Animal Update: Delving Into the Top of Declawing

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A lot of people have heard, perhaps for many years, that they shouldn’t declaw their cat but not everybody understands why.

“Declawing isn’t just removing the nail, it’s actually a surgical procedure where the end of the toe of the cat is amputated and in San Francisco City and County, this procedure was banned in 2009,” explained Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA.

Indeed, there are side effects from such a procedure – some which are felt and seen immediately, including nerve weakness or paralysis.

Long term, cats can suffer chronic pain or infections.

Given all that, it might seem surprising that some people still choose to declaw their cats.

“Cats have a nasty habit of wanting to scratch or sharpen their nails, which is a normal behavior for them, on our best furniture,” reasoned Scarlett. “Despite what cats would like us to think about them, they can actually be trained onto an appropriate scratching post or you can apply what’s called soft paws, a little cover on the end of their nail that keeps them from doing damage.”

KCBS’ Jeff Bell Reports:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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