adapted my apartment to create a cat amusement park.

I know they say dogs are man’s best friend. But for me, it was Kaya. I couldn’t imagine life without her.

It was our first visit to the vet for her to be spayed and being away from her for a day seemed unbearable. Upon check-in, the front desk asked if I would like her declawed, too? I was told this was a common practice and would even receive a discount for performing both surgeries at once. I wanted to be the best cat guardian, and if that was recommended by the vet, then that is what I was going to do.

Oh, how little I knew! Even after treating Kaya for several paw infections later, I still believed this was just part of having a cat as a member of the family. Over my life, I have declawed three cats, something I am not proud of at all. But, also something I am not ashamed to admit because I can educate others in hopes of changing the future.

Deciding to Declaw

It took being invited to see a surgery first hand when I realized this is not declawing at all. They were surgically removing the first digits of my cat’s toes with a surgical knife – it was an amputation! That was the last cat I ever declawed. Was this really necessary? I thought to myself. Why was I doing it: To make the cat safe? To protect my furniture? I didn’t have a clear answer except, that’s what pet guardians did.

How far I’ve come! I can’t judge others for something I’ve done, but I hope to offer more information so that people can make better decisions.

Big Cats Versus Small

The Wildcat Sanctuary is home to over 100 cat residents, exotic and domestic. Seventy percent of the cats come to us four-paw declawed and we see the devastating effects. People tend to agree that declawing big cats is cruel and causes permanent damage, but it can be difficult to convince them that declawing small cats can cause the same damage – even if your cat isn’t showing the signs.

We often have to say good-bye to cats earlier than we should due to debilitating arthritis and lameness. Pain medications only help for so long. But the cats who are genetically designed to bear weight on their toes are now putting all their weight on scar tissue and exposed bone. No pain medications or soft substrate can compensate for that.

Halifax, one of the servals in our care, had several surgeries to remove bone and claw fragments, well into his teens. The regrowth would cause abscesses that had to be surgically corrected.

Even small cats like Bullet, a Bengal cat, have chronic issues. Bullet has had several radiographs on his feet. His toes have fused at a 90-degree angle because of his arthritis. His bone is right at the skin and he often shifts weight from foot to foot.

The Paw Project

We are hoping that through education, pet guardians will stop, think and ask more questions before they make the decision to declaw. That is why we support the work of the Paw Project. They are educating thousands of people and trying to make a cultural shift on how America views declawing. We also know that we cannot change everyone’s mind so therefore, we encourage people who will only open their home to a declawed cat, to adopt one from a shelter versus putting another cat through this surgery.

We know this is a controversial topic and will ruffle some feathers. Whenever you try and make change, it often does. But, we hope it will start a conversation about what is best for our feline friends.

For those that love cats enough to have one (or more) in your home, please love them for what they truly are – claws and all. Even the best dogs will chew your shoes and put wear and tear on the house. Kids color on walls, break precious items while playing. Cats are not any different. They shouldn’t be penalized for doing what comes naturally. Instead, love their wild side and give them more options that are acceptable.

Your little tiger will be happy that you love her for ALL of her! I wish I had done that for Kaya.

Credit: Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary
In-text images courtesy of Tammy Thies
Lead image source: Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Ozzy Osbourne Appears in New Ad to Discourage Cat Declawing

“Never Declaw a Cat. It’s an Amputation, Not a Manicure.”

(TMU) — Classic rock icon Ozzy Osbourne is featured in a new PETA advertisement urging people to not declaw their cats and suggesting that the procedure is like a partial amputation.

In the advertisement, Ozzy is depicted with his fingers cut off along with a tagline that reads, “Never Declaw a Cat. It’s an Amputation, Not a Manicure.”

To read more on this story, click here: Ozzy Osbourne Appears in New Ad to Discourage Cat Declawing


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tips on Trimming Your Cat's Claws

Trimming your cat's nails is the humane answer to declawing. The best time to trim your cat's nails is when your cat is  relaxed or sleepy. Never try to trim your cat’s nails right after a stressful experience or an energetic round of play.

