The first thing I have to mention is how important claws are to the well being of cats everywhere. What fingers are to humans are what claws are to cats. They literally need their claws in order to do everything… from grabbing their prey, defending themselves, for balance and mobility, to climb things, and what have you… cats absolutely need their claws to attend to their daily obligations. Claws and scratching are the essences of being a cat!
This is why it is so important to understand that declawing your cat is an absolutely inhumane thing to do. How would you feel if you didn’t have your fingers? Your quality of life would decrease dramatically! It’s really hard to use nubs to grab things. It is a life-altering procedure that has many negative effects on your cat. Actually… there really isn’t any reason to declaw your cat unless your cat has some sort of medical issue.
I have personally volunteered at veterinarian clinics where we had cats come who literally had necrosis of their limbs. This meant that parts of their paws, or their entire leg, tails, and other appendages somehow got cut off from blood circulation. This results in the limbs to decay while being still attached to the cat.
What Is Declawing?
Let’s first go over what the declawing procedure is and why it is so looked down upon. Too often do people just assume that declawing a cat is a simple surgical procedure that removes the cat’s claws. Many people believe it’s similar to having your own nails trimmed. This is far from the truth and what you learn may shock you.
The declawing procedure amputates the cat’s bones in order to entirely remove the claws in order to prevent them from growing back. There are lots of muscles, nerves, and tendons that are severed in this surgical process. It’s very painful and severely impacts the feline’s life. It’s similar to getting your own fingers removed or cutting the ends of each of your fingers off.
Many new cat owners are unaware of this and declaw their cats without understanding exactly what it does to their cats. There are many who don’t understand that scratching is a very normal and natural behavior for cats. It’s something that should actually be encouraged! They aren’t doing it just to destroy your furniture and other belongings. They do it in order to stretch their muscles, sharpen their claws, remove dead husks from their claws, and various other reasons. Scratching is good for them!
When a cat is unable to do these things, she becomes very upset and tends to have a lot of pent-up energy. This stresses the cat out dearly and could result in bad-tempered felines. Also, cats who have been declawed are more prone to bite in order to defend themselves. Biting is usually left as a last resort measure. I must emphasize that the declawing surgical procedure should only be considered if there is a health-related issue that requires it.
If your cat is properly trained to use a scratching post or cat tree and if you trim their nails with a clipper, unwanted scratching and destruction can be prevented. Guaranteed. As cats grow and mature, they tend to be very good with scratching on only what they are supposed to and with being mindful of their boundaries. However, it is up to you as the human to lovingly train and guide your cat towards the right direction.
The Physical And Emotional Effects of Declawing
If the declawing procedure wasn’t bad enough, the consequences of this surgical procedure have tremendous implications for your cat’s quality of life. One of the most prominent negative effects is the gradual weakening of muscles of the legs, shoulders, and back. If your cat is unable to use her claws to stretch and tone her muscles, this will cause muscle atrophy to occur, or muscles wasting away.
Your cat will never be able to walk normally again and her balance will be forever impaired. This is because the cat will have to place more weight on her back legs as her front legs are no longer able to do so as easily and effectively. Forever gone is the graceful agility and poise that was her birthright.
Declawing a cat also puts the cat in a constant state of stress as their body is essentially forever changed. The muscles and nerves along the back are altered which also ends up affecting many of the declawed cat’s other organs. Unfortunate as it is, declawed cats are more prone to disease and illnesses as their bodies simply can’t handle all the stress.
As mentioned before, declawed cats also have a tendency to bite as their first line of defense, claws and scratching, have been taken away from them. Since declawed cats are more tense, nervous, and stressed, they could be easily agitated and begin biting in order to vent their frustrations. Biting is usually last-resort and cats tend to not want to bite until it is absolutely needed. However, with the absence of their claws, these cats will have to bite.
Cats are very communicative creatures and use their paws and claws to let you know their boundaries. If you are petting them the wrong way or perhaps you did something to offend them, they may give you a little slap with their paws. If you keep bothering them, they will begin to slap you with a little bit of claw out. Then they may scratch you a bit. Ultimately they will bite you if you don’t knock it off. Essentially, a cat will let you know that what you are doing is bothering them. Biting is only used as a final message so if a cat bites you, you may kind of deserve it.
Enriching Your Cat’s Life
Scratching is a completely normal and natural behavior for a cat. They need to scratch. It is their instincts. Once we understand that a cat has an innate desire to scratch and stretch their muscles, we now know that it is essential for a cat to have things to scratch on and destroy. If you want, you can read my article on why cat’s scratch.
A well designed and sturdy cat tree is a necessity for any home to help give cats the places they need to scratch, rest, and satiate their need to be in high places. Cat scratching posts that are placed in strategic places will also deter your feline furball from scratching on anything you don’t want. If need be, you could always put some double sided sticky tape to prevent your cat from scratching curtains and your furniture. Cats do not like the sticky feeling on their paws.
Be sure to read up on my article about the Best Cat Trees of 2018 for your feline friend!
And remember, declawing should never be an option for your cat unless there is some sort of medical reason for doing so. Declawing literally strips the cat of its ability to be a cat. It’s a very cruel medical procedure. But since you took the time to read and learn all about the scratching behavior, you can now spread this knowledge to all your friends and families. There are some truly caring and devoted cat owners out there who don’t know the truth about the declawing procedure. I wish you and your feline companions all the best! Be safe!