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C2006-01

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat loves to claw my furniture. I did some reading about ways to stop it and concluded that tendonectomy seems less traumatic than declawing.

However, my veterinarian doesn’t offer tendonectomy. Do you think it is sufficiently better than declawing that I should find a vet who does the procedure, or should I just have my regular veterinarian declaw my cat?

Christopher Responds

No – and probably no.

Tendonectomy is a surgical procedure in which the veterinarian severs the tendons that allow the cat to extend the claws.

This leads to excessive growth of the claws, so you’ll need to trim them frequently to prevent them from growing into the foot pads.

An added complication is that, in one study, 55 percent of cats continued scratching furniture after tendonectomy surgery.

Cat claws are easy to trim, so why not just trim them and buy your cat some scratching posts?

Mom trims our claws regularly, and the scratching posts she placed at strategic locations around the house give the five of us cats plenty of opportunities to indulge in a behavior that is both natural and enjoyable to us.

If you prefer to trim claws only occasionally, fit your cat with soft plastic claw covers like Soft Paws, which last four to six weeks.

If surgery is necessary, you are better off having your regular veterinarian declaw your cat. Be sure your cat receives adequate pain management during and after surgery.

Readers who would like information on how to trim claws, entice cats to use scratching posts, and fit nail caps should visit our Web site or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address below.

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