Frequently Asked Questions

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Should I Declaw My Cat?
People choose to declaw their cats for a number of reasons; protecting furniture, to keep from being scratched, etc. In many cases, cats are declawed before a problem has presented itself. Many people think it is supposed to be done just like a spay or neuter. Others choose to declaw rather than put in the time and effort training a new kitten where to scratch. Declawing can leave cats with a painful healing process, long-term health concerns, and numerous behavior problems. Larkspur Cat Clinic does not perform the declaw procedure.

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What Is Declawing?
The declawing procedure involves amputation of the last knuckle of all of a cats front toes. It is a painful procedure that can lead to secondary complications.

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What Are The Potential Complications Of Declawing?
Post-surgical complications: There are many complications that can occur after a declaw including abscess, nail re-growth if poorly performed, infection, long term pain and complications to anesthesia.

Pain: It is impossible to know how much chronic pain and suffering a declaw causes, because cats are unable to express these in human terms. There is no reason to believe that cats would suffer less from a painful amputation than a human, especially as they are forced to bear weight on their surgery sites. Cats are stoic creatures, and typically conceal pain or illness until it becomes overwhelming. With chronic pain, they simply learn to live and cope with it. Their behavior may appear "normal," but a lack of overt signs of pain does not mean that they are pain-free.

Infection: Incisions on the toes may become infected.

Joint Stiffness: Declawing changes a catís walking motion and may lead to the development of arthritis.

Litterbox Problems: Statistics prove that declawed cats have more litterbox problems than clawed cats. Some experts say litterbox avoidance after declawing is directly linked to pain when scratching at the litter.

Biting: Cats who are declawed are more likely to become biters. Many declawed cats turn to biting as a primary means of defense.

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HELP!! My Cat Is Clawing Up My Furniture
Clawing is a normal action that cats use to keep their claws and toes in shape and mark their territory with scent glands on their pads. If a cat is provided appropriate places to scratch (scratching posts, cardboard scratching mats, carpet sample squares, etc) they can be trained to leave furniture alone.

Scratching Posts: There are many varieties of scratching posts available. You may have to try several different kinds before you find the one your cat likes the best. Cats also enjoy being high off the ground, so a tall cat tree is often preferred. You can train your cat to use a scratching post. It will take a little time and patience, but is well worth it. The cost of a great cat tree will be far less than the cost of a declaw.

Nail Trims: Keeping the catís nails trimmed will help with furniture and scratching. A blunt nail will cause less damage. We would be happy to teach you how to trim your catís nails.

Soft Paws: Soft paws are acrylic caps that are glued onto the cats nail. They fall off in about 4-6 weeks and need to be reapplied.

Other Tips: A scat mat can be laid in front of the couch or any other area you do not want the cat to scratch. The scat mat will deliver a charge of static electricity and the cat will avoid the area (even after the scat mat is removed).
Foil or double stick tape can be applied to furniture to deter the cat from those areas.

Carpet runners turned upside down (the underside has knobs the cat will not want to stand on) in front of furniture will also deter the cat from areas owners don't want them to be.

Punishment: Cats don't understand physical punishment. Punishment simply doesn't work and is likely to make your situation worse. Cats will react with referred aggression causing them to respond to you aggressively. As smart as your cat is she will not understand that she is being spanked for scratching up the couch. In addition, this may make her insecure and stimulate her to scratch more or develop other undesirable behavior problems. Eventually you may break the trust and security that is the basis for your cat's relationship with you.

Larkspur Cat Clinic will not declaw your cat.

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Should My Cat Be Spayed Or Neutered? When?
Spayed or neutered?: All pet cats should be spayed (females) or neutered (males). In addition to preventing unwanted litters, there are behavior and health benefits as well. For instance, female cats left unspayed have a significantly higher risk of mammary cancer. Unneutered male cats are more likely to spray urine as a territorial marker. Kittens should be spayed or neutered sometime between 4 and 5 months of age.

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Is It Really Important For My Cat To Be Seen Every Year?
Check-ups and immunizations: All kittens should have a series of immunizations to provide protection from common viruses as their immunity from their mom is diminishing. Immunizations we recommend for older cats depend on each catís unique circumstances. More important than immunizations is a detailed physical examination. This allows us to identify any subtle changes in overall health and provide early intervention. Cats age about 7 times faster than humans do. A lot can change in just a few months!

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