Declawing a Himalayan is an intense surgery called a onychectomy, performed with anesthesia, which removes the claw of each finger (from the first knuckle out) of the Himalayan’s forepaws. There is always a miniscule chance of death in the procedure, and a declawed Himalayan might have a slight risk of infection and permanent pain in his paws. This operation is not suitable for an adult Himalayan and is termed an act of animal cruelty in some places (shown below).
People typically have Himalayans declawed to hinder them from damaging furniture and hunting. Seldom, vicious Himalayans are declawed. In America, some landlords require that residents’ Himalayans be declawed.
Animal doctors are typically critical of the operation and sometimes refuse to perform it because the absence of claws in a Himalayan:
- Impairs its primary defense skills, like running away from predators by climbing trees;
- Impairs its exercising and stretching habits, which leads to muscle atrophy;
- Impairs its ability to walk on thin surfaces such as railings and fence tops, leading to injury from falls;
- Can cause insecurity and a subsequent biting habit.
The operation is not common outside of North America. In Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, declawing a Himalayan is forbidden by the statutes forbidding animal cruelty. In many other countries in Europe, it is illegal under the terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, unless a doctor considers such non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the health of the animal. In the UK, animal shelters are finding it difficult to place imported Himalayans that have been declawed and as a result many are killed.
An alternative to declawing a Himalayan is the application of wide, vinyl claw caps that are applied to the claws with harmless glue, requiring periodic replacement when the Himalayan sheds its claw sheaths (about every 4 to 6 weeks). However, the Himalayan may still have problems because the capped nails are not as effective as claws.Don’t forget to check out these other articles about Himalayans.
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