To Declaw or Not to Declaw

soft paws alternative to declaw

Declawing is a very controversial topic when it comes to cat ownership. Lets look at the facts.

It is a major surgery.

It is an amputation of part of the cats “finger” and not just a big trimming of the claw.

It is painful.

But when should you consider declawing your cat?

soft paws alternative to declaw

Declawing your cat is not a medically necessary procedure. It is not like a spay or a neuter. It does not benefit the physical or mental health of your cat. However, there are times when a cats clawing can become so destructive that it may be considered necessary. 

Before declawing you should try behavior modification training and tools.

How to Stop Your Cat From Clawing

Scratching post- Oh you know this one and are likely rolling your eyes reading about this but bare with me. For some cats providing a scratching post is a great alternative to your couch. If your cat is not showing interest, try rubbing cat nip on it or spraying it with a cat nip spray. Often times the biggest issue with scratching posts is that there are not enough of them. When you are training your cat to use a post instead of your couch you need to have a scratching post in front of everything they scratch. You cannot offer them an alternative that is not the scratching post. If there are things they scratch despite the scratching post, try making the scratching post smell good and the other thing smell bad. There are deterrent sprays you can get that will repel your cat.

Positive and Negative reinforcement– This takes consistency. If your cat is scratching you need to give them a negative reinforcement such as a loud whistle they dislike or spraying them with water. When they scratch on the scratching post you need to praise them with pets and treats. This tells them what the desirable and undesirable behaviors are. For this to be effective you have to be extremely consistent with your cat. If you are away for long periods of time, it may not be effective. Also, if you do not deter your cat in the moment of them scratching it won’t work. The only way they will associate a loud noise or water spray with scratching is if it happens when they are doing it. DO NOT punish your cat after scratching has occurred. 

Soft Paws – Soft paws are a great way to keep your scratching cat from doing damage. These are little rubber tips that slip over your cats nails. They keep the nails from being able to scratch and they look cute on your cat giving their nails a little splash of color. With soft paws, even if they do scratch they will cause no damage. The downside is you have to replace them every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your cat. 

Keep in mind that scratching is normal behavior for cats. Even cats that are declawed will still do the scratching action even though there are no nails. 

If despite trying behavior training, your cat is causing too match damage to your home or to your person, then it may be time to consider declawing. Typically you only declaw the front paws as that is what is doing the damage. It is a quick surgery that takes a few days for them to recover. If you are unsure if declawing is the right option for you, then talk to your Albuquerque veterinarian and discuss your options. 

How Your Cats Face Shape (and other body parts) Affects Their Health

flat faced cat health

Have you ever taken a quiz that told you what your face shape says about your personality? I have no idea if that is real but your cats face shape is a real thing.  The shape of your cats face may tell you more than you realize about them. 

 

Science looks to the body of the cat to tell us vital information about their heritage, breeding, and health. The shape of your cats face could indicate a propensity for certain health issues. Often times these things have been bred into your cat because the trait is considered visually desirable. Cats with squished fluffy faces are cute. Who doesn’t love the short-legged kittens? A cat with no tail? Well that is just exotic and interesting. Folded ears make their little heads look so round and squishable. But these traits, just because they have been breeded in, are often bad for the cat. They look cute but could are not cute from a health perspective. 

 

  1. Brachycephalic cats — the breeds with flat, squishy faces —among the brachycephalic cat breeds are Persian, Himalayan and exotic short-hair cats. These cats are showing a higher likelihood of breathing problems.
  2. No Tail cats like Manx cats which can have no tails at all are prone to hind end problems such as nerve issues, hip issues, and incontinence. 
  3. Munchkin cats are the cats with dwarfism leaving them with little tiny legs. The cats look super cute but they come with a host of problems associated with dwarfism including curved spine, undersized jaw, and joint issues. 
  4. Folded ears as seen in Scottish Folds. Their ears are folded because of a cartilage issue. This issue also leads to cartilage issues in their whole body and often cause osteoarthritis. 

If you have a cat that has one of these shapes or body part conditions we suggest you speak with your Albuquerque veterinarian about possible health concerns and what you may be able to do to help you cat. 

 

What Vaccines Does My Cat Need?

Albuquerque Cat Vaccine Schedule
Albuquerque Cat Vaccine Schedule

It is spring time and time to get your cat his vaccinations. We offer a daily walk in shot clinic to make it easy for your cat to get her shots anytime she needs them. If you don’t remember what shots your cat needs, don’t worry because if you’ve had them at Vetco before then we have the records. But here is a quick summary of the typical cat vaccinations, what they are for, why you need them, and when you need them,

Rabies

Rabies is one of the few viruses that can go from an animal to a human. Typically a human needs to be bitten by a rabid animal to contract the virus. The problem with rabies is that there is no cure. If a cat is suspected as having rabies they will be euthanized. However, if you get the vaccine, which is required by the city, you won’t need to worry about it. There is an annual vaccine or the one every three years vaccine.

Feline Combo

  • Feline Panleukopenia (FP), aka. Feline Distemper, was the leading cause of death. Thanks to the vaccine it is now an uncommon disease. This is a highly contagious disease. There is a risk of death if contracted, but treatments are available.
  • Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis (FVR) is a herpes virus. It is a major cause of upper respiratory disease and the most common cause of conjunctivitis. This is highly contagious, but most cats will recover from it with treatment.
  • Calicivirus is a major cause of upper respiratory infection in cats. This virus is highly contagious and is spread via saliva or from nose or eye secretions. After the infection has cleared up most cats will be a carrier for a few months, but some can remain a carrier for life.
  • Feline Chlamydia is a bacterial based chronic respiratory infection. The vaccination does not prevent infection, but it does reduce the severity of it.

The feline combo is given once every three years.

Feline Leukemia

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. The virus is spread through body secretions like saliva, feces, urine, milk, and nasal secretions. Most cats who contract FeLV will die. This is an annual vaccine.

Bordatella

This is a contagious respiratory infection that is transmitted through body secretions like saliva, urine, feces, and nose secretions. Many kennels will require this shot before letting your. cat stay. Most cats will not die from it and will recover with treatment. This is an annual vaccine.