If you are bringing a kitten home, the last thing you want is for it to shred your furniture. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to prevent this issue. Read on to see which method works best for you and your cat.
While older cats can be declawed, it's usually best to take newly weaned kittens in for this procedure. When a cat is declawed when he or she is young, it will be easier for it to adjust than a cat who's used claws most of its life.
There are a few declawing methods to consider. If you don't want you cat to have any remnants left, then the vet will not only remove the nail but a small portion of bone as well.
Some owners aren't comfortable with the removal of the bone, so they opt for a tenotomy—sometimes called a "cosmetic declawing." For this procedure, the vet will cut the tendons in your cat's foot pads. The cat will still be able to keep his claws, but since the tendons are cut, they cannot be extended.
If you do decide to opt for declawing, your cat will have to strictly be an indoor cat. Cats who've been declawed cannot defend themselves, so if your cat gets lost or in a scuffle outside, he or she will be vulnerable.
Declawing is a good choice for families and owners with medical concerns. Even if your cat is vaccinated, he or she could still spread infections, like Bartonella, if a person is scratched.
Nail caps are plastic sheaths that can slip over your cat's claws. If you want your cat to be an outdoor cat, then this is the route to take.
When cats are anxious, they like to flex their claws and knead. If your cat is naturally anxious, nail caps are beneficial because the cat will still be able to flex its claws and self-soothe.
Nail caps are a good choice if your cat is calm enough to let you apply the caps every month or so. While you don't need to clip a lot of nail off, you do need to be able to clip a portion off so that the caps can fit snugly.
A lot of cats hate having their nails clipped and to hasten the process, some owners accidentally cut the quick. The quick is the supply of nerve vessels at the base of the nail. If you cut the quick, your cat will be bleed and be in pain. If you are unable to clip your cat's nails, you can still use caps as long as you take your cat in for regular grooming.
If you know you cannot stay on top of nail trimming or cap reapplication, then declawing may be better.
For more detailed information, talk with your veterinarian.