My cat is 9 months old. Hes not neutered yet because Im dragging my feet deciding if he should be laser declawed or traditionally declawed, and Im going to have him neutered at the same time as declawed.
Is laser declaw really so much better?
Note: I do NOT want to get lectured by the people who think declawing is "wrong" or "cruel" Don't waste your time or mine, please. My vet said that laser isn't really much better, but her office doesnt offer laser, so she may just want my money. That sounds paranoid, but my vet is...um...
Anyway, I heard that with laser the "holes" where the claws were are cauterized in a sense so healing is much quicker and the whole thing is less painful. True? If Im correct, in a regular declaw they essentially rip out the last tip of the bone or something, correct? Id like to hear some opinions on Laser vs. Traditional, especially from people who have experience with both procedures (i.e. You have had multiple cats who have had each type of surgery) Again please, NOT on declaw vs. don't declaw, because my cat is strictly indoors and always will be, has a high energy level and likes to scratch, and is getting declawed, period.
Thanks and have a great day!
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My cat is 9 months old. Hes not neutered yet because Im dragging my feet deciding if he should be ... has a high energy level and likes to scratch, and is getting declawed, period. Thanks and have a great day!

Sorry bud, but you came to the wrong place if you dont want to get lectured! Either way, traditional surgery or laser, you are having your cat's toes amputated. Get him a nice, sturdy scratching post. Yes, he likes to scratch, all cats do. Go ahead and get him neutered before he starts spraying.

-Kelly
kelly at farringtons dot net
Check out www.snittens.com
Hi there, me again. I'm promising myself I will not preach about anti-declawing, because I can tell that tactic will not work with you. So, here's a website from a vet hospital that is promoting laser declaw, and you can see for yourself that it is still an amputation, albeit a more hi-tech one. http://www.adobepet.com/library/declaw.htm

I only ask that you try a few alternatives before you declaw your cat. What is he doing wrong? Scratching the furniture? Get him a nice, sturdy scratching post. I have 5 cats, all with their claws, and NONE of them scratch the furniture! I really didn't have to discipline them about it, either. I have a big cat tower/scratching post in the living room, right near the sliding glass door and sofa, and they all use that and not the couch! I also have a few horizontal sisal scratchers, and they like that better than the carpet. With a cat, you have to give them a better alternative than your furniture for scratching, IMHO.
If you cannot train your cat not to scratch, for whatever reason, please try Soft Paws (http://www.softpaws.com/). They are plastic caps that you put over the cat's nails. I have them on one of my cats, not because he scratched furniture, but because it was impossible to clip his nails and he likes to knead me every morning, and his claws would poke me. I admit, I was very skeptical about Soft Paws, but they work!! I took him to the vet to have them put on (as said cat won't sit still for nail clipping, I knew he wouldn't for me putting on Soft Paws).

My vet charged $20 for the application. It's been almost two months, and only one tip has come off so far. Bartleby still does the scratching act at the cat tower, and doesn't seem to notice them at all. Best part is, he can now knead me in the morning and it doesn't hurt! If your cat is easy to handle, you can probably put the Soft Paws on yourself.
I will also admit that when this cat was a kitten, I contemplated declawing, but that was before I had all the facts. I thought about laser declawing, too. Thinking it was more humane, but then I realized it is bascially the same procedure, just the cut is done with a laser. It sounds like your cat is very happy and well-adjusted. Declawing can lead to behavioral issues, like litterbox avoidance. So, before you spend hundreds of dollars on a surgery that can lead to other problems, try some low-cost, low-tech solutions. I think Soft Paws might be your best bet.

-Kelly
kelly at farringtons dot net
Check out www.snittens.com
Hi there, me again. I'm promising myself I will not preach about anti-declawing, because I can tell that tactic will ... low-tech solutions. I think Soft Paws might be your best bet.Quote: "A word to the wise is sufficient". Is it?

I have had two sets of Soft Paws on TuTu and now she doesn't seem to need them. She, has never scratched the furniture. She has a scratching post and a sisal one that is on the floor and a carpeted circle that she loves to scratch.
Good luck for becoming "wise"!
on 15 Jan 2004:
Sorry bud, but you came to the wrong place if you dont want to get lectured! Either way, traditional surgery or laser, you are having your cat's toes amputated. Get him a nice, sturdy scratching post. Yes, he likes to scratch, all cats do.

Heh. My suggestion would be to get him a better home.

Go ahead and get him neutered
before he starts spraying.

Cheryl
I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy. Come here Squishy. Ow. Bad Squishy.
- Dori
Unfortunately, the zealots of the pro-declaw will ignore anything they believe to delay their cause. Most, not all, people are anti-declaw..I'm against declaw - unless it's the last option between surrending the cat or keeping the cat in the home. I also anti-4 paw declaw. You might want to do a google search on laser declaw for additional info.
essentially rip out the last tip of the bone or something, correct? Again please, NOT on declaw vs. don't declaw, because my cat is to scratch, and is getting declawed, period. Thanks and have a great day!

