Although a cat's claws might not really seem like that big of a deal to you, in the feline world they affect a lot, from health to behavioral patterns. Because of this, it is crucial to learn all the facts on declawed kitties when you bring one into your home.
Cats use their claws for protection. Without claws, a cat is essentially defenseless in a fight. Because of this, you want to keep your cat indoors 100 percent of the time for her own safety. Your cat would be helpless if attacked by clawed cats, dogs or other animals.
Litter Box Training
Cats that have just been declawed often have litter box problems because it hurts them to scratch around in the litter. If you find that your declawed cat often relieves herself on your den rug, don't get upset by her new habit. Just understand that you might have a little bit of training work ahead of you. Consider temporarily isolating your cat in a small space -- think your bathroom. Take out any soft surfaces that could compel your cat to eliminate, such as rugs. On one side of the small room, place the litter tray. On the other, place his water, food and bed. After a few days, your pet might get back into the routine of using the litter box -- thankfully.
Be understanding about behavioral and temperament issues with your new declawed addition to your home. When a cat suddenly doesn't have her main form of defense and protection -- her claws -- she might have a more anxious, scared and on-edge temperament than other felines. Patience is key in these situations. If at first your new cat doesn't trust you, give her some time and love.
If for any reason the declawing surgery was done incorrectly, your cat might experience regrowth of the claws. This is especially possible if you adopted a feline who'd recently been declawed. When regrowth occurs, the claws generally do not grow back normally, and they tend to be deformed. The new claws also usually put your little one in pain -- ouch. Be on the look out for signs of this problem in your kitty, and if you notice anything, take her to the veterinarian immediately.
If you have other animals in your home, proceed with caution when you introduce the newbie, just like you would with any other pet. Go through the introduction process slowly and gradually, and always monitoring their interaction closely. In general, declawed cats can live harmoniously and happily with even-tempered dogs and clawed cats. The introduction is key, however. If possible, always keep a barrier between your pets during the first meeting. If your pets behave calmly, reward all of them with yummy treats. If you notice even a hint of aggressive feelings from any party, separate everyone immediately and try again the next day.
- ASPCA: Position Statement on Declawing Cats
- The Humane Society of the United States: Declawing Cats: Far Worse Than a Manicure
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: The Facts About Declawing and the Alternatives
- Arizona Humane Society: Fact Sheet: Cat Declawing
- Stanford Cat Network: Solving Litterbox Problems
- The Humane Society of the United States: Introducing a New Cat to Other Pets
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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