Whether to declaw your cat can be a controversial decision. In Canada and much of Europe, declawing is illegal, no matter the method. Several states and cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have anti-declawing laws.
Although the percentage of people who declaw their cats is dwindling, more veterinarians who offer the surgery give their clients the option to use a laser for the incision. Is laser declawing the right choice for you and your cat? We’ve put together a list of the pros and cons to help you make the decision.
What Are the Pros of Laser Declawing Your Cat?
Traditional declawing methods use a scalpel to remove the first segment of your cat’s toe bones, where the claws are located. The wounds are then closed using surgical glue or stitches. The cat’s feet are bandaged throughout the recovery.
Proponents of laser declawing say that this method is more humane. Lasers have been used instead of scalpels for surgeries in pets and humans for decades. This method uses a laser beam to cut through the bone and remove the cat’s claws. Specialists say that this method is less painful because it severs and cauterizes the nerve endings
Fewer complications arise from laser declawing surgery because of the lack of an open wound. The laser cauterizes the incision, which minimizes the chance of infection during recovery. Because the laser is more precise than a scalpel, this method reduces swelling during recovery. Veterinary surgeons who prefer laser declawing say that it lessens the amount of time it takes to recover.
What Are the Cons of Laser Declawing?
Many animal advocates argue that this surgery is inhumane because it provides no benefit for cats for the sake of human convenience. Cat behaviorists suggest keeping your cat from clawing inappropriately by training your pet to scratch only where you want them to. Providing a variety of scratching mats and posts can deflect this behavior and preserve your furniture, carpets, and walls. Teaching your cat not to use their claws during play requires time investment, but cats can be quick learners.
Declawed cats have fewer natural defenses against predators. A declawed cat should never be let outside because they won’t be able to defend themselves from other animals. For indoor cats, being unable to use their claws means they may be more likely to attack with their teeth rather than swat with their claws. Cat bites pose more of a risk to people and other pets because of the naturally-occurring bacteria present in their mouths.
Using the litterbox may be painful for declawed cats. Normally, cats enjoy pawing around in their boxes after using them. Their instincts tell them to move dirt around the area where they relieve themselves to cover evidence of their presence. The gritty clay of most cat litter can be uncomfortable against the toe tips where their claws used to be. This discomfort can lead to cats using other surfaces as their personal bathroom.
Before you decide to go ahead with any declawing surgery, it’s important to consider the risks and benefits. Have you tried various training methods to break your cat of inappropriate scratching habits? If you do choose to declaw your cat, the use of a laser can make the experience less painful for your pet. Discuss this option with your veterinarian to find out how it can benefit your cat.
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