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Laser Declawing For Cats: Should I Do One For My Cat?

Both the American and Canadian Vet Associations are discouraging cat declawing and it is banned in the UK, Australia, and Europe. There are many reasons why this is highly discouraged and one of which is that it can cause our cats unnecessary albeit avoidable pain in the first place. These associations view declawing as an unacceptable and unethical operation for the cats as they do not get any benefits from being declawed, and there is lacking scientific evidence that can indicate whether there could be long-term physical and behavioral side effects on them or not. 

There are three surgical methods of declawing and they are guillotine trimmers, scalpel blade, and laser. Any of these are still not proven to lessen the complications of declawing cats but there are claims that laser declawing can be considered the most humane and the least painful among the three. 

What Is Laser Declawing?

Declawing, also known as onychectomy, is a type of surgery that involves amputation which is totally unnecessary for cats in any way unless you are in a situation where it can hopefully only be beneficial for the cats and should hopefully only be done as a last resort. 

Laser declawing is one of the three surgical methods of declawing a cat. It is said to be the most humane but still ethically controversial method of declawing cats. With laser declawing, there is no blood loss which could mean less nerve sensitivity which could then mean lesser pain, therefore, having a greater advantage over other conventional declawing methods. 

During the procedure, the vet will administer anesthesia to your cat. The vet will then clamp down on the nail using a hemostat, also called arterial forceps, make an incision over the nail using the laser, and do the same back in a couple of ligaments, and then the vet will then cut the third knuckle of each toe and will be removed from your cat’s paw. 

It is said to be that the risk of infection is much lower or nearly nonexistent in laser declawing than the other methods. Bandages are unnecessary as there is no bleeding and the wounds are completely sealed. This is because 

Your cat will be given pain medications to help ease their pain especially for the first 24 to 48 hours right after the operation. Most cats who have undergone this type of surgery are awake and away and are also able to move around within the 24 hours after the operation. It is said to be an improvement compared to scalpel declawing because that method requires the cat to be taken care of post-surgery for a week and it might also need extra care to help remove sand and clay cat litters. 

Pros And Cons Of Laser Declawing Cats

Before discussing the pros and cons of laser declawing a cat, let us first talk about the main reason why some cat owners resort to having their precious cats declawed, and that is most probably due to their excessive scratching or unwanted clawing. And some cat owners consider this as a negative behavior. However, there are many ways to help discourage such behavior and that is proper training and management for your cats. Examples are the following: 

  • Proper training with positive reinforcements such as giving treats when they obey your commands
  • Regular nail trimming
  • Provide them a scratching post or surfaces that are tall or long enough to encourage stretching
  • Pheromone collars or sprays or plug-ins
  • Usage of nail caps (must be replaced every 4 up to six weeks)
  • Placing tin foil or sticky tape on surfaces they frequent to scratch on

Now that we’ve set that out of the way, let us now see the pros and cons of using laser declawing as a method of declawing your cats. See table below: 

Pros Cons
  • Said to have fewer complications
  • Minimizes blood loss
  • Can seal nerve endings immediately
  • Minimizes nerve sensitivity
  • Possible lesser pain
  • Cauterize during the procedure
  • No proven studies that it eliminates complications related to declawing
  • Still considered an unethical and inhumane method for declawing cats
  • Can increase or develop biting, irritability, and anxiety
  • Can cause issues using their litter box and may require assistance post-operation

Conclusion

Laser declawing, as humane as it might sound and as ethical as some people claim it is, may still cause the same negative consequences to the long-term health and wellbeing of your cats as much as the other declawing methods do. Please keep in mind that all the methods of declawing are painful for them, and there are many ways to help correct their unwanted behavior without having them suffer from this painful surgery. 

Therefore, it is best to do your own research first and talk to a veterinarian or other animal professionals regarding laser declawing and better ways to help correct their negative behavior. You are responsible for maintaining the mental and physical health and wellbeing of your cats. 

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About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair knows everything about multiple cat breeds and how to use the latest technologies to make the cat's life better.

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