• Why You Should NOT Declaw Your Cat!

    Posted on January 31st, 2014
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    Declawing your cat is not the answer!

    If you are thinking of declawing a cat, or a veterinarian suggests declawing at the same time as neutering, before you make a decision for non-reversible surgery, please consider these reasons NOT to declaw.

    Your cat will live his remaining years with the result of your decision, one way or another.

    First it is important to know scratching is normal. Cats scratch for several reasons. First, it feels good. It also “files” their nails and helps make room for newer growth.

    Declawing can trigger behavioral problems. Although veterinary research has not turned up evidence that declawing alters a cat’s personality, the simple mechanical changes the procedure brings can eventually result in behavioral changes. Declawed cats may be more likely to bite, for example, since their first line of defense is gone.

    Declawing your cat rids him of his chief weapon of defense. A typical counter-argument is, “My cat is indoors-only.” Even indoor cats sometimes manage to escape. A declawed cat does not stand a chance against a large dog, a bigger cat, or a predator. Although he still has teeth, by the time he gets in close enough to bite, it may be too late.

    A declawed cat will lead to other problems such as resistance to using the sandbox. Declawed cats often associate the pain when digging in litter with the litter box itself, and will avoid it, choosing softer carpeting instead.

    When cats lose their ability to give a quick warning scratch, they will often resort to their second line of defense: a good, hard bite. The cat’s owner may sometimes find himself the victim, just when he thinks his cat is enjoying a petting session.

    Cats need the exercise that their claws and toes provide. Watch a cat stretch, whether horizontally on a carpet or vertically with a tall scratching post. He will grab the carpet or sisal with his claws, using the resistance to pull and stretch his muscles. Cats’ claws actually play a large and positive role in their amazing muscle tone and agility.

    Instead of declawing your cat, consider other options. Trimming your cat’s claws frequently and buying a scratching post to sub in for that treasured armchair (sprinkling catnip on it may help get him interested).

  • Cat Owner Tips

    Posted on September 12th, 2012
    admin 1 comment

    Tips for cat owners.

    If you have a cat as a pet, check out these helpful tips provided by Clear the Air to ensure your cat is properly taken care of.

    Collars:  All collars on cats are dangerous unless the collar has an elastic insert or is the “breakaway” style.  Cats can strangle if the collar gets caught on something, or injure themselves trying to get the collar off.  If you put a collar on a kitten, please be sure to check that it does not become too tight as the kitten grows! If your cat goes outside, prevent the cat from killing birds by adding a small bell to the collar.

    Feeding: Do not feed your cat food made for dogs or use any dog care products on cats.  Dog food and “human” table food lack essential vitamins and minerals cats need such as taurine – an essential amino acid for cats.  Lack of taurine in the diet causes blindness, serious heart problems (dilated cardiomyopathy), and may promote urinary tract problems as well.  Feed only well-balanced cat food, appropriate to the age and activity level of your cat.  Avoid dairy products!  Dog flea preparations often kill cats.  Likewise, medications, shampoos and other products made for dogs (or humans) can be toxic to cats. Never give aspirin to a cat!

    Surgical Claw Removal or Declawing: This is an extreme measure in which the entire last part of the ten front toes are amputated.  A graphic comparison in human terms would be cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint.  General anesthesia is used for this surgery, which always has a risk of disability or death associated with it.  Because declawing provides no medical benefit to cats, even slight risk can be considered unacceptable.  In addition, the recovery from declawing can be painful and lengthy and may involve postoperative complications such as infections, hemorrhage, and nail regrowth.  The latter may subject the cat to additional surgery.  Declawing not only robs a cat of an integral means of movement and defense, but it can also cause cats to undergo a profound personality change, in which they may become extremely timid or unusually aggressive.  Other options include the use of scratching posts, adhesive plastic nail caps, regularly trimming the cat’s nails, and discouragement of unwanted behavior. Methods of discouragement include placing a sheet over the target furniture or using aluminum foil or double-sided tape on the object.  It is also possible to discourage scratching by using a scent which cats generally do not like, such as the fresh smell of citrus.

    Indoor cat: It is important to consider making your cat a strictly indoor pet.  The list of risks to outdoor cats include poison (like antifreeze), injury (falls, cars, attacks by other animals or humans, or broken glass), parasites (fleas, ticks, or worms), disease (feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, upper respiratory viruses, etc.), and theft. Believe it or not, pets are regularly stolen by unscrupulous individuals for sale to the animal research industry, for cult use, or as food for snakes. Keep your cat indoors, and you will have a healthier, more socialized, and content family companion.

    Keep your pet entertained: Provide your indoor cat with toys and a tall, sturdy scratching post made of a rough material such as sisal (hemp-like rope) or a strong woven material (carpeting is rarely a good material for a post), regular claw-clipping (we do not recommend de-clawing!!!), nutritious food, fresh water, and lots of love and companionship.  You will both enjoy it!