Onychectomy – or better known as Declaw – has been in the News recently and is gaining ground.
Here is the New Update on Declawing according to the CVMA:
So for those who want to know – what else can we do – here are some suggestions:
1 – TRAINING – One of our amazing Doctors has said to me “It seems to be assumed that Cats come fully trained. With Dogs there is always the expectation that training is required however that expectation is not afforded to our Feline friends.” Cats do not come fully trained, their instinct are still very present – which can mean – I have Claws that need to be used and maintained. Sadly this turns into scratching of the leather couch, potential for damage to walls due to scratching/marking their territory, and then amputation.
2 – Scratching Posts – A good post should be tall enough for your kitty to fully stretch his/her body, usually at least 28 inches tall, and it needs to be very stable. Stability is key – if it topples over onto Fluffy, they are unlikely to continue using it. Can you make them vs purchasing – ABSOLUTELY!! The reverse side of rugs provides a good, satisfyingly resistant texture for claws which can be attached to wood or even placed in a specific spot on the floor.
Encourage Fluffy to use her post by making it fun! Feed her and play with her by the post, rub catnip onto it, reward her when she uses it, and even using other toys (ie cat wand) to lead her to it and then play around it. Also keeping it in an area of family use is best in the begining that way s/he does not feel segragated from the family. Soon s/he will learn to love the post and see it as her very own!
3 – Nail Trimming – This can be done at home, a groomer, or even at your Veterinarians! Below is a link to a video on Nail Trimming and Nail maintenance.
4 – Soft Paws – These are fantastic!! Litterally a soft plastic covering for Fluffy’s nails which can be purchased in a multitude of colours including sparkles! Be patient, it can be a little trying for your first few applications (for you and Fluffy) but is an amazing option to prevent scratching and allow our Feline friends to keep their toes.
A Word About Punishment — Don’t do it! Cats do not understand physical punishment, it does not work, can be likely to make the whole issue worse, and it is wrong to hit your cat. This can make them insecure and can cause them to develop other undesirable behaviour problems. Physical punishment will break the trust that you and Fluffy have built in your relationship. Cats have excellent memories and can hold some serious grudges!
Above all – start these preventions young when possible! Kittens may be more rambunctious, and it may take longer but with persistance and positive reinforcement you can save Fluffy from an unnecessary surgery and the potential for complications later in life cause by the Amputation of her 1st “knuckle” that includes the claw.