That’s it! Declawing cats will be officially banned in Quebec within 18 months and many players in the animal health and welfare community are delighted. However, for some cat owners, abandoning this practice may cause some concern. After all, this practice has long been “fashionable” here in Quebec. So I wanted to reassure those of you who are worried about this.
• Read also: Declawing cats officially banned in 18 months in Quebec
1 – I fear that he will hurt my child or another animal with his claws.
What does a cat do to defend itself without its claws? He bites! However, bites often have more serious consequences than scratches. In the United States, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not recommend that immunosuppressed people declaw their cats for this reason. In addition, you should know that declawed cats sometimes live with chronic pain (neuropathic syndromes are likely). However, we know that animals in pain can be aggressive.
There’s another point to consider here: over 40 countries around the world already ban declawing, and guess what? Cases of serious scratch injuries have not increased otherwise we would already know. Good education, both of animals and children, as well as supervision of young children in the presence of any animal is also the key to success.
2 – I’m afraid he’ll break the furniture by scratching on it.
Yes, cats have to scratch somewhere. It is a natural behavior that cannot be suppressed. However, there are alternatives to declawing and these methods work: the regular size of the claws, the use of claw guards of the type soft paws, the obtaining of good and solid scratching posts, the adequate education of the cat and the enrichment of its living environment. All of this can work small miracles. See my column: journaldemontreal.com/2012/10/18/alternatives-efficaces-au-degriffage-chez-le-chat. There are also, in addition, ways to prevent the cat from scratching your furniture or the corner of a door. Consult your veterinarian or a cat trainer (educhateur.com) for help.
3 – I’m afraid that the number of abandoned cats is going up in shelters.
The ban on declawing does not lead to an increase in the abandonment or euthanasia of cats in shelters. A large study of 75,000 cats by the BC SPCA, in collaboration with external researchers, has debunked a persistent myth that cats that are not declawed are more likely to be abandoned. Better still, we also know that certain problems with cleanliness (urine out of the litter box) and aggressiveness (biting) could very well be linked to declawing. However, these are commonly cited reasons for the abandonment of animals.
4 – I’m afraid that the alternative options offered will not work.
If you think claw posts aren’t working, you’ve probably taken the wrong approach. As dog trainer Daniel Filion so aptly puts it, for the scratching post to work, it must meet certain criteria: it must be very stable, large enough, covered with a texture that your cat likes and placed in a strategic place (educator. com/portfolio/videos/solutions-aux-scratches-on-the-furniture/). It will therefore take some effort to make it work, but it is doable!
5 – I’m afraid of being a bad master, because I’ve already had my cat declawed.
Above all, do not feel guilty for having already had your cat declawed. You are not alone. This is what we almost all did in the past, veterinarians and cat owners, and this, without asking the question. It must be said that society is changing. And science too. We now know things that we did not know before, we adapt and we move forward.