Friday, October 9, 2009

Declawing

I have learned over the last few days that declawing a cat (also called an onychectomy) is a very controversial subject. During an onychectomy, the claws are removed along with the distal phalanx (the end bone.) Now, do I think this is inhumane? No, I do not. . .especially with today's surgical methods and pain medications. I wonder how many cats have become "outdoor" cats or have ended up at the humane society because they were not declawed. I think it is important to have a pet that can live harmoniously with the entire family. I can understand, however, the argument against it. It is a major surgery (repeated 10 times) and can lead to infections, litter box refusal, and a vulnerability that causes some cats to use biting as their primary means of defense. All that being said, we have decided NOT to declaw Autumn on Monday. I felt that, although it may seem better to do them both together, having a spay surgery plus a declaw was pretty major for a little kitty. Multiple people have told me that after a declaw, it is best to leave them overnight and Autumn was having that plus a spay and going home the same day. Now, I'm not saying that I'll never have her declawed, but if I do I probably won't discuss it on the blog. Some things are better left unsaid. . .or so I've learned. In the meantime, hopefully Autumn will continue to show us that she can use her claws "responsibly."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased you are not declawing, but I am also so pleased that you DID give this opportunity to many people to better understand and be informed of what declawing is. You're totally right - it is up to the family involved to make that decision and I also think that you are wise to leave the controversial topics off you blog. I have seen some bloggers become targets of hatred and really nasty comments just because they choose to write about controversial topics. Keep it simple and enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the previous poster! Hope you are doing well!
Neva

Becca said...

So glad you made this decision, Jodi.

I would go a little further, though:

Cats have claws. They will sometimes use them. If this is a significant problem for a person, they should not be a cat owner. Removing parts of the cat is not a suitable solution to that problem.

kattaddorra said...

Hello,I am so sad for you that your little boy died and I wish your little girl a long and happy healthy life.
I am so glad you decided not to have your kitten declawed, the reason cats stay overnight at the vets after declawing is because when they awake they are not only in dreadful pain but in shock too.I hope you will read the true facts and will allow your daughter to grow up a cat lover who knows animals should not be adapted:
http://kattaddorra.blogspot.com/2009/05/putting-straight-some-facts-about.html
And if you ever do consider declawing your kitten, you need to study these pictures first and know this is what can and often does happen:
http://clawsforever.ning.com/photo/albums/declawing-and-declawed
I am like many others who love cats, even though I live in the UK where declawing is illegal, I care about cats and people all the world over.
Good luck.

Suna said...

It's wonderful that you are not going to declaw your kitty. Many vets who offer to declaw kittens are being very dishonest with their clients. They don't tell clients that the surgery often leads to the problems you mention and that it's these problems that lead to cats being dumped in shelters, then euthanased because no one wants a biting, depressed cat who won't use the litter tray.

Did you know that the declaw operation is also the optimal surgical procedure for testing out new analgesia and anaesthetics? This is because it is so terminallly painful for cats, they often scream during the surgery when fully anaesthetised.

The biggest trade body for Vets, the AVMA has a policy on declaw which vets don't tell clients about too - that declawing should be the very last resort to change scratching behaviour when ALL other behavioural training routes have been tried, it should not be a first line procedure. No kitten could ever be classed as a problem scratcher - scratching is a natural and essential behaviour. So, any vet who declaws kittens is being pretty unethical in a)lying to the client and b) working in direct opposition to the AVMA rules.

Pain relief for Onychectomy is limited by the unuique metabolism of the cat. Cats cannot tolerate opiate pain relief well. There is a serious pain relief schedule for Onychectomy that involves Fentanyl patches 8 hours before the procedure, 5 nerve blocks in each lower leg, Buprenex administered during the procedure, followed by anti-inflamatories such as Meloxicam, further Fentanyl and Buprenex after the surgery too, for at least 4 days. Any vet who is willing to amputate ten toes and spay a kitten, then send it home the same day is definately not following this analgesia protocol and does not care or acknowledge that the kitten is going to be in shock and agony for a long time. Do you really want to use a vet that cares so little for the pain of your cats?

There are so many ways to easily train kittens to use scratching posts, you can teach them to have their claws trimmed whilst young, so it's an easy job once a month when they are adults. Training with reward gives a greater bond between human and animal. The added bonus is, that it will also show your children that animals can be trained with love and reward to behave as you want them to, without resorting to a mutilating surgery that will consign the cat to a lifetime of chronic and severe pain.

Thank you for not declawing. Enjoy your kittens as they were meant to be - fully clawed, loved and happy family members :)