The Humane Society of the United States says, trimming a cat's claws every few weeks is an important part of maintaining your pet's health and protects him, you, your family and visitors as well as the sofa, curtains and other furniture.

The more regularly you clip the claws the less anxious the cat will get. Always reward your cat with a treat when you are finished. Keep a barber's styptic pen or styptic powder handy in case you accidentally cut into the quick. If this should happen, apply the powder to the nail to stop the bleeding.

                 Gently press the cat's toe pads to reveal sharp nails in need of a trim.

                                   Trimming cat's nail diagram showing the quick



Friday, August 24, 2018

How to Prevent Cat Scratching

Cats were born to scratch, and they have the tools to do it with too. The best first step is to keep your cat's claws trimmed. I do not support declawing cats, but I am a big proponent of good grooming, starting with regular nail trims every few weeks or as needed. Kitties sometimes get their claws stuck in things (including your favorite furniture), so trimming your pet's nails is good for your pet as well.

Provide your cat with a good scratcher, be it a simple cardboard one, a small flat sisal board or a larger kitty tower. Some of the latter are really beautiful these days, coming in furniture-grade wood that will enhance your home's decor while making your cat happy.

Sometimes, however, cats just get in a bad habit. If your cat is set on scratching a certain favorite item, here are some of the latest types of no-scratch products that are available:

Cat-scratch prevention tape with medical-grade adhesive: Prevention tape has been around for a long time, but manufacturers are coming up with improved adhesives that really adhere to furniture and annoy cats. They usually won't harm fabrics and more delicate materials.

Cardboard scratchers combined with mazes: The simple cardboard scratcher, found even in many large grocery stores, has received a makeover. Some manufacturers have added a maze game to the bottom of it, making it doubly satisfying for your cat.

Scratchers in cat-friendly shapes: Some new scratchers are shaped like waves, bridges and even beds, providing your pet with something to climb on, explore and scratch.

Automated cat-deterrents: My favorite new gizmos are automated cat-deterrents, which have motion detectors. Once they detect that your cat is nearby, they automatically spray a harmless, nontoxic spray that most cats abhor. You just set up the device and forget about it until the spray runs out. Refills are then available. These can be used to prevent cats from urinating on carpeting and from doing other unwanted things.

Lastly, buy furniture with your cat in mind. Microfiber and some other materials are not as easy for cats to dig their claws into. And if you often hold your cat, it will no doubt prefer to knead on you. Sometimes needy cats are more kneady on furniture, so give your cat the attention it craves, and better behavior often results.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cat Declawing Ban Passes Unanimously in Denver

KUSA - The proposed bill that would ban declawing cats passed unanimously on Monday during a Denver City Council meeting. 

Declawing, or onychectomy, is the operation to remove an animal's claws surgically. All or most of the last bone of each of the ten front toes is removed, and tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed.

To read more on this story, click here: Cat Declawing Ban Passes Unanimously in Denver

You may also be interested in reading: Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black, to Pass a Bill That Would Make it Illegal to Declaw Your Cat, Unless it Was Deemed Medically Necessary


Monday, November 13, 2017

Tips on Trimming Your Cat's Claws

Trimming your cat's nails is the humane answer to declawing. The best time to trim your cat's nails is when your cat is  relaxed or sleepy. Never try to trim your cat’s nails right after a stressful experience or an energetic round of play.

The Humane Society of the United States says, trimming a cat's claws every few weeks is an important part of maintaining your pet's health and protects him, you, your family and visitors as well as the sofa, curtains and other furniture.

The more regularly you clip the claws the less anxious the cat will get. Always reward your cat with a treat when you are finished. Keep a barber's styptic pen or styptic powder handy in case you accidentally cut into the quick. If this should happen, apply the powder to the nail to stop the bleeding.

