Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the distal phalanx, the last bone in the cat’s paw, and the associated nail bed and nail splint. The procedure is often used as a last-ditch attempt to discourage cats from scratching furniture or objects, but it can have long-term consequences that are not usually considered.
Cat declawing can cause pain, swelling, inflammation, and lameness in the short-run. Pain management is a vital component of the recovery process, and veterinarians may prescribe medications to ease the pain. The wound should also be inspected for signs of infection, such as redness, heat, and discharge. Lameness is a common side effect that can be mitigated by restricting movement and providing comfortable bedding.
Cat declawing can have long-term effects including pain, arthritis, lameness, and behavioral problems. Cats may experience persistent pain as a result of the procedure, which may cause nerve damage. Cats can be unable to walk, jump, or play normally due to this discomfort. Arthritis is a potential long-term effect of cat declawing, as the affected paw may be less stable and more likely to experience pain. In addition, cats can become withdrawn and less affectionate as a result of the pain, making it impossible to communicate with their owners.
Cat declawing can have an effect on the environment in addition to the physical and emotional benefits. A declawed cat may be less able to protect itself against predators and be more likely to be attacked or killed if it is declawed. Declawed cats are also more likely to roam, increasing their chances of being struck by a vehicle. Declawed cats may be more likely to be surrendered to shelters due to behavioral problems or their inability to defend themselves.
Cat declawing is a controversial subject, and some argue that it should be discouraged due to its potential long-term effects. However, it is important to keep in mind that the procedure can also benefit cats and their owners in some cases. Declawing may be the right option if a cat cannot be trained to stop scratching furniture or people. Before making a decision, it is important to discuss all of the risks and benefits of the treatment with a veterinarian.