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Declawing - The Unbiased Truth

Mar 19, 2019 0 comments
Declawing - The Unbiased Truth

Get A Declawed Cat

The first point I'd like to make is, if you want a declawed cat, by all means, please GET ONE! There are plenty of them waiting to be adopted in shelters, rescues and on Facebook. Tens if not hundreds of thousands.

Adopting an already declawed cat is a viable and much more humane option than subjecting yet another fine feline to this risky, extraordinarily painful and disfiguring surgical amputation.

Please consider this approach if you feel as if you must have declawed cats. The vast majority of declawed cats in shelters are free of aggression and/or litterbox issues. Declawed cats that display these behaviors have either already been put down or are being helped by a chronic pain management protocol.

Instead of getting a cat declawed, get a declawed cat. It's 2 good deeds rolled up in 1. You'll be saving 2 cats AND a nice piece of change ($$$).

My History

Before owning a cat I as well was ignorant of what this procedure was. I was also totally unaware of the ramifications and side effects. So I started from equanimity. Then I got a cat.

Since I had no scratching problem with my cat, I had no reason to give declawing any thought. But for things I'd heard throughout my life, I was totally in the dark. Basically, I knew it was possible and that the cat would thenceforth have to be protected from the outside. I was also aware that there were 2 methods: Removal of the claws (onychectomy) or making them unable to extend (tendonectomy).

I only sensed it was some sort of issue when I made a joke about declawing my own cat to a friend of mine who was a cat-lover. He looked horrified and told me it was equivalent to amputating your fingers at the last knuckle. It didn't sound good but I was joking, after all.

Since then I've learned the ugly truth. But when I decided to write this article, I knew I had to take a look at the other side. I had to try to find a valid, concrete reason for this surgery to benefit either human or cat. This post contains my conclusions, supported by facts and facts only.

My Findings

While researching this article, I hunted down the major reasons given for declawing cats. I will cover results, consequences, and alternatives in the most structurally organized and logical way I possibly can.

In this post, I will examine both of the main reasons given for declawing 1x1, to keep it simple, cut and dried and unemotional.

It does not make sense to cover the 2nd, less invasive surgery (tendonectomy). Only because after this procedure, there are usually so many issues presented with the subsequent care and maintenance required that eventually these cats also end up surgically declawed.

Why to Declaw?

Reason #1

When queried most owners cited a desire to preserve their property. Furniture, drapes, carpets and the like.

The problem with this reason and hence its faultiness is that most cats are declawed as kittens. It's safer and generally produces a better outcome with fewer complications.

Logically speaking, one can't predict whether a kitten will develop problem scratching or not. How unfair is it to not even have a chance to develop as a happy, healthy and whole cat before being stripped of your 1st line of defense?

In fact, well over 90% of cats will never become problematic scratchers. I daresay after having 2 cats, both from the age of 6mos., that cats are quite easily trainable. Never once have I had an item of furniture destroyed. Laziness should not be a strong enough reason to risk the life and health of a creature you claim to love and promise to protect.

Even if you can't be present most days, the money required to declaw would be better spent on a pet sitter who can care for your cat as well as train them properly when you're not around. Even if you have to confine the cat during your absences, the outcome would be preferable to being declawed.

Studies have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, the long term repercussions far outweigh the benefit. Think of it like this, if you'd hate having your furniture shredded by claws, how much more would you appreciate having it peed and pooped on by a cat that has developed litterbox aversion due to having been declawed?

While many pro-declaw vets claim that declawing keeps cats in their homes, the facts tell a different story. In locations that have banned declawing, the rate of cats being surrendered due to aggression and litterbox aversion greatly decreased across the board. I invite you to dig deeper and verify my claims.

Reason #2

Many cats are declawed due to having an owner or immediate family member who has a compromised immune system for one reason or another. They are at a greater risk to become ill from a cat's scratch.

And while on its face, this would appear to be a very valid reason, again the evidence is to the contrary.

Yes, cat-scratch fever is a thing. It's a bacterial infection from the bacteria Bartonella heneselae that can be caused by a cat's scratch, a splinter or a thorn. But only apx. 40% of cats carry it.

It affects the lymph glands and causes inflammation at the site of the injury. And it can be quite dangerous to a person with an immunodeficiency.

Unfortunately, a cat that's been declawed is far more likely to develop aggression issues. And an aggressive cat absent its claws will bite. Hard. It's a known fact that the mouth of a cat harbors way more bacteria than its claws or than a dog's mouth even. A cat's mouth also has this (cat-scratch fever) bacteria and then some.

Some of the bacteria in a cat's mouth are a good bit more dangerous than that which may be on its claws. One such bacteria is called Pasteurella multocida.

A cat's bite is so dangerous in fact, that a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that 1 in 3 healthy people bitten by a cat ends up hospitalized.

In short, a bite from a cat is much more serious and dangerous than a scratch. And when a cat is declawed, a bite is far more likely to happen. Thus increasing the danger to an immunocompromised person as opposed to lessening it.

Why NOT to Declaw

Consequences for Cats

In the course of researching this post, I discovered that upwards of 40% of all declaw surgeries are performed incorrectly. Given that fact alone, this would be my fear for my cat.

To correctly perform the surgery, it is my understanding that after the removal of the distal phalanx, the surgeon must remove an additional portion of the bone that is left behind and cannot be excavated with a single slice. If this final bone fragment is not removed, the cat's claw can regrow inside of the healed incision, under the skin. In almost half of the cats studied, this crucial step was omitted.

Needless to say, claws regrowing beneath the skin would be excruciatingly painful for the cat. This is only 1 of the reasons why cats can be rendered lame as a result of being declawed.

Another reason is altered gait. Cats walk on their toes. If you amputate the toes, the cat must then walk on a part of the foot that was not intended to be walked upon. This causes arthritis amongst a host of other conditions that would not otherwise befall them. The pain can become so great, declawed cats have actually been observed walking on their elbows.

Conclusion

Dear Readers: I must end this post now. The research has left me emotionally drained and fatigued. I began writing it in intervals a bit over a month ago. I end begging that if you are thinking about declawing your cat, don't.

Had you done the research I have in order to write this post, I promise that you'd take it off the table forever. Therefore I encourage you to fact check everything I have written. There is much more damage caused by declawing that I haven't even gotten to yet. At this point, it is just too upsetting for me to continue writing about this topic.

In the end, animals in this country are considered chattel, mere property. And so, because this debilitating mutilation of cats has not yet been outlawed, it is an option.

Any vet performing this surgery in over 41 other countries would be subject to jail time and heavily fined. That alone should tell you a lot. Regardless of what some vets may say to line their own pockets. Declawing is not something you would consider if you truly love your cat and see it as more than a piece of property to alter for your convenience.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. GG.


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