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Declawing Cruel for Cats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (ASPCA) to Animals is against declawing pets and equates it to an amputation. Claws are necessary and important for a cat's well being. Providing appropriate places for cats to scratch and keeping claws clipped or blunt will help prevent furniture damage. Below is the ASPCA article on declawing (

Cat Health Problems: Declawing (

Your cat needs her claws for just about everything she does. When she plays, her claws grip the toy while she punches it with her hind feet. Her claws provide proper balance and secure footing when she climbs, and are her main means of defense should she be attacked.

Your cat also uses her claws for scratching; this allows her to mark her territory. It also exercises her muscles. You've also probably seen her kneading her paws in contentment-this harkens back to her kitten days, when such action stimulated the flow of milk when she was nursing.

If these ten tiny tools are so important to a cat, why do some owners have their animal companion's claws removed? Declawing is expensive, painful surgery. Think of it as having the first joint of all your fingers removed. And because their first line of defense has been taken away, declawed cats may resort to biting more often than their intact counterparts. Some veterinarians around the country refuse to perform declawing surgery.

If your cat is scratching where she shouldn't, the problem is behavioral, not medical. You may want to consult an animal behavior professional, but ASPCA experts suggest several humane solutions you can try to redirect your pet's energies. Remember, it's perfectly normal for cats to scratch, and it's up to you to provide yours with appropriate places to do so. Sisal or rug-covered posts at least 3 feet tall have satisfied many a feline's scratching needs. Corrugated cardboard scratching boxes are an inexpensive and effective alternative. Pile on the praise-and offer an occasional food reward-whenever she uses her new scratching post. She'll soon lose interest in her old haunts. During retraining, you'll need to stop her from using her favorite inappropriate place, such as the chair leg or draperies. Cover these spots with heavy plastic sheeting, tin foil, balloons or double-stick tape. You can minimize much of the destruction while your pet's being retrained by clipping her nails every 10-14 days. Surprisingly, cats can do little or no damage when their claws are kept blunt.

If behavior modification is not going as smoothly as you'd hoped for, ask your veterinarian about rubber or plastic caps that glue on a cat's claws. These will last about eight weeks, They provide additional protection against damage, and are a much better, and humane, alternative to amputation.

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