Gently press the cat's toe pads to reveal sharp nails in need of a trim.

                       Trimming cat's nail diagram showing the quick



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Declawed Cat Grows Painful, Spiraling Nail After Owner Amputates Cat’s Knuckles

Paws have claws. That’s one of nature’s laws.

But some cat owners believe that they should get their cats “declawed,” or to have their fingers and toes cut off at the last knuckle. To others, this declawing process is tantamount to mutilation.

Veterinarian Rachel Fuentes posted on Facebook the gruesome aftermath of a cat that had undergone a declawing procedure where part of the nail tissue was left accidentally. Rarely, viable nail tissue gets left behind, and as the nail cannot grow out and become worn down, it can grow in a spiral embedded in the flesh. In this case, the nail burst open the cat’s wrist in a mass almost as big as a ping-pong ball.

To read more on this story, click here: Declawed Cat Grows Painful, Spiraling Nail After Owner Amputates Cat’s Knuckles


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black, to Pass a Bill That Would Make it Illegal to Declaw Your Cat, Unless it Was Deemed Medically Necessary

A bill under consideration by the Denver City Council would make it illegal to declaw your cat, unless it was deemed medically necessary. Councilwoman Kendra Black, the bill’s sponsor, called it a “cruel practice” in an email to fellow council members asking for their support.

“Most people don’t think about it,” Black said in an interview. “If you hear the term declawing, you might think it’s a simple procedure. It’s been sold to pet owners as, ‘Oh, we can spay or neuter your cat, and declaw them at the same time,’ and they don’t understand how awful it is. It’s like chopping off the last knuckle of your finger.”

Professional veterinary societies tend to discourage the practice but have opposed efforts to legislate it based on the idea that more cats will be abandoned for problem scratching if declawing is not an option — though that has not been the experience of California cities that have banned the procedure.

Black decided to sponsor the bill at the request of Dr. Aubrey Lavizzo, a Denver veterinarian who is active in the campaign to ban declawing as the Colorado director, Eastern Slopes, for the Paw Project. They became friends after serving together on the social consumption advisory committee, and he told Black about his concerns about cat declawing.

The bill is very short: It says that it shall be unlawful for any person to declaw a cat, and if you are going to declaw a cat, it must be done by a licensed veterinarian using anesthesia and done for a medically necessary reason, such as pain, infection, injury or a congenital deformity that could cause pain or injury.

Black said that if the bill were to pass, a committee would draft rules around enforcement, and the penalty likely would be a fine.

I asked Black if she has cats. She does not.

“I have a dog,” she said. “Who digs holes in my backyard, and I would never cut off his toes because he digs holes in my backyard.”

The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association sees some reasons for declawing.

An FAQ on the association’s website includes a question on cat declawing. The association discourages the practice and treats it as a last resort solution to problem scratching.

Both the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association state that de-clawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a health risk for its owner(s).

The following points should be considered before discussing de-clawing with your veterinarian:

Scratching is a normal feline behavior, is a means for cats to mark their territory both visually and with scent, and is used for claw conditioning (“husk” removal) and stretching activity.

Owners must provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior.

However, the association allows there are instances where declawing is better than the alternative.

Scientific data do indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanatized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. Where scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, surgical onychectomy may be considered.

There is no scientific evidence that de-clawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of de-clawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.

However, the American Association of Feline Practitioners does not support declawing. Their position statement opens with, “The American Association of Feline Practitioners strongly opposes declawing (onychectomy) as an elective procedure. It is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with alternatives to declawing.”

Would a declawing ban actually lead to more cats being given up?

That wasn’t the experience of the city of Los Angeles, its general manager Brenda Barnette said in a letter to Black. Los Angeles has had a ban on declawing for five years now, and the number of cats relinquished actually has actually gone down pretty dramatically in that time.

The AAFP says the scientific literature does not support the idea that declawing prevents relinquishment or abandonment.

