Although cats are generally clean and loving animals, some of the habits they develop can become annoying and sometimes even destructive. Specifically, most cats love to stretch their backs and sharpen their claws on what they consider to be appropriate surfaces. Unfortunately, what they consider to be appropriate often differs from what their human housemates consider appropriate!
Keeping nails trimmed short, training your cats to use a scratching post, or the use of “nail caps” are methods which can be used to minimize a cat’s destructiveness. If these methods are unused or ineffective, declawing is an option to consider.
If you do decide to declaw, we provide the most comfortable option possible — the surgical laser. The surgical laser significantly reduces the discomfort and recovery time. The procedure is the same; the entire claw is removed. But, the cutting is done with a laser instead of a steel knife blade. The laser cuts with a high-intensity beam of light, so as it cuts it seals the blood vessels. But the main advantage to the patient is that it seals the nerve endings. Instead of open, cut nerve endings after the procedure, the nerve endings are sealed which nearly eliminates pain. Declawing with a laser is a MUCH more humane way to ensure your kitty will remain welcome in your home.
Pain management is also addressed in several other ways. An injection of pain medication is given before surgery. After being anesthesized, we utilize a local anesthetic which blocks the pain sensation from travelling up the nerve fibers. Theraputic laser treatment (pain and inflammation therapy through use of low level laser) can be applied before recovery and oral pain medication accompanies each patient home.
At ZCVC, we realize the decision to declaw is very personal and depends on the cats and the owners. We typically recommend only front paws, but consider all four, especially if there are elderly human housemates. Of course, declawed cats cannot be allowed outside, since they cannot defend themselves well.
To us, the most important thing is for the cat to be able to stay in his loving home!
At ZCVC we have been doing the declaw procedure with a surgical laser since 2002. We are proud to be the first veterinary clinic in the area to have a surgical laser, and would be glad to discuss the benefits of laser as well as non-surgical options for your feline companion. If you are considering declawing your cat, please call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.