Declawing

WHAT IS DECLAWING?
Declawing is the amputation of the last phalanx of the fingers. This surgery should be performed under general anesthesia and the management of pain after the operation is paramount.

DO I REALLY NEED TO DECLAW MY CAT?
The answer is no. It is not an operation that benefits the health of the animal in the long term, unlike sterilization which it is strongly recommended. It is a personal decision that pet owners should only make once they have been properly informed of the risks involved.

WHAT OTHER OPTION IS THERE TO KEEP MY CAT FROM CLAWING THINGS IN A DESTRUCTIVE MANNER?
There are several nonsurgical alternatives you can use to teach your cat to express his natural clawing behavior in the right places.

  • Offer your cat some rope or carpet scratching poles. They must be stable, horizontal or vertical, and taller than the cat for it to be effective. You can use catnip to help attract your cat to the poles.

If the pet is an adult and has already become accustomed to scratching your sofa, the first step should be to place the scratch post next to your sofa. As soon your cat uses the pole, reward him with a treat. Gradually, you can move the scratching pole to the room you prefer.

If your cat tries to scratch at another place, immediately bring him to the scratching post. You can even place his paws on the pole to show him that he can express himself in this location.

  • Silicone claw covers stick easily to your cat’s claws and last from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on his activities and tolerance. These are available in many colors and styles.
  • Trimming the claws regularly is the first step.  Ask your animal health technician to show you how to proceed. You will see that by cutting the pointed ends every 2-3 weeks, your cat’s claws will become less destructive.
Cat with claws
A cat scratching a rope post
IF I WANT TO DECLAW MY CAT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Discuss the surgery with your veterinarian. Any declawing should be performed with a surgical laser for several reasons:

  • There is little to no bleeding and also less trauma to the tissue when using a laser so bandaging of the paws after the surgery unnecessary. There is less postoperative pain and recovery is more rapid compared to the standard technique of using a scalpel blade.
  • A combination of postoperative drugs (anti-inflammatory and anti-pain) is also prescribed to control the pain as much as possible. A laser therapy session is performed as well in order to reduce pain and speed up rehabilitation.
  • Hôpital Vétérinaire Lachute performs declawing surgeries; however, we only use cutting-edge technology in combination with the best pain medications available.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH DECLAWING?

  • Phantom pain, chronic lameness
  • Infection, bleeding
  • Uncleanliness
  • Isolation, anxiety
  • Biting, aggression

WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE AGE FOR DECLAWING?
Between the ages of 3-6 months is preferable, since the animal weighs less and convalescence is less painful and more rapid.

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