“There is no current peer-reviewed data definitively proving that cats with destructive behavior are more likely to be euthanized, abandoned or relinquished. The decision of whether or not to declaw should not be impacted by these considerations,” the association says.

Lavizzo didn’t learn how to declaw cats when he went to vet school in the 1960s, and he identifies the 1980s as the time period when the procedure became more common. The few studies out there that attempt to count the number of declawed cats find that between a fifth and a quarter of American cats are declawed.

Lavizzo performed the procedure for years after he went into practice with another vet who already did it, but as he learned more about animal pain, he decided to stop.

Lavizzo strongly disputes the assertion that declawing doesn’t affect cat behavior. (I reached out to the state veterinary association, but no one was available Friday. I’ll update this post when I hear back from them.) Cats who are declawed experience significant pain and related health problems after the procedure, Lavizzo said, but it’s not always recognized because cats don’t express pain in ways that we can see.

Why is it so bad? Unlike the human fingernail, which just sits on top of your finger, a cat’s claw grows from its last knuckle, the third phalanx. Declawing procedures cut through the bone, but Lavizzo said the most common techniques are not very precise and often leave bone fragments along with injured bone tissue inside the cat’s paw. The procedure also severs tendons and prevents cats from walking on their toes as they should, leading to problems with gait and balance and causing arthritis and back pain.

Cats that are declawed can be more prone to biting, he said, and to not using the litter box because scratching in the litter hurts them. These behaviors can also lead to cats being abandoned or relinquished.

Lavizzo believes declawing continues because it’s a profitable procedure for vets, and he doesn’t think the justifications actually support the practice.

“How can you justify cruelty that way?” he asked. “That’s where we need to stop the conversation.”

Next steps:

The Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee meets at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 25 to discuss the bill. The committee meets in Room 391 of the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St.

There will be 15 minutes of public comment, at two minutes per speaker.

If the bill advances out of committee, it will be voted on by the full council.


Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Keep Your Cat From Scratching Furniture – and Why You Should Avoid Declawing at All Costs

As much as we adore them, it can drive cat lovers crazy to see their beloved feline claw at their furniture. Cats are capable of precious snuggles, amazing acrobatics, and hilarious antics but watching furniture get torn to shreds is not fun! 

Of course, clawing is a completely natural behavior for cats. According to PAWS, cats will scratch at furniture, carpet, and other objects for numerous reasons, such as to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, to mark their territory by leaving a visual mark and scent (cats have scent glands on their paws), as well as to stretch their bodies and paws. Unfortunately, for some inexperienced guardians, a cat’s need to claw might drive them to return or abandon their new feline. 

70 percent of shelter cats end up being killed including strays, feral and surrendered cats, so it’s important we keep cats happy and safe in their home by any means possible, and keep them out of shelters. So, if your cat is scratching at furniture and other items in the house, here are some tips for how to deter them.

To read more on this story, click here: How to Keep Your Cat From Scratching Furniture – and Why You Should Avoid Declawing at All Costs


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Some People Remove Their Cats’ Claws: One State May Soon Call That Animal Cruelty

In 1952, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a letter to the editor from a Chicago veterinarian named A.G. Misener, who described a surgery his practice had been performing on cats: the removal of their front claws.

“This is a relatively simple surgical procedure,” Misener wrote, “and, we believe, a practical measure.”

That letter was the genesis of what Minnesota veterinarian Ron Gaskin, who considers himself a historian of cat declawing, calls a “Chicago urban legend” — a surgery that was dreamed up in one clinic and ended up being adopted by practitioners across the United States.

“It was never investigated for long-term safety, or whether it generated pain later on in life,” Gaskin said of declawing’s origins. “It was never researched that way.”

