TO DECLAW or NOT to DECLAW, THAT IS THE QUESTION.........In my opinion,, it's not that difficult to answer.
Well, 1st I'd like to express that I am against declawing, even though it doesn't interfere will normal daily activities,in MOST cases, and I'll tell you why.
Cats NEED to scratch. It's natural feline behavior, not to mention exercises back,shoulder and leg muscles and even sheds the dead outer layer of skin on the claws. It's also a way of communication and a way to defend themselves should that occassion arise. Can prevent them to becomming prey to other creatures as dogs,raccoons,coyotes, other cats and even humans! All this and I haven't even mentioned the pain it causes them.
Ok, aside from that, it can be extremely frustrating when your new curtains or sofa is being shredded by your little friend.
Another term for declawing is,"onychectomy" and as I mentioned, it is a painful procedure and on normal situations usually takes a week to 10 days for recovery during which time antibiotics should be given as well as pain reliever. Some vets bandage up the feet while others choose not to. From experience, the cats waking from anesthesia are not only in distress/pain from surgery but also don't like these huge padded bandages on their feet and most will begin to shake their legs and bite in attempt to free their paws from these bandages which usually results in what I would class as a small blood bath. I walked in many times to find the felines covered in their blood the walls of the kennels full of blood....a major mess.After the bandages are off the cats I suspect are not only in pain ( which is obvious) but confused. Often they will start licking and chewing at feet.
many veterinarians will usually suggest removing only the claws on the front feet, however in this day and age, there are a few vets who now refuse to declaw at all. Contrary to what I find most people believe, declawing is not just a basic removal of the nails only. truth be known, declawing actually consists of amputation of the end toe joint.
So, what to do????
Well, you could start off by one or 2 or more scratching posts in your home near the furniture that your cats enjoys to scratch on. Spray cat repellant if you need to onto the sofa itself to deter them onto their post(or unpleasant smelling odor, vinegar or perfume can work too) and an idea, would be sprinkle a small amt of catnip onto the post. Make sure the post is strong and sturdy and should be failry tall for your cat. You can show your cat how to scratch at the post if he appears uninterested or confused by this new contraption by simply extending his/her claws onto the post to scratch. And always praise him or her when they use it!
Artificial nails are also available from your local vet now too. They are like little plastic caps that need replacing as they break or fall off. They are softer and do little if any damage at all.***********PLEASE NOTE.......IF YOU CHOOSE THIS OPTION, YOUR CAT SHOULD REMAIN INDOORS AT ALL TIMES AS HE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROTECT HIMSELF.*********
A simple alternative and one I rec. is a pedicure. We would trim nails everyday at the hospital which can be very effective as it's the hook of the nails that usually create the damage....these are snipped off during the pedicure. Doing this often every week or 2 will not only keep the nails short but your cat will also get used to this procedure and be quite comfortable having it done on a regular basis.. Again, rewards for him can actually make him look forward to the task!
Declawed cats NEED to be kept INDOORS!!! It is not safe for them anymore outside and if the choice is made to declaw, YOU are responsible for protecting him/her. Try other methods before opting to declaw.
Have a great evening!