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Cat Conundrum

Seen as a convenient procedure for many pet owners, declawing cat has drawn controversy from many animal rights activists around the world. Those who are considering this procedure for their own pets should consider the facts and possible repercussions involved with declawing. The purpose of the article is not to condemn or promote this procedure, but simply to inform those who are considering or have thought about having this surgery performed on their pet cat(s).

What declawing is

Declawing is also called onychetomy and it is not a minor procedure. It is a surgical procedure that involves not only removing the cat's claws but also the last bone of each of the ten front toes as well as severing tendons, nerves, and muscles. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and most veterinarians who perform the procedure require to be over three to four months old. 

Why people declaw their cats

Some pet owners feel inclined to have their cats undergo the procedure to avoid or prevent damaged furniture. If a cat does not have its claws they are unable to scratch owners, children, and guests. Typically, those who have their cats declawed intend to only keep the cat indoors. 

Potential complication associated with declawing

As with any major surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications involved with declawing your cat. These complications could occur after surgery and include:

·         Pain

·         Biting

·         Joint stiffness

·         Arthritis

·         Litter box problems

·         Death

Some alternatives to consider before declawing

Many pet owners may feel that declawing is the only solution available to ease the stress of a scratching cat. However, there are other remedies that are not as invasive as declawing that can help solve behavior and safety issues. Scratching posts are a great addition to your cat's environment. It gives them an outlet for their scratching, instead of destroying your furniture. Many veterinarians offer cat caps, plastic coverings that go over the nails. Cat caps are best suited for passive cats that will be less likely to pick at or rip off the coverings.

For more information on cat declawing procedures, risks, recovery, and other general cat health questions, visit your local Chicago vet clinics at

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