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C2007-30

Dear Christopher Cat

My veterinarian refuses to declaw my newly adopted cat, saying declawing is inhumane. What do I do now? My cat hasn’t clawed the furniture, but I’m afraid he might.

Christopher Responds

I have claws, and I don’t scratch the furniture, because Mom regularly trims my claws and provides scratching posts throughout the house.

Many cat lovers feel this is more humane than declawing, which removes the claw plus the entire third bone of each toe.

Our toes are like your fingers. Declawing us is like amputating your fingernail and the underlying bone, up to the joint, leaving your finger with two bones instead of three.

Your veterinarian undoubtedly prefers that you trim your cat’s claws. Start by buying a human toenail trimmer or cat claw trimmer.

When you and your cat are relaxed, wrap your left arm around him and hold his paw in your left hand.

Place your left thumb on top of his toe and your forefinger beneath it. Gently squeeze to expose the claw.

When you look at the claw from the side, you’ll see the pink “quick” inside -– and the curved hook that forms the end of the claw.

With the trimmer in your right hand, cut off the claw’s hook. Avoid the quick to prevent discomfort.

If you are left-handed, reverse the process.

An alternative is Soft Paws, plastic covers glued over the claws after trimming. Claw covers last four to six weeks.

Also, offer your cat scratching posts that are stable, because we cats don’t like posts that totter when we dig in our claws.

Entice your cat to use each post by rubbing catnip on the surface and flicking a feather toy against it.You’ll make your cat happy -– and spare your furniture.

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