A Coupeville veterinarian is using a safer and more humane alternative to declawing cats.
Dr. Donna DeBonis of All Whidbey Pet Hospital and Supplies uses a product called Soft Paws, which are vinyl nail caps that glue onto a cat’s claws. The amazing product effectively covers the claws so no damage occurs when the cat scratches.
“What I find particularly appealing,” DeBonis said of the product that was developed by a veterinarian, “is that they still allow the cat to exercise its shoulders by making a clawing motion, so these muscles do not atrophy.”
A new video on www.youtube.com features DeBonis applying Soft Paws to the clinic mascot cat, Mike. The video enables cat owners to learn how to apply Soft Paws to their cats’ claws.
Declawing is an operation that amputates the joints above the base of the nails for the front claws only. DeBonis said the surgery is extremely traumatic for the pet. Some Humane Societies are actually calling veterinary hospitals to ascertain whether a prospective adopter has had a cat declawed. If so, then the Humane Society refuses to adopt a cat to them. Declawed cats sometimes become particularly bad-tempered.
“In my experience, approximately half the declawed cats become very hard biters because they can no longer defensively claw,” DeBonis said. “Some cats can experience longterm problems from a declaw, including pain, limping, re-growth of nails, protruding bone from the incision, and bleeding. “
Soft Paws are small nail caps that are very easy to apply and come in several different colors. As the name suggests, the caps have a soft texture.
While the quality of the video on the Internet is not perfect, the viewer can clearly see how fast the nail caps can be applied. Mike the mascot cat was lightly restrained by an assistant while DeBonis first clipped the nails down.
“All I do is place a drop of adhesive that comes in the Soft Paws kit into the nail cap then slide the cap onto the nail,” she said. “It takes just a fraction of a second.”
The cat should be restrained in a cage or small room for several minutes after applying the set of Soft Paws to allow the glue to set. The Soft Paws come in different sizes and colors and are even available for dogs.
“Basically, you can decorate all your pets so that they don’t harm you, scratch your little kids, or hurt the furniture,” the vet continued. “If a dog or cat are scratching themselves up, you can apply Soft Paws to protect their skin. Plus, you can even reuse them if they come off.”
DeBonis has used one Soft Paws kit of 40 caps for a year-and-a-half. The nail caps for cats take home kit, which includes 40 nail caps and two tubes of glue, costs $25.95 per package.
“You can’t get much more economical than that,” she said.
The Coupeville vet is hoping to educate pet owners with the video and dissuade them from declawing their animals, a practice that has been banned in the city of West Hollywood, Calif.
The one-minute video can be viewed from All Whidbey Pet Hospital and Supplies’ Web site at www.allwhidbeypet.com. Once on the Web site, click on “Declaw or SoftPaws.” For more information about Soft Paws, call DeBonis at 678-0888.