To read more on this story, click here: Some People Remove Their Cats Claws One State May Soon Call That Animal Cruelty


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Is Declawing Cat an Amputation? Vet Weighs In

Q: The veterinarian I just saw refuses to declaw my cats. She says it’s considered unethical, but I’ve had cats forever and never got this memo. I think it’s unconscionable to leave cats outdoors, and that’s what would happen if I didn’t declaw my cats. (My hands and my furniture require it!) Is this a real rule among veterinarians or is my vet being dramatic?

A: Here’s the memo: The procedure we commonly refer to as a “declaw” is one an increasing number of veterinarians refuse to perform. Many of us consider it unethical and immoral to amputate the first knuckle of a cat’s digits just because it makes our lives easier and keeps our furniture healthy.

I mean, if destruction and injury were the concern, why would we stop at the claws? Why not take out all their teeth, too?

Clearly, neither de-teething or declawing cats offers a realistic solution to the problem of cats being cats. From time to time they will still behave in ways that are inconvenient to us. But that doesn’t mean we have to suffer unduly.

We can all learn to manage our cats’ unwanted behaviors by understanding how and why they use their claws, teeth and other potentially problematic parts. In the case of claws, here are some key points to keep in mind:

1: Cats who have their claws removed are still capable of inflicting damage to humans and their property. Further, veterinary behaviorists recognize that declawed cats may use their teeth more often during aggressive encounters (with cats and humans). And teeth typically inflict more damage than claws do.

To read more on this story, click here: Is Declawing Cat an Amputation? Vet Weighs In


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

If This Law Is Passed: Declawing Your Cat Will Be Considered a Crime of Animal Cruelty Punishable by Law

If you love cats you know how horrible and inhumane it is to declaw them, yet some people still insist on having the cruel treatment done to their cats to “save their furniture” even though there are many other ways to deal with the issue. A south New Jersey Assemblyman named Troy Singleton is sponsoring legislation that would make “onychetomy” which is the medical term for “declawing” your cat a crime of animal cruelty punishable by law.

Both the cat owners seeking out the procedure and the veterinarians who perform it would face fines of up to $2,000 and 6 months in jail.

Declawing is not a suitable replacement for proper training of your cats, it’s inhumane and cruel and it’s nice to see lawmakers are finally willing to take the steps to make this crime of animal cruelty illegal. Let’s hope this movement spreads across the country.

If the law passes New Jersey would be the first state in the U.S. to outlaw declawing. A few cities in California have banned declawing, but it’s not a crime punishable with jail time and fines.

Declawing may seem like a quick and simple solution to your problems but it’s not the humane solution, so if you or someone you know is considering declawing a cat, please get educated on the procedure and how cruel it really is.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is Your Cat Clawing Up Your Beautiful Furniture?

New furniture already destroyed by your cat? If this scenario sounds familiar, there are things you can do to limit the damage.

Consistent Training

First, even if your cat is an adult when it joins your home, you can still train it not to destroy your best furniture. The key is to start training from day one and be consistent. Discouraging the cat sometimes and turning a blind eye at other times only teaches the cat to keep clawing until you cause a fuss.

Understand that cats need to scratch to keep their claws from growing too long. You cannot discourage this impulse completely, but keeping claws trimmed will reduce the need. Buy a claw clipper at the pet shop and make sure you don’t cut close to the quick.

Your cat may not let you do a whole paw at once, so keep the clippers in your pocket and get a nail or two at a time, and be sure to reward your cat with praise and petting afterwards. If your cat likes to be brushed, follow claw clipping with a good brushing as a reward.

They need to do it

Cats also claw furniture because the stretching, flexing and resistance involved feel good. Since most of our homes don’t have mice to chase, domesticated cats have few opportunities to get natural exercise. Playing with your cat is the only way to ensure it gets the activity it needs. A daily play session or two will keep it from clawing out of boredom.

Because the need to scratch cannot be completely suppressed, you must provide the cat with something it enjoys scratching. This, as most cat owners learn, is seldom the expensive three-tiered gym that takes up most of a room. It is your job to keep trying items until you find something to the cat’s liking.

