If one were to just clip all the nails too short, it would be painful and they would bleed and the nails would simply grow back. The only way for nails to be removed and never grow back in is to remove the growth center that lies within a specific area of the first bone of the finger. If the entire growth center is not removed, the nail will grow back in and often grow back in a deformed and painful way. That is why the entire first bone (actually referred to as the 3rd, which you can see in the diagram) at the end of the finger must be taken off. After the bone and tissue is recoved, surgical glue is placed to close the skin incision. Bandages are placed on the feet overnight to prevent bleeding and your cat can go home the day after surgery.
Pain management with declaw surgery is critical to your pet's comfort and recovery. The surgery itself is performed under general anesthesia and Dr. Molly Ramsey utilizes ring block local anesthetics to prevent feeling to the feet for up to 24 hours after surgery. Oral absorbable morphine type pain medications are also utilized to control pain after surgery and during recovery at home.
Alternatives to Declawing Cats
There are several:
(1) Learn to clip your cat's nails or schedule regular appointments with a groomer or vet to have them trimmed.
(2) Purchase and learn to apply nail caps. They can be purchased on Amazon, or any pet store you prefer.
(3) Be sure to have plenty of scratching posts and other acceptable scratching areas around your home. You can encourage their usage by sprinkling a bit of catnip on them. The new ScratchKabin from KatKabin makes a great scratching area/house.
(3a) Feliway has a scratch-attractant called "FeliScratch" that you can purchase at any pet store, or online, that you can apply to your desired scratching post.
(4) Punishment doesn't work with cats. You will merely create a very frightened or very aggressive cat. If a cat is doing something you don't want them to do, you have to ignore it and then praise them when they are doing what you would like.
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