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  Become an advocate to Ban Declawing

Declawing is already banned in the following US cities: Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Malibu condemned the practice in a resolution, but did not legally ban the practice.

Declawing is already banned in the following countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand.

Read more about this very cruel practice and why guardians of cats and potential adopters need to understand exactly what declawing means.

Anyway who feels that a cat needs to be declawed should look to adopting another kind of pet.

The Impact and Effect of Declawing

                                             

Many veterinarians do not explain to cat owners what really occurs in a declawing operation. The procedure is essentially ten complex amputations. The cat must remain anesthetized for quite the entire procedure, increasing operative risk.

A cat's claw is a complex digit. It is not just a fingernail as it is with humans. The nails retract and are actuated by muscles and tendons. By cutting into these, you raise the risk of serious long-term physical and emotion impacts for your cat.

Declawed cats in effect are reduced in their ability to gain traction and to walk properly. They have to move with their weight shifted backwards from their natural posture. Claws exist for many reasons:

ï‚· To stretch out muscles and spine

ï‚· To help exercise and stay fit

ï‚· To provide defense against mistreatment or other animals

ï‚· To provide traction and grip in all sorts of environments

 

The consequences of declawing are larger than many people realize. Cat's behaviors can change. Declawed cats no longer have their primary defense mechanism and turn to biting as a default behavior. Physical ailments such as premature arthritis, cystitis, or perennial skin disorders can occur. Bungled surgeries can result in growth of deformed claws or serious infection. Removal of the last digits of the toes drastically alters the conformation of their feet and causes the feet to meet the ground at an unnatural angle that can cause back pain similar to that in humans caused by wearing improper shoes.

Some Alternatives to Declawing

ï‚· Provide a tall, sturdy and heavy scratching post that you occasionally sprinkle with catnip. There are many varieties of scratcher. Some with carpet, some with sisal rope. All help provide a natural outlet for your cat's scratching.

ï‚· There are also now plastic sheathing caps (such as SOFTPAWS) that you can apply to your cat's front claws.

ï‚· When selecting your household furniture, find closely woven and smooth fabrics. Cats have a hard time piercing tightly woven materials, and find smooth fabrics less enticing than rougher surfaces.

ï‚· If acclimated to being handled, cats will eventually tolerate or even enjoy having their nails trimmed on a regular basis. It is important to work this into their routine as a positive activity, not as a punishment for scratching. Consult your vet for instructions.

ï‚· Until your cat learns the proper locations for scratching (scratchers, toys, etc.), cover unprotected furniture with aluminum foil, double-sided tap or other materials that give him pause. Many pet supply stores have materials that will help with this.

ï‚· When playing with a cat or kitten, it is important to never use your hand or individual fingers as playthings. This teaches the cat that people are toys and she or he may scratch to play. Each time your cat scratches you intentionally, say "OWW" and leave his or her presence. This provides an incentive to stop scratching if they wish to play with you.

ï‚· When you find him using the scratchers praise him like you would your canine friend. Positive reinforcement is everything. If he doesn't use the right item, don't scream, hit or throw things. This will only frighten or confuse him. Remember, positive reinforcement is everything. Praise, praise and more praise.

ï‚· If all else fails, get a squirt bottle or squirt gun. When caught in the act - and only when caught in the act - say a loud "NO!" and give him one quick squirt to his body, not his face. You could also shake a rock or marble filled can or drop a magazine on the floor. These methods intrude on where his concentration was, upsets him and he learns from repetition, that is why praise and love work so well and are the preferred method. Sooner or later he will get the hint. Remember, positive reinforcement is the key.

                    

Understanding Declawing (Onychectomy)

The anatomy of the feline claw must be understood before one can appreciate the severity of declawing. The cat's claw is not a nail as is a human fingernail; it is part of the last bone (distal phalanx) in the cat's toe. The cat’s claw arises from the unguicular crest and unguicular process in the distal phalanx of the paw (see above diagram). Most of the germinal cells that produce the claw are situated in the dorsal aspect of the ungual crest. This region must be removed completely, or regrowth of a vestigial claw and abcessation results. The only way to be sure all of the germinal cells are removed is to amputate the entire distal phalanx at the joint. Contrary to most people's understanding, declawing consists of amputating not just the claws, but the whole phalanx (up to the joint), including bones, ligaments, and tendons! To remove the claw, the bone, nerve, joint capsule, collateral ligaments, and the extensor and flexor tendons must all be amputated. Thus declawing is not a “simple”, single surgery but 10 separate, painful amputations of the third phalanx up to the last joint of each toe. A graphic comparison in human terms would be the cutting off of a person's finger at the last joint of each finger.

Many vets and clinic staff deliberately misinform and mislead clients into believing that declawing removes only the claws in the hopes that clients are left with the impression that the procedure is a "minor" surgery comparable to spay/neuter procedures and certainly doesn't involve amputation (partial or complete) of the terminal-toe bone, ligaments and tendons. Some vets rationalize the above description by saying that since the claw and the third phalanx (terminal toe bone) are so firmly connected, they simply use the expression "the claw" to make it simpler for clients to "understand". Other vets are somewhat more honest and state that if they used the word "amputation", most clients would not have the surgery performed! Onychectomy in the clinical definition involves either the partial or total amputation of the terminal bone. That is the only method. What differs from vet to vet is the type of cutting tool used (guillotine-type cutter, scalpel or laser).

Complications

Declawing is not without complication. The rate of complication is relatively high compared with other so-called routine procedures. Complications of this amputation can be excruciating pain, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhage, bone chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claw inside of the paw which is not visible to the eye, and chronic back and joint pain as shoulder, leg and back muscles weaken. Other complications include postoperative hemorrhage, either immediate or following bandage removal is a fairly frequent occurrence, paw ischemia, lameness due to wound infection or footpad laceration, exposure necrosis of the second phalanx, and abscess associated with retention of portions of the third phalanx. Abscess due to regrowth must be treated by surgical removal of the remnant of the third phalanx and wound debridement. During amputation of the distal phalanx, the bone may shatter and cause what is called a sequestrum, which serves as a focus for infection, causing continuous drainage from the toe. This necessitates a second anesthesia and surgery.