Alternatives to cat declawing
Thinking about having your cat declawed?
You should know that onychectomies are no longer performed at Centre Vétérinaire Rive-Sud and Centre Vétérinaire Laval.
Other solutions are available!
Sharpening his claws is normal behavior for your cat, allowing him to mark his territory with scent and visual signals, to stretch and keep his claws clean and sharp. With a bit of training, cats can be taught to minimize clawing in certain places.
Except in a few very special cases, declawing is rarely recommended. Besides causing pain, this surgery presents risks of complications that must not be overlooked. What’s more, some cats may develop behavior problems (do their business outside the litter box, bite more easily) or experience persistent, long-term discomfort.
Although still practiced in Canada, declawing has been banned in about forty countries, notably large parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Brazil. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) have come out against the declawing of domestic cats.
By teaching your children to recognize and respect a cat’s body language, you significantly reduce the risk of injury. A cat that can no longer defend herself by scratching often resorts to the only means of defence that remains: biting. Note that a scratch is generally less serious than a bite.
A cat that shakes her tail, flattens her ears, growls or hisses (spits) wants to be left alone. Setting aside areas for your cat that are off limits to children offers your pet a place to go when she doesn’t want to be bothered.
The Scratching Post
Provide your cat with a suitable support for sharpening her claws. Whether this is a scratching post, a cardboard box or a log, for example, it must be sturdy and high enough to allow the cat to stretch fully. Cats are partial to coverings such as wood, sisal rope, carpeting or rough fabrics. Install the post near the place your cat rests or at the entrance to a room where she often stays (e.g., the living room, near an armchair).
Reward her when she uses the scratching post. Positive reinforcement is more effective than punishment. You can use catnip, toys or treats to reward your pet. You can also stop her from scratching on particular surfaces by covering them with double-sided tape, aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
All claws should be trimmed regularly with a claw clipper. Get your cat used to this procedure while she’s still a kitten. Don’t forget the nail of the first claw (the equivalent of our thumb), which wears down more quickly than the others.
Nail caps can be used as needed. This option involves covering each claw nail with a small plastic envelope. Easy to apply, they generally remain in place for 4 to 6 weeks. You can put them on the cat yourself or ask your veterinarian to do it for a small fee.
Don’t hesitate to ask about possible alternatives to declawing!
- Dégriffage chez le chat (in french)
- Méthodes 3-5 et 3-10 : alternatives au dégriffage (in french)
- Énoncé de position de l’ACMV (in french)
- Énoncé de position de l’AAFP