As the city of Denver, Colorado considers a ban on declawing cats, let’s look at why people declaw their cats and why the practice should be banned except in special cases.
Should you declaw your cat?
Declawing is a hotly debated topic among cat owners, veterinarians, and animal rights advocates. It is a surgical procedure that basically slices the claws off a cat’s paws. Sometimes, it’s medically necessary especially if the cat has something like a tumor on the area. However, most of the time, it seems as if declawing is mostly for the benefit of the owner and not that of the cat itself.
There are many ways to declaw a cat, though all end up with the same result. To declaw a cat--a procedure called onychectomy--is basically to slice off at the last knuckles on each paw. This is because merely removing the claw will allow it to eventually grow back. However, if you take out the bone the claw grows from, it will never return.
Declawing is a controversial, potentially harmful procedure.
Normally, cats are declawed using a guillotine-like sliding blade that slips between the small bone from which the claws grow and the bigger bone after it. This also cuts off half the pad on the cat’s toes, so it’s basically like cutting off your fingertips because your nails won’t stop growing. This, as can be expected, can cause pain and discomfort for the cat because when it walks, its puts its weight on its pads.
Another technique, meanwhile, involves a curved blade that sort of scoops out the tiny bone and the attached claw without also slicing the pad in half. This is called cosmetic declawing, and while it’s better for the cat than the normal technique, it’s a very tedious procedure. However, it does allow cats to recover from the surgery sooner.
Still, a lot of things can go wrong with the procedure, and it will definitely be the cat that will suffer. There is the possibility of infection, since the area apparently can’t be sterilized before surgery. Also, if the procedure isn’t done correctly, the claws can grow back. However, this time, they won’t be growing back properly. Thus, this can cause quite a lot of pain and discomfort for the cat. In fact, one case of a botched declawing has resulted in a nail that grew in a spiral inside the cat’s skin and burst through its wrist.
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