Helmi Flick on Cat Declawing

Helmi Flick on Cat Declawing

Helmi Flick on cat declawing is something to be read and digested. As you can see Helmi Flick contributes hugely to this website with her photography. She and her husband Ken are cat lovers, and they live with 4 gorgeous cats.

Helmi and Ken talk to breeders, for whom Helmi takes photographs. They know a great deal about cats. Here is what Helmi has to say about declawing cats.

Helmi says,

“I have seen a cat (it was a Chausie – part Jungle Cat and part domestic shorthair) that was declawed and ended up crippled.”

That makes me wince. A fine animal that is active by nature crippled like that is taking away a part of the cat’s life.

Helmi makes it clear that there is no need for declawing,

“There is no need for this. Vets who are competent can declaw a cat by removing the part of the toe that contains the cells that make up the claw. But even this is not necessary.”

She makes reference to the fictional story on cat declawing (based on fact) that you can find here which she comments on.

Helmi and her cats

“My cats are not declawed. But I do not have rattan furniture in my house either! I do have cat scratching posts in my den, bedroom and living room as well as toys that have scratching areas. Cats like to stretch their body out, full length, and then scratch. Their claws have sheaths that itch when they are ready to come off and a new claw is underneath. If you have cats that have their claws you will see the sheaths around your house.”

Helmi clips her cats’ claws about once a month. It’s easy to do with the proper tool and one of their cats likes the attention. It’s a question of them getting used to it.

If you exhibit your cat at cat shows, all nails must be clipped. Helmi has, on one occasion, clipped the claws of 3 Persian cats (in 30 seconds), before a photographic session at her studio, when the client didn’t want to do it. Speed is important and speed comes from practice and doing it regularly is good practice.

Helmi reinforces her thoughts about cat declawing,

“I consider my cats to be part of my family. There is no furniture I have that is worth more to me than a living being. That is the choice I made when I decided to live with cats.”

Things to do instead of declawing

Here’s some of the things that you can do instead of cat declawing:

  • “Look for material for furniture/bed covers/etc. made of microfiber because it is great for not being of interest for cats to scratch on, plus it’s tightly woven so more impervious to ripping if a claw does catch in it.”
  • Or buy leather furniture (the author of this article can vouch for this as he has leather furniture for this reason). Leather furniture is “cat resistant” as Helmi calls it. Leather does not have the right kind of quality as fabric and (this is the author’s opinion) the claws do not travel through it smoothly or provide the right kind of friction needed to remove the outer “skin” of the claw. So, cats don’t (or hardly ever) scratch leather
  • Rattan or sea grass furniture and rugs are almost designed to be a scratching post for a cat
  • Ensure that there is something convenient to scratch in every room that your cat uses frequently
  • When your cat uses the scratching post/object praise using a warm tone of voice and when not criticize (author’s comment:in a tone of voice that sends the right message “lets them know” but not upset or terrify)
  • There is no need to clip back leg claws
  • Find a solution to something that is entirely natural to a cat

“It is easy to do. But make it fast. Better to cut the claws too long and do it more often than cut into the quick and make the claw bleed. Never do that. Use plenty of light and place the cat on a towel on your lap so it feels safe and can grab something besides your skin!

Thanks Helmi.

Helmi Flick on Cat Declawing to home page

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