Should I Declaw My Cat?

Q

Should I declaw my cat?

A

All cats scratch with their front feet. Scratching not only serves to mark territory and relieve stress, but also helps remove old, overgrown nail material.  It is very unlikely your cat can be taught not to scratch, however, your cat can be taught what and where to scratch.

Cats can be encouraged to exercise those claws at a scratching station. Be sure the station incorporates materials including carpeting, sisal, cardboard or wood. Position the scratching station vertically or horizontally; against a wall or in the middle of the room. Take cues from objects which your cat is choosing. Consider placing the scratching station close to the inappropriate object then slowly moving it to where you would prefer to have it. Also, a sprinkle of catnip may serve to attract your cat to the scratching station.

Discourage scratching of inappropriate objects with double sided tape or tin foil. Many fabrics can be dusted with baby powder to discourage scratching. When the cat scratches he gets a puff of baby powder in his face. Also, any time a cat is caught in the act, loud noises or squirt bottles can be used.

If you are going to declaw your cat, it is best to do it when it is young. Older cats seem to experience more discomfort and heal more slowly after surgery. Be sure to discuss pain control options with your our doctors and be prepared to “baby” your pet for a while. Jumping down on those tender toes can be quite a surprise! If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call Hudson Veterinary Hospital at (330)650-2929.