Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Humane Alternative

I will absolutely never forget the first time I saw a cat being declawed.  I was 16 years old, volunteering in the local Vet Hospital in Freehold.  The "surgery" is nothing short of the most barbaric act I have ever seen.  For those of you who have not had the ability to see the procedure... It starts by cutting incisions in each of the cat's toes from the claw down about 1cm.  Then surgical scissors are used to cut the claw at the base.  Up to this point, it all seems relatively fine and humane.  Next, a small mallet is used to selectively smash any of the bones that are left in the toes of the cat and they are pulled away peice by peice to avoid any possiblity of regrowth.  And just to make sure the job is done, inscisions are made all through the muscle of the cat's front paw to make sure the claws never regrow.

Ofcourse, the cat is fully sedated for the process, and feels no pain during.  However, there's nothing quite as sad as seeing a cat wake up from this surgery only to find that his paws are not only sore, but also bandaged beyond belief.

What's the most sad to me is that alot of people don't realize that there are a lot of other ways to deal with cat claw issues!!!  First of all, our kitty LOVES his scratching post!  I highly recommend, if you're considering getting a cat... Buy your scratching post first!!  He has NEVER touched a single peice of our furniture or tried to take a swat at us.  He's absolutely amazing with his claws.  Now I know, we were lucky... and there are situations that dealing with a cat's claws are necessary.  For instance, if a cat ever swatted at a child...

I bring you... SOFT PAWS!!!  :)  They're SUCH a wonderful invention!!  They are soft rubber caps that glue on to the cat claw.  Sprout has them on him, and he doesn't even notice them!!  I was able to put them on and it only took about 10 minutes per paw.  You may be asking why I put the Soft Paws on him if he's so great with his paws.  Well, for a number of reasons... 1) He's just a kitten, and we want him to get used to us handling him, and checking him out for different things, and things like trimming nails, giving baths etc... (Yes, we even gave him a bath no hiccups... I told you, we got lucky!!)  2)  I'm pretty certain that when babies come along Sprout might be the jealous type, and we want to start training him now to not rely on his claws to take out his frustration.  And 3)  As he is just a kitten, and when he wants to jump off of us he will sometimes put his claws out for traction to leap off.  Since putting the Soft Paws on him he has learned how to use the muscles in his pads more, and not rely on digging in.

Soft Paws Website

Check them Out!!  You can get the soft paws in all different colors or clear.  Jon wanted red paws for Sprout, so that's what we got for our little guy.  You can get them at almost any Pet Stores, and Vets across the country have them.  They cost $25 - $30 for 4 applications.  (1 Application lasts about 6 weeks) 

Here are some pics!

This is a picture from the website.  Looks like painted nails on Short Haired Cats!!  

Sprout with his pretty red nails!!  
Sprout doesn't look too impressed in this picture... That was mainly because of the repeated pictures his mom was trying to take of his nails...  :)  It's harder to see since he's a DMH.  (Domestic Medium Haired)

So please consider alternatives to declawing.  Soft Paws and scratching posts are only two options.  If you chat with your vet, I am sure that they will have many other options for you to try.

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