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Declawing a cat. It’s just a small pain-free operation, right?

If you answered yes, you need to read this…  Many people think they should declaw cats, either as a kitten or shortly after adoption.

“And why shouldn’t they?” you say. “Cats ruin furniture or injure others if you don’t do it. They rule the house with iron claws and cause stress for everybody. There’s nothing wrong with calling a vet and getting it done as soon as possible.”

This idea is very common and deeply ingrained in the minds of owners. We don’t blame you for thinking it’s crazy to skip it. Declawing has been done for decades without much thought about the cat.

In recent years, however, things have started to change. Veterinary clinics in Markham and Veterinary Associations around the world are discouraging or outright banning the practice.

Why? It leaves a cat vulnerable and puts them through a significant amount of pain. According to the Windsor-Essex Humane Society, it’s like “a human removing their fingertips up to the knuckles.” The College of Veterinarians of Ontario writes: “there is no medical reason to support the procedure. Veterinarians, as advocates of animal welfare… are generally not supportive of any procedure on an animal that is neither necessary …”. It is expected that declawing and other unnecessary procedures will soon be illegal in Ontario.  We certainly support this.

 

But choosing not to declaw your pet doesn’t mean stocking up on Band-Aids and saying goodbye to the couch. Cats don’t use their claws out of revenge or because they want to make you angry. Cats scratch to stretch out their paws, leave their scent or “trim” their nails, among other things.

It’s completely normal, and there are things you can to do channel this behavior.

 

scratching posts

This screen shot from Google may give you an idea how many posts there are available. Be creative an make some yourself. They can be decorative and give your home some accent.

Our veterinarian recommends using a scratching post.

How do you pick the right kind?

Choose a tall scratching post. Cats like to stretch out when they scratch, so make sure they’ll find the post appealing.

The post should be sturdy. If it falls over or sways a lot, your pet might stay away from it. Our vet clinic encourages owners to avoid scratching posts that lean against the wall, no matter how sturdy they are. They tend to be unpopular with finicky felines.

Don’t stop at one. Place a scratching post on every floor of your home. Whenever your pet has the urge to scratch, they won’t have to wander far.

Is your cat drawn to carpet or certain fabrics? Get your hands on a sample and attach it to the post to entice your furry friend. If your cat likes to scratch on a leather couch, you should wrap your scratching post with leather (may be the cover of your old couch).

How do you encourage your cat to use one?

Put the posts in convenient, easy to reach spots. It’s not a good idea to stick a post in a random, dark corner – your pet will ignore it. Think like your cat. Where do they go? Where are their favorite spots in the house? Where do they like to nap or play?

Rub catnip on the scratching post. Cats love catnip and will want to check it out.

Talk to your veterinarian about what you can do to discourage your cat from scratching furniture. Some people wrap sections of their furniture in tin foil. Others simply move their cat when they catch them in the act. In the end, it really comes down to your pet’s unique personality and behaviors.

Still not sure about declawing your cat? Our veterinary clinic would be happy to help and check this out: http://unionvet.ca/2015/05/15/how-to-clip-your-pets-nails-at-home/

 

If you found this blog informative, please share it with your friends on Facebook . Please call us (905)477-2323 for any questions or search for more articles on our website: http://unionvet.ca/resources/client-education/

 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Fear Free Certified Practitioner

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.). We pride ourselves to provide cost effective veterinary medicine and give you options for treatments. Some may think our services as cheap, but our goal is to give good value.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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