Declaw me, Declaw Me Not…

Our first kitty was declawed—not by us, mind you, he came to us that way—and I have to admit that, in my ignorance, I kind of liked it. Nothing was ever torn up in our house, and our arms never marred with bright red scratches from a cat frenzy episode, etc. When I learned more about what is involved with a “declawing procedure,” however, I felt nothing but guilt in having felt that way; I pictured his dainty white paws bloodied and bandaged, no doubt wondering what he had done to deserve having his fingertips cut off.

Declawing a cat involves cutting off the top segment of the cats finger/toe tips at the knuckle (www.catscratching.com has the gory details). Cats who are subjected to this not only face a severely painful recovery, but also often develop behavioral issues once they do; having lost their main line of defense, many become “skiddish” and fearful of people, and also resort to biting (not sure about you, but I’d rather face a claw scratch than a bad cat bite, which can lead to dangerous infections).

Cats are very bright animals, and really can be trained to scratch where they are expected to (check out www.catscratching.com for some great ideas); our cat loves to give her scratching posts a good go, and has not ever strayed from them. They can also be trained to allow you to clip those needle-sharp tips off of their claws, safely and painlessly, every week so if they happen to “miss” their “scratch spot,” they do little harm (visit http://www.catscratching.com/htmls/article.htm for tips on how to do this safely). If all fails on these fronts, however, you can even purchase “claw covers” that can be safely glued on to kitty’s razor blade claws every few weeks; they even come in a variety of colors, by the way, for those fashion forward kitties! Check them out at: http://litterboy.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=487&category=0&gclid=CPS8oqmojKUCFRZy5QodpV4rOQ.

These take a little effort, yes, but you have to agree that they are a far better alternative to torturing your feline friend who’s “packing” with a horrid declawing procedure. So do a little research on how to best control your kitty’s natural scratching instinct, and spread the word to any friends or acquaintances who are considering declawing. Let them know that it’s just not an option.

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