Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Study shows why you shouldn’t declaw your cats

May 25, 2017

by Chuck Bednar 

Having your cats declawed could increase their risk of long-term or persistent pain, and might even make them more aggressive and less likely to use the litter box, according to new research published online Tuesday in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

As part of the study, lead author Nicole Martell-Moran, a veterinary practitioner at the Feline Medical Center in Houston, Texas, and her colleagues looked at a total of 137 cats that had not undergone the procedure known as onychectomy, and another 137 which had (including 33 that had the claws removed on all four feet).

Each of the cats were examined for signs of discomfort and barbering (or excessive licking or chewing of fur), and their medical history was reviewed for negative behaviors. What the study authors found was that declawed cats were approximately seven times more likely to urinate or soil outside of the litter box, four times more likely to bite, and three times more likely to either become aggressive or overgroom themselves.

Furthermore, the declawed felines were nearly three times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain than cats that had not undergone onychectomies, the study authors said. This is likely due to shortening of the declawed limb, altered gait and/or chronic pain at the site of the procedure.

“The result of this research reinforces my opinion that declawed cats with unwanted behaviors may not be ‘bad cats,’ they may simply need pain management,” Martin-Moran explained in a statement. “We now have scientific evidence that declawing is more detrimental to our feline patients than we originally thought and I hope this study becomes one of many that will lead veterinarians to reconsider declawing cats.”

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