The definitive removal of a cat’s claws via a surgical operation is called declawing. At the same time as extracting the claws, the first phalanx of the toe is removed. Seek alternatives before making this decision and allow your cat to maintain their quality of life, because as well as being an aggressive and unpleasant intervention, they will be deprived of one of their most precious and characteristic tools.
For your cat, their claws are one of the most important tools in their daily life. They use them to scratch, play, climb, hunt, defend themselves, and for almost all the activities they do on a daily basis. For example, to stretch their muscles and back, the claws play an important role by anchoring to surfaces, allowing them to stretch their whole body. On the other hand, scratching is a function that is intimately linked to cats’ nature. They do this to various ends throughout the day, such as to de-stress, mark their territory, or simply to exercise.
Declawing affects even the simple act of walking. When they walk, the whole surface of a cat’s claw is in contact with the ground and so, when they are missing the end of the claw, a cat is obliged to change their posture and the way they walk. With time, this could lead to painful injuries and lameness.
There are several alternatives to avoid the discomfort that your cat’s scratches bring about. Certainly, training during their time as a kitten is the most effective alternative: teaching them where they can and cannot scratch, and making sure that they have access to vertical and horizontal scratching posts and toys so that they can scratch freely.
Another option is to use repellents in the areas that you want to keep free from scratches.
This is an aggressive and unpleasant intervention for the cat, which will be deprived of one of their most precious and characteristic tools.
Periodic cutting of their claws is also very effective. Be very careful when doing this: you should only cut the very end of the claw and not the little vein that is inside it. Do it from when they are little, so that they get used to it, and repeat every week or fortnight. If your cat will not stay still, ask the vet to do it for you.