Thursday, February 15, 2007


I have worked with hundreds of cats in shelters and have participated in many online forums dealing with feline health and behavior. It’s been several years since behavior modification tools such as Sticky Paws and Soft Paws were introduced to the pet supply market, yet vets continue to declaw cats, often without advising clients that declawing involves amputating the cat’s toes at the first joint, resulting not only in extreme pain for the cat (declawed cats have been used in vet schools to test the efficacy of pain medication), but also in behavioral issues. Inappropriate urination or litter box avoidance is a common side effect of declawing. One probable reason for this is that the cat experiences pain in the amputated toes when digging in the litter. Another very common side effect of declawing is biting.

The reason most people give for declawing their cats is that they want to protect their furniture. Sticky Paws is an excellent way to protect furniture while the cat learns acceptable places to scratch, such as a sturdy scratching post or a corrugated cardboard scratch pad. Nail trimming helps prevent damage to furniture and skin. As a last resort, Soft Paws vinyl nailcaps can be applied to the cat’s claws. When our fingernails grow, would we ever consider cutting off our fingers at the first joint rather than trimming our nails?The bottom line is that furniture does not feel pain or have to walk on amputated toes. The U.S. and Canada lag behind most of the western world in banning declawing. If you are considering declawing a cat, please do some research first and learn about humane alternatives.

SIDE BAR: Please read the Feb 14 issue of "CREATIVE LOAFING" There is an excellent article on Feral cats. Joel, you did a great job on the story!

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