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Research paper about declawing - why declawing cats is detrimental to their health and well-being.

Mary Dirilo
Monica Swaner
English 102
11 July 2016

When you think of cats, the first thing you probably think of is they scratch. Why do they scratch and is it necessary? What happens when a cat is declawed? And what is a cat without it's claws? These are the many questions asked when thinking about a cat and whether they should be declawed or not. Cats were made to have claws and if this is not acceptable then you shouldn't have a cat. This paper will explain the complications that happen during and after the declawing procedure. This paper will explain why declawing cats is detrimental to their health and well-being. The declawing procedure is called an onychectomy. "The declawing of domesticated cats is a hotly debated topic here in the U.S. and other countries as well." (Dr. Karen Becker)

Declawing involves the amputation, either by scalpel or laser, of the last joint of each toe. The skin is then pulled over the exposed joint and fixed in place with either glue or sutures. (Dr. Karen Becker).

This procedure is often compared to cutting off a person's fingers at the first knuckle. How can this be good for a cat? This is a brutal procedure and is very painful for the cat.

Declawing is a serious procedure and involves risks just like any other surgery. Some of the reasons not to declaw are; the pain of the procedure, the risk of infection, and the possibility of long-term consequences such as lameness, back and shoulder problems, litter box aversion, biting, and depression.

Clawing on objects or surfaces is a natural and necessary thing for cats to do. Cats claw on

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various surfaces for several reasons. Clawing is not a behavioral problem but a necessity. Grooming is necessary to maintain health and cleanliness. Scratching and licking prevents the fur from tangling, removes dead skin and hair, and helps to waterproof their coat.

Cats are known for their sleeping habits and when they wake up, they stretch. And when they stretch, they use the muscles in their backs, shoulders, legs, and feet. If the cat is declawed, it causes their feet to become permanently "contracted" which in turn causes arthritis of the toes. This makes it difficult to stretch their toe muscles. And of course, arthritis is a cause of chronic pain. Clawing is also used to mark their territory. These marks are visual and olfactory. The act of scratching deposits the cats scent from glands in their feet. (The facts about declawing and the alternatives). The most important reason a cat needs it's claws is for defense. Cats use their front claws against an enemy before any other weapon they may have. The cat would be in grave danger if they accidentally got outside and didn't have claws to defend themselves. If an indoor cat is declawed and has no way to defend themselves, they will resort to biting. Cats may find any situation that they think they need to defend themselves. Sometimes they just don't want to be bothered. There are sometimes complications during the surgical procedure as with any other surgery.

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The wounds on each toe are either filled with surgical glue or sutured closed. If the glue comes undone, which happens quite a bit, it will have to be re-applied post surgically when the cat is no longer anesthetized. This can be very painful for the cat because most surgical glue stings, besides the fact that their toes were just amputated. Sutures can also come undone or chewed out by the cat which causes profuse bleeding. Most of the time, the cats feet are bandaged before they wake up but they often will "shake" their feet until the bandages come off. The act of "shaking" their feet and flailing about also causes bleeding. Re-bandaging the feet post surgery is also very painful for the cat.

Another complication during the procedure is improper positioning of the tourniquet, which can cause permanent nerve damage to the limb. Sometimes the nerve damage may not be permanent and only last a week or so. But why take the risk of potentially injuring the cat for the rest of it's life. It is impossible to know how much pain the cat is in post surgically because cats do not show pain the way people do. Some signs are; elevated blood pressure, an increased pulse rate, fever, and limping. (paw-rescue.org). Cats may have chronic pain in one or both feet for the rest of their lives. They can also experience "phantom" pain the same as humans can. Also, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pads of the feet and off their sore toes. If this altered gait persists over time, it would cause stress on the leg joints and spine, which leads to arthritic changes to multiple joints. (Jean Hofve, DVM Declawing: A Rational Look).

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Many cats will have litter box problems following the procedure because it is painful for them to "scratch" in the litter. It is recommended to change the litter to torn up newspaper or paper towels for a couple weeks following the procedure so the regular litter does not enter the surgical wounds. Even with changing the litter to something "softer",

many cats still associate the litter box with pain and refuse to use it for the rest of their lives. Behavioral problems are also a common occurrence after declawing cats. Cats that are declawed are more likely to become biters when they feel threatened. This is not a good choice in homes with small children or individuals with immune issues. Some may think scratching is just as bad but teeth carry a bigger chance of infection than claws do. Another common problem is personality changes. A friendly, delightful kitten may become a morose, fearful, or reclusive cat. Or a cat that normally interacts with the household may resort to hiding in a closet all day. (Jean Hofve, DVM).

Neglect, abandonment, relinquishment, and abuse are also risks for cats that are declawed. If the cat urinates inappropriately or starts biting, they may be exiled to the outdoors where they are in danger from dogs, cars, wild predators, disease, being poisoned, and many other risks. Or they are dumped at a shelter because of these unwanted behaviors. Many people don't realize that the reason for these unwanted behaviors is from being declawed.

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As with any other surgical procedure, there is also the risk of death from general anesthesia. Or cats that are dumped at shelters become even more fearful and become

unadoptable and are eventually euthanized. Cats that are exiled to the outdoors are at risk of dying from getting hit by cars, predators, and other dangers.

Cats of any age can be trained not to scratch furniture or other objects. Although it is easier to start as a kitten. Many people don't know that they should provide a scratching post for their cats nor do they realize the cat needs to be trained to use it. Scratching is a normal and natural behavior for cats and if no appropriate place to scratch is provided, they will use furniture or other objects.

