Animal Rescue: Declawing can have long-term negative effects on cats _lowres

Photo provided by ARNO—Barbar likes other dogs, and he is especially fond of cats; they are his best friends. He is clean and housebroken, and loves to snuggle on the couch and bed. He does have a mild thyroid condition that causes problems with his fur, and it would be resolved a lot more quickly if he was in a permanent home. All Babar needs is one little pill a day. He is approximately 8 years old. Email adoptfromarno@yahoo.com for more details. The adoption fee is $200 and includes neuter, UTD vaccines, rabies, and a chip.

Declawing a cat so he does not mess up the furniture or shred the curtains may sound like a good idea in theory; however, there are several negative consequences to declawing. Once considered a quick, easy and safe procedure, declawing is actually a serious surgery that can have negative impacts on a cat’s quality of life.

Cats rely on their claws on a daily basis for many uses. They extend their claws in order to achieve a full body stretch. Declawed cats are more prone to muscle pains and arthritis as a result of not being able to get a full stretch in. A cat’s claws also are tools for balance; without them, the cat must shift his weight and relearn how to walk on the exposed bone that is left once the claws are removed.

Scratching is a source of exercise and stress relief for felines. Cats tend to scratch when they are anxious or frustrated. Without claws, they do not have a way to alleviate stress.

Finally, the No. 1 use of claws is for defense. Even if a cat is an indoor cat only, accidents happen, and if a declawed cat gets outdoors, he will not have a way to defend himself against a predator or to climb a tree to escape danger.

Declawing is not only painful for a cat but it can cause negative behaviors and permanent physical damage. Declawed felines may avoid using the litter box as they are used to using their claws to maneuver the litter. Some declawed cats may start to bite and use their teeth as a defense mechanism. If the declawing surgery is not done properly, bone fragments can be left behind and cause pain for a cat. Finally, declawing can result in permanent nerve damage.

What’s the alternative? Scratching is a normal and vital part of a cat’s life. There are several scratching posts on the market. Also, trimming nails once or twice a month is a good way to make the scratching less damaging. There are also nail covers or caps that can be put over claws.

Events

  • YAPPY HOUR: The Louisiana SPCA will be the beneficiary of Yappy Hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday at Rare Form, 437 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans. Fresh water and treats will be provided for pups while owners enjoy $1 off all craft cocktails. When patrons mention “Yappy Hour,” 15 percent of the proceeds will benefit the SCPA. For information, visit www.rareformnola.com.

ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will have adoptable dogs and cats from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Xplore Federal Credit Union, 1201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, email adoptfromarno@yahoo.com.

ADOPTION EVENT AND BAKE SALE: The Louisiana SPCA will hold a neighborhood pet adoption event and bake sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4426 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org.

DEALING WITH FERAL CATS: The Louisiana SPCA will present a free workshop on feral cat TNR from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. People with neighborhood cats will learn the importance of trap-neuter-return and find out about basic methods and equipment. To reserve a spot, call (504) 762-3306. For information, visit la-spca.org.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, email molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter.