Laser Declawing

Pet ownership undeniably requires great responsibility, but it comes with many wonderful pleasures, which is why we enjoy it so much. That said, there are definitely certain things that can be difficult or frustrating to deal with as regards one’s pets–specifically any destructive behaviors and habits. For cat owners, one such destructive behavior is scratching.

Why Cats Scratch

It is not unusual for cat owners to deal with some degree of scratching problems. Even if one tries to condition or discipline their cat not to scratch the furniture or carpets, they may still discover that their cat will continue this behavior when unsupervised. This can lead them to consider declawing as a good solution. However, it is important to thoroughly understand why cats scratch, and what declawing truly is, so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

Contrary to what you may believe, your cat does not scratch your couch, your bed, your carpet and your rugs simply to drive you crazy. This scratching is actually totally normal feline behavior, as cats that scratch are marking their territory with scent glands on their paws, conditioning their claws by removing the husk that grows on the outside of their claws and stretching their agile bodies.

It is because scratching is normal feline behavior that cat owners are highly encouraged to provide a variety of suitable scratching surfaces, including scratching posts, cardboard boxes, lumber or logs, remnants of carpet or fabric and more. In order to maximize the benefits of scratching surfaces for your cat, make sure these surfaces are long and place them in such a way that your cat can fully stretch when using them. In addition to having plenty of acceptable surfaces to scratch, your cat should also have their nails trimmed every one to two weeks.

If you find that, despite taking these measures, your cat still scratches where you’d rather they didn’t, you may want to consider synthetic nail caps. However, if you have already considered or tried the alternatives and you truly believe that declawing is the best choice to resolve the issues that contribute to unacceptable household behavior–read on to learn more about what it is and how it’s performed.

Understanding Declawing

Declawing is an irreversible surgical procedure which requires that the entire last section of a cat’s toes be amputated. This is the section wherein the cat’s claws grow, and so its complete removal is the only way to entirely eliminate the cat’s claws. Laser declawing is often preferred over traditional declawing because it can help to minimize bleeding, seal nerve endings to greatly reduce post-operative pain, reduce swelling and eliminate the need to bandage the area following surgery. Anesthesia and pain medications are still used in order to ensure the most comfortable experience for the cat, but laser declawing does tend to reduce the degree of pain relief the recovering cat requires.

During the laser declawing procedure the veterinarian will:

  • Administer anesthesia. Prior to the surgery, the veterinarian will perform a blood test in order to determine what type and amount of anesthesia is appropriate and safest for your cat.
  • Use a laser to remove the claw and the last section of each digit.
  • Seal blood vessels and sever the nerve endings in order to reduce post-operative bleeding and pain.

Laser declawing does require that the cat be anesthetized for a longer period of time than traditional declawing, roughly twenty to forty minutes, and the procedure is usually more expensive than traditional declawing. However, the many benefits of laser declawing often make it a far more appealing option to cat owners who have decided to go this route.

Laser declawing tends to result in minimal bleeding, especially as compared to traditional declawing. Furthermore, there tends to be minimal swelling as a result of laser declawing and there is no need for bandaging the surgery sites. This means that cats who receive laser declawing often recover more quickly and comfortably than cats who receive traditional declawing. Additionally, while all declawing is considered irreversible, traditional declawing does come with a minimal risk that claws can grow back. Laser declawing reduces that risk.

For more information about laser declawing, contact La Crosse today.