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If you have a cat in your home that has been tearing up furniture, you may have thought about having your cat declawed. Some people assume that declawing is a safe procedure that is an easy solution for clawing problems, but declawing can actually cause more problems than it solves.

Unlike just trimming their nails, declawing involves removing the whole first knuckle. It can be a painful and permanently crippling procedure for your feline friend. Many countries have banned the procedure, and organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA are strongly opposed to the procedure.

Here are some of the reasons why you should never get your cat declawed:

Chance of Infection

Infection is always a possible side effect of any surgical procedure, but even more so when it comes to surgery on a cat’s paw. Regardless of how well you try to keep it clean, or how well it is bandaged, it will still be on the floor and in the litter box.

Unchecked infections after declawing can cause serious problems. It could get deeply rooted in the bone, or travel through the cat’s body. Treatment could include hospitalization and even additional surgeries.

Refusing to Use the Litter Box

After declawing, cats might refuse to use the litter box. After the surgery, a cat has several wounds on their paws, which can make it hard for them when dealing with litter. Cats dig in litter and cover up their leavings, so all of those wounds from declawing can get litter in them.

You can imagine how painful that might be. Cats might avoid using the litter box, thinking that their feet will hurt less if they go to the bathroom somewhere else instead.

Pain and Nerve Damage

When surgeons don’t remove the first knuckle exactly right, it can cause pain and/or nerve damage. If the surgeon does not remove the first knuckle entirely and leaves some claw tissue behind, the tissue could continue to try and grow a new claw, which could form a deformed claw under the skin and lead to an abscess.

This is extremely painful for the cat and leads to long-term pain.

A surgeon who removes too much past the first knuckle can also create long-term problems. If the second bone is damaged, the damage is permanent. It could lead to scar tissue and a lot of paw pain that always hurts when your cat walks around.

Behavioral Changes

While most people think that declawed cats are safer around babies and children because they are unable to scratch them, it can sometimes lead to the opposite. They no longer have their primary defense mechanism, making them feel insecure, and they could turn to biting as a means of self-protection.

If your cat is wreaking havoc on your furniture, declawing is not the answer to correct the behavior. Check out these tips on how to divert your cat’s scratching.