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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Post: Santa Claws

Just a week before Christmas, my friend Amy was busy looking for furniture, especially a sofa set. Her existing one year old couch was apparently  “shredded by her cats’ scratching addiction.” Yes that’s exactly how she described it. Amy couldn’t bear the sight of the ugly couch especially when her relatives from Sweden are coming back for Christmas. This is the second time she’s changing her furniture to host the Christmas party. And Amy thought, she had enough with it and was seriously considering to declaw her cats upon listening to some “expert vet” advice. She almost did!

I know this is a common problem cat owners have.  But is declawing the ideal solution? 
First of all, if a practice is deemed illegal in certain parts of the world, then you need to investigate why it is illegal. European countries for example brand declawing as an unnecessary amputation to cats. Surely there’s a valid reason. Unlike our nails which are attached to the flesh, a cat’s claws are so closely attached to the bones. Some believe that a cat’s nails are the last bones of each toe.  So imagine someone cutting away the last joints of your fingers. Imagine...Harrrr…..now know you… *I can see some of you are worried coz without those fingers, you can’t pick your nose anymore during traffic jams..Dammmnn!!! Or maybe can't do this.....*

The grim medical stats show that declawing causes the following: Pain , infection, lameness, arthritis, back pain, tissue death, painful regrowth, deformed paws, nerve damage and more. Some cats stop using the litter box due to the severe pain during the recovery period. Some may even start to bite because they’ve lost their primary defense weapon.

Although medically it’s not proven, I’ve also heard stories about the change in behaviour after declawing.

The moment Amy told me about declawing, I just asked her one simple question that any layman can think of… “Hey Amy, If you declaw the cat, what happens when he needs to scratch his head,neck or the ears? Have you thought about it?”  She immediately put her hand to mouth and gasped. Few seconds later, she said…”Ya loh hor…how come I didn’t think of that. "

Well, that's just the basic logic. Another problem that declawing brings to the cat is, he/she cat can’t climb. Climbing and jumping is second nature to cats.


Credit Vlad Ageshin
I’m not talking about climbing trees yet.  How about climbing on the table, the rack, the window ledge and etc? Once cats lose their claws, they lose grip on everything.  A simple act to sit near the window has become a dangerous endeavour now. Not only they might slip and fall, declawing also alters the way the paw meets the ground when they land. It will be a painful and traumatic experience for cats. Declawing also deprives your cat of its defense. Imagine your cat went outdoors and got lost..,He may possibly die of starvation for his inability to hunt or become a victim of attacks from enemies. He can’t climb the tree when a dog chases him and he can’t grab that lizard at point blank range in front of him when he's hungry. Having said everything above, this one surgery is enough to finish all the supposed 9 lives that a cat has.

So people,  scratching is a perfectly NORMAL cat behavior. It’s their nature and they’re born to do it. This is how they mark their territory and flex their muscles. It is also a psychological exercise for them. Declawing is simply a “quick-fix” humans created for their own convenience. There are so many other methods that actually work to curb furniture damage due to scratching. I will do another post on that. But for now, if you think your furniture is expensive, taking away your cats’ natural way of living and ‘handicapping’ them is a heavy price to pay. Many cat owners may have known this truth. But, thanks to Amy for reminding me again that, every time a certain 'vet' suggests something, many will say -"Go ahead!"