You asked not for a declawing opinion, but you're going to get it anyway (as it looks like you have already).
For someone who basically knows what declawing involves, saying that declawing is not an option and "have a great day" do not seem to follow. Isn't "ripping out the tips of bones" something more appropriate for a Central American death squads or something? I can assure you (not from personal experience, but I trust the opinion of vets who have witnessed the procedure) that it will not be a great day for the cat.. It will be a painful day, and a painful week, and maybe a painful month, or however long it takes a cat to "recuperate" from (if the cat were human) torture.

I would strongly urge you to read the book The Cat Who Cried for Help, by Nicholas H. Dodman, ( who is BVMS, MRCVS - Bantam Books, 1997), specifically the chapter "The Rebel Without Claws". He is strongly against declawing, and considers it inhumane (as the equivalent procedure performed on a human is - note that if this were proposed for a medical experiement, it would never get past the first Internal Review Board)

He is also strongly in favor of the approrpiate use of psychotropic medications - antidepressants and in some cases tranquilizers - to control very extreme forms of behavior, if normal forms of behavior control (scratching posts, training) do not work.
My family has had 3 cats. All of them were trained to use scratching posts, and used them (although they are indoor/outdoor cats) None have major scratching problems that we have not been able to stop by a loud "NO!" (or just a sharp look - they know what not to do).

Scratching is a normal behavioral response, as well as very probably having a psycho-neurological effect similar to that of a human stretching. If trained correctly, a cat will use a scratching post for claw maintainance, and will "strech" appropriately (ie not on furnature or the sofa). To deprive a cat of this, as well as its natural means of defense if it ever escapes, or must be given to future owners, IS cruel. A human doctor's oath begins "First, do no harm". Apparently not all verterinatians hold to the same creed.
Dodman write in his book (when talking about a verterinarian who advocates declawing over behavior-modification therapy, including medication):"Dr. Wilson has just informed us about how little she employs drug treatments to assist in the management of behavior problems. I don't know why anyone would want to make such a claim because drugs, when used correctly, relieve pain and suffering and can expedite recovery. At the verterinary schools in California and Pennsylvania, and at our own verterinary school, pharmacologic supportive therapy is used in thirty to sevety percent of behavior cases now, and to good effect.

Cat cases would be included in the upper end of this percentage range because the problems they present are less amenable to behavior modification than those of dogs. Purposely avoiding the use of drugs, especially when dealing with cat problems, seems more of an ommision than a recommendable strategy and I don't see any sense in it. Painful surgical solutions to behavioral prohblems, however, are a different matter and should not be undertaken lightly, if at all.

(142, hardbound edition, emphasis added)
Excessive scratching can be likened to human obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which in the large majority of (human) cases, responds very well to medication (SSRIs or other antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or others). If I may cautiously speculate, is seems reasonable to assume that some (if not most) cases of such "pathological" pet problems are (partly or mostly) operationally identical to analogous human disorders, and furthermore that their root biochemical causes are also similar. This bolsters the argument for the appropriateness of pharmocological therapy in conjunction with more traditional behavior modification programs.
Dodman's book was written in 1997. In the six years sense them, a great deal of research has been performed on the biochemical bases of human psycho-neurological disorders such as OCD, and to a lesser extent, new drug therapies have been developed. It is reasonable to assume that there is information relating this to the management of behavior problems in the verterinary field.
Jim Witte
My cat turned into a biter, stopped covering her poop in the litter box after age seven (mutilated feet tend ... I at least did right by her and kept her all 20 years of her life, never letting her outside.

My heart goes out to your cat. If God is truely merciful (which I believe is true), she is now in a better place, with paws restored.

It pains me to think what cats would say to us if they could talk. Perhaps in the next 50 years, understanding of mamelian neurology and technology will give us a chance to hear some part of their repressed or remembered pain, real pain when walking, and hightened fear reactions, abnormal behavioral triggers, and extreme stress reactions.

Remember, studies have shown that monkeys traumatized early in life show hightened stress reactions all their lives (Stephen J Suomi "Psychobiology of intergenerational effects of trauma: Evidence from animal studies." (1), and other studies by the same researcher) The basic neurological systems of the mamalian brain are quite old evolutionarily - the "repillian brain" coorinating the endocrine system and thus stress response with the limbic system and emotional arousal and fear behavior.
Dierect evidence from human childhood trauma victims, and war veterans also unfortuately supports this view. It is almost certain that the biochemical signaling involved in these systems is also highly evolutionarily conserved, and is logical to think that similar psysical trauma to cats early in life is directly responsible for such behavioral problems.
(1) 1998, Stephen J Suomi and Levine S. "Psychobiology of intergenerational effects of trauma: Evidence from animal studies." Pp. 623-637 INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF MULTIGENERATIONAL LEGACIES OF TRAUMA. Danieli Y, ed. New York, Plenum Press, 1998)
2. Cats actually walk on their first digit, which is the digit that is amputated. They can begin to walk ... the equivalent of us having our fingers cut off to the first knuckle. 4. Declawed cats can become fear biters.

When is some bright researcher going to identify the protein which signals the claw to grow, and figure out a way to disable it? Then we wouldn't need to resort to amputation - simply to shutting off claw growth (which might be debatably in-humane also, but at least it would be reversible)
Jim
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