Declawing the Russian White is an intense procedure called a onychectomy, performed using anesthesia, which eliminates the claw from each digit (from the first knuckle out) of the Russian White’s forepaw. There’s a slight chance of a fatality in the operation, and a declawed Russian White might experience a slight risk of infection and permanent pain in its paws. This surgery isn’t suitable for an adult Russian White and is labeled an act of animal cruelty in some regions (as shown below).
People usually have Russian Whites declawed to hinder them from damaging furniture and hunting. Rarely, vicious Russian Whites are declawed. In the United States, some landlords require that residents’ Russian Whites be declawed.
Veterinarians are usually critical of the operation and sometimes decline to do it since the lack of claws in a Russian White:
- Deprives it of its main self defense abilities, like running away from predators by climbing trees;
- Deprives it of its exercising and stretching habits, leading to muscle atrophy;
- Hinders its ability to balance on narrow surfaces such as fence tops and railings, which could lead to injury from falling;
- Can lead to insecurity and a subsequent tendency to bite.
This operation is rare outside of North America. In Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, declawing a Russian White is forbidden per the statutes against animal cruelty. In many other countries in Europe, it is not allowed under the terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, unless a vet deems such non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the health of the animal. In England, animal shelters find it difficult to place imported Russian Whites that have been declawed and subsequently many are killed.
One alternative to declawing a Russian White is the application of blunt, vinyl nail caps that are affixed to the claws with harmless glue, sometimes requiring changing when the Russian White loses its claw sheaths (about every four to six weeks). Yet, the Russian White may still experience difficulties because the capped nails are not as effective as claws.Don’t forget to check out these other articles about Russian Whites.
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