Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, means to surgically remove the cat’s third and final toe bones. This procedure is carried out on the front paws, and sometimes on the back paws. As a matter of fact, the declawing of a cat is often done for the owner’s benefit, and not the cat’s.
The declawed cats could go through a lot of pain, discomfort, and complications during and after the declawing. Not to mention that this could even permanently mar them, physically and otherwise.
However, it is recommended that you consider declawing only after exploring all other alternatives. Also, necessary care of the declawed cat is to be taken in case you get that far. Therefore, it is important to get the kind of litter box that’s easy for such sensitive cats to use. It is necessary to deal with litter avoidance issues and also to aid their declawed gait.
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The best litter for declawed cats must provide them with comfort and safety while using the litter box. It should help them heal fast and must be well-textured with fine particles. Also, it should keep them clean at all times. Most veterinarians recommend paper litter for newly declawed cats because of its soft texture, zero-dust and non-clumping properties.
Not to forget that corn, wood, wheat and grass litters are only recommended when the cat’s wounds from declawing have completely healed. At the same time, for newly declawed cats, clay litter must be completely avoided because it is usually too harsh, dusty and has fine granules. These properties could cause serious infections and discomfort for the cats. To help with this process of finding the best litter for declawed cats, here are some suggestions.
Why You Should NEVER Declaw a Cat
- It is very painful
- Could lead to infection
- It also deprives the cat of its natural defense mechanism
- It makes the cat more aggressive
- Declawed cats may be unable to perform basic things like covering its excrement
- Causes behavioral problems especially relating to using the litter box
- It may leave your cat lame for several months
- The cat may have a deadly reaction to the anesthesia used during the surgery
- It makes the cat more burdensome for the owner
- The claw may regrow if the surgery is not properly done, leading to another re-declawing
Alternatives to Declawing
The fact that the cons of declawing by far outweigh the pros is a reason good enough to seek other alternatives. Some such alternatives to declawing are provided below.
- Provide the Cat with Suitable Scratching Posts Or Pads- Scratching is very much a part of the overall feline behavior. Therefore, you can get suitable scratchers in the form of posts or pads for your feline friend. Moreover, scratchers come in different styles and textures so you can try them out to find the one that’s best preferred by your cat. Also, you can get one that blends well with your general interior decorations.
- Trim the Cat’s Claws Regularly- Trimming the cat’s nails is one of the best ways to keep yourself and your cat quite happy. You could start this as a Sunday ritual when they are just kittens so that it becomes more of a routine for them. That’s because trimming the nails of a grown cat can be quite tricky and may even cause the cat to panic and get violent. However, the frequency of the trimming will depend on the cat’s age and lifestyle. Also, there are very good nail trimmers that do the job neatly and with little pain, but remember to carry out the job in a calm environment.
- Use Temporary Nail Caps- These days most cat owners prefer to use fancy synthetic nail caps, which are a stylish and useful alternative. Temporary nail caps are synthetic multi-colored caps that are glued over the cat’s nails. However, this gluing should be done very carefully so as to avoid gluing two nails together. However, this has to be re-done at least once a month to avoid damage to skin and household items. So the biggest drawback of this alternative is the frequency.
- Use Synthetic Facial Pheromone Sprays or Diffusers- Synthetic facial pheromone sprays or diffusers are often used on the scratched areas. This is however done when anxiety or stress is perceived to be the reason for the cat’s continuous scratching. Therefore, after cleaning the area with soap and water, you must spray this synthetic pheromone on all the areas scratched by the cat. However, do not spray it on the cat’s scratching pad or any other desired scratcher.
- Ensure You Meet Your Cat’s Needs- The cat’s destructive scratching is mainly associated with stress and dissatisfaction. So try to understand your cat’s needs and meet them accordingly, especially when it is for environmental enrichment. That’s because it is then easier to train your cat to scratch only on desired surfaces. So you must first provide the cat with suitable social interaction in an enriched environment.
Properties of Litter for Declawed Cats
Considering the fact that declawed cats are quite sensitive, aggressive and uncomfortable, it is important to pick a litter that will make them unopposed to using the litter box. For the litter for declawed cats, here are a few properties that you should consider in order to buy the best litter for them.
- The Litter Should Have Low-Dust- This is particularly important so as to not contaminate the wounds after the bandages have been taken off. It is advisable to avoid clay litter products because of their dusty and fine-grained litter. The low dust will keep your cat’s lungs healthy, and help avoid allergic reactions. More dust means more reasons to make your cat uncomfortable considering the discomfort it is already experiencing from the surgery.
- The Litter Should Not be Sticky- While the declawed cat’s wound is still healing, it is the best to avoid clumpy and sticky. That’s because such litter usually sticks to the cat’s toes and wounds, and that may lead to infection. Also, the sticky litter that’s stuck to the cat’s toes will cause tracking. As a result, it will create a problem for the owner.
- The Litter Should Not Smell- Trying to encourage newly declawed irritable cats to use the litter is hard enough, having litter with stinky smells or strong scents may only further irritate the cat. As a result, the cat may completely avoid using the litter box.
- The Litter Should be Soft- Soft litter will definitely be pleasant for your cat’s tender paws. This will provide some form of relief for your declawed cat.
- The Litter Should be Dry- Cats being very clean animals will not like to use the wet and messy litter. To encourage your declawed cat to use the litter, you have to keep it moisture-free.
To begin with, the declawing of cats is a severely painful process that can result in permanent damage and harmful consequences for them. Also, these consequences are more severe when the surgery goes wrong.
Therefore, it may probably be much easier to see some of your favorite furniture scratched than to watch your cat go through so much pain. That’s because scratching is a major part of a cat’s lifestyle, and so they can simply be provided with scratching surfaces like scratching posts and mats.
You can also train your cat to not scratch forbidden surfaces like your skin and furniture. At the same time, you can also consider other alternatives like nail caps and regular trimming of nails. That’s primarily to avoid the potential damage that declawing can cause to your cat. On the other hand, if you have already declawed your cat then you must take the necessary steps to ease the cat’s discomfort. One of those measures is to give your declawed cat the best litter.