A good way to train cats to use a post is to watch their behavior. Do they go for long vertical scratching or lower scratching on the carpet? Then their behavior can be imitated by providing a tall post or one that sits on the floor. A vertical scratching post should be tall enough so that the cat is able to stretch to it's full height. The most common coverings for these posts are wood, sisal rope, or carpeting. The post also needs to be very sturdy because if it wobbles, the cat is unlikely to use it. Many of these posts will feature hidey holes, dangly toys, and lounging platforms which cats really seem to like.

If there is no space for a cat tree or post, there are other options available. There are smaller scratching posts, mats, and ones to hang on the doorknob. Another option

is cardboard scratchers that are placed on the floor.

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With scratching posts, think "location, location, location. " Where the post is located is very important to a cat. Always start with where the cat likes to scratch, which may

be the sofa. Then gradually move the post to its final destination. Catnip can also be "rubbed" on the post to make it more attractive. Some other ideas to save furniture is to drape a blanket or towel over the arm of the chair or couch. Cats like the resistance upholstery gives them so if a blanket or towel slips off and falls on their head, they quickly lose interest in that spot. Another simple method is to use double-sided tape. Most of the products on the market today do not damage furniture but feels bad to the cats feet. The one drawback is it has to be replaced monthly but in many cases applying the tape once or twice is enough to keep the cat away permanently. Another product for purchase is a thick plastic "sheet" that can be hooked onto furniture without damage but keeps the cat from clawing because they are not able to "grip" it with their claws. The drawback to this product is it can be costly but can be worth it to save furniture. For cats that just won't stop scratching inappropriately, replaceable soft plastic caps for the claws called "Soft Paws" are a good solution. These caps are glued onto the nail and come off by themselves in 4-6 weeks, at which point will need to be replaced. They come in many colors and will probably need to be applied by a professional or can be done at home. These caps really work well and cats tolerate them well also.

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The last alternative to declawing would be to keep the cats nails trimmed on a monthly basis. This will keep the nails blunt and will minimize damage to furniture and other objects. It is best to start training the cat for nail trims when they are young, but if this is not possible, it helps to have another person hold while another person cuts the nails. Veterinary professionals or groomers can teach anyone how to trim nails properly.

Why are claws important to a cats well-being? By scratching various surfaces, cats create a visual and scent identification to mark their territory. Claws provide psychological comfort through kneading, help the cat climb to safety or a secure vantage point, and help the cat fully stretch its back and legs. A declawed cat can never again experience any of these things! Declawing cats is illegal and considered inhumane in many countries around the world. This procedure once thought to be simple and painless has become a hotly debated topic here in the United States. Please do not declaw!

This research paper is against declawing cats. I'm having a hard time making it long enough (8-10 pages)
Also need help with proper wording. thanks!

Hi Dirilo, I think it is better for you to immediately delete or edit your feedback in Payal's essay. A feedback like that is considered as meaningless and less helpful. Never write a single sentence feedback to any essays in this forum. This can lead to a temporary or permanent suspension. I know that this is a common problem for a new member. Therefore, I suggest you to do that. You have 20 minutes only to re-edit your feedback or perhaps better delete it and make a new one. I think that it will be really unfortunate to be suspended in this valuable website.

However, about your essay, I would like to point out some of your weaknesses in this research paper. I hope you can find my feedback below is helpful.

- Research paper should be written academically. I think you have violated some of the academic essay/paper rules. First, never write FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) in the beginning of the sentence. FANBOYS are coordinating conjunctions, not cohesive devices. This would make your paper becomes less formal. There are some proper cohesive devices rather than using FANBOYS. For instance, For = With regards to/meanwhile/while, And = in addition/additionally, But = however/nevertheless/notwithstanding, and many more.

- I have no idea why did you separate your paragraphs becomes dirilo 1 until 7. Are those page numbers? Why don't you just write page 1 - 7? I think that it is quite short for a page. But I assume that you make the font bigger and wide space per line to make it 1 page even if it is short.

- You need to proofread your essay about "plural and singular", "inaccurate complex sentences", and "subject-verb agreement" issues. I have found some of them but it was quite random due to many pages that you have written. If you still have any difficulties to find it, just post the revision below, and I would like to point out those mistakes for you.

Good luck for that :)
Hi Mary, first stop, when it comes to editing or deleting your post or review on someone else's essay, it can only be done in 20 minutes after posting your review, this will be a chance for you to either edit your review or completely delete it, otherwise it will be posted as final. On the other hand, however true that this is one of the grounds for suspension, EF reserves the right to check and verify your post, as you are a new member, they will not suspend you automatically, they will give you feedback and guidelines on proper posting and review, after a few reminders and one still commits the same mistake, that's when one gets suspended, so relax :)

Moving forward, the fact that this is a research paper, an intensive understanding and research of the topic is definitely what will solve your problem. One practice that I do when writing a research paper is that, I make sure to follow through the process, the stages, from the introductory, to the body and to the gathering of information all the way to the conclusion of the paper, this way, you will be able to not only progress properly, but you will also be able to nail all the necessary details that a research paper needs.

Having said that, your issue on the length of the essay will be solved if you follow the steps religiously. Going back to your writing, I believe the information needs to researched further, your citations are definitely needed, as this is the basis of your research and the only way for the reviewers to verify the source of the information in the paper. I hope to review the final paper soon.

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