The inexpensive scratching box of corrugated cardboard is appealing to most cats, but preferred items also include a split log with the bark on and facing up, an old wicker basket, a coir doormat, a discarded leather purse or an old running shoe. Rubbing catnip on the item increases its appeal.

Chairs & Such

For living room chairs, opt for upholstered swivel rockers. Cats don’t like sharpening their claws on things that don’t provide resistance for them to pull against.

To safeguard the couch and other good furniture, invest in attractive, good quality throws and drape them over favorite scratching spots. The cat won’t scratch the throw because it isn’t anchored down, and throws can be quickly whisked aside when company comes.

Make sure your cat has a comfortable place to sleep. Cats often take over furniture because they have no spot of their own. Once a cat adds a piece of furniture to its territory, clawing is likely to follow.

Finally, don’t overlook the power of scent. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and mark furniture with their scent to let others know it’s theirs. You can win the battle for territory by misting your furniture with a fabric-freshening spray or buying a cat-repelling product at a pet store. Smells cats particularly dislike include citrus, mint and pine.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

New York State May Be First to Outlaw Declawing of All Cats

New York could be the first state to issue a statewide ban on declawing of domestic, exotic and wild cats.

The law is being pushed by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who's an advocate fighting against the mistreatment of animals.

To read more on this story, click here: New York State May Be First to Outlaw Declawing of All Cats FOLLOW US!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Did You Know that You Can Find the Perfect Cat at the Shelter?

There are advantages to adopting from a shelter, and saving money is one of them. Adult pets are usually spayed or neutered before they’re made available for adoption, and that’s a savings right there. The cats you see at the shelter have also usually been vet-checked, vaccinated and, in some shelters, evaluated for temperament before you meet them. In many shelters you’ll find staff members and volunteers who are familiar with each cat’s personality and can tell you which are lap-sitters, which are playful, which like kids and dogs, and which would prefer adults.

Another plus to the shelter is the variety of cats you can find: Longhaired, shorthaired, tabby, calico and sometimes even pedigreed cats, especially popular breeds such as Siamese and Persian. Yes, that’s right: If you’ve always dreamed of having a chatty Siamese, you may be able to find one in a shelter, especially if you broaden your search by using Petfinder.

Want more reasons to adopt from a shelter? Many shelter cats are already familiar with home life, because that's where they came from, often ending up in a shelter through no fault of their own, especially in this economy. They may be cool around kids or dogs, and they probably know the litter box routine. I’m no fan of declawing, but if you believe you must have a cat who is declawed, there’s a good chance you can find one at a shelter. I’d rather see you adopt a cat who has already been declawed if that's what you want, and they're out there!

Before you go to the shelter, get a picture in your head of what you want in a cat. Lap-sitter or lively? Outgoing or introverted? Chatty or quiet? Some shelters start with adoption counseling first, then introduce you to the cats who are the best matches. Other shelters give you a chance to look the cats over and visit with them first, then help you choose the one cat who’s right for you.

Choosing on Your Own
At a shelter that doesn’t offer adoption counseling? Look beyond the cute and think of the home you’re providing. If yours is a three-ring circus with boisterous children and lots of other animals, you’ll want to consider those bold, friendly cats who seem to be handling the shelter environment well. If you have a quiet home, look to the shy cats who may just need time to relax and look around in a new home. That cat can also be a good choice if you enjoy the feline presence but would prefer not to have one who’s “in your face” all the time.

Most important, look past appearance and "see" with your heart what's really there. Behind the plain-vanilla exterior of a cat who has been overlooked by many, you may discover a sweet pet with the perfect personality. Those cats are the keepers, no matter what they look like.

Which leads me to the best reason of all for adopting a cat from a shelter: that warm, fuzzy, tingly glow you get from giving a home to a cat in need and hearing him purr as he settles into his new digs,  after you get your veterinarian to check him over, of course!