Cat Declawing Facts

The Facts About Declawing Cats:

It is a fact that cats living totally indoors will live, on average, at least 2‐3 times longer than an outside cat because of dogs, cat fights, cars, disease & abusive people. It makes sense to help your cat live the best life possible by keeping it inside your home and making it an acceptable member of your family. This may or may not include declawing and is a personal decision to be made by each family.

MYTH: Declawed cats cannot climb trees.
FACT: Declawed cats are not defenseless. Cats do not fight with only their front claws. They bite and scratch with the rear feet. They can still climb trees (to escape) without front claws, although it is recommended that declawed cats remain indoors.

MYTH: A cat past kitten age is too old to be declawed.
FACT: No cat is too old to be declawed. However, the younger the cat is when surgery is performed, the faster the recovery. Often, 8‐16 week old kittens are recovered the next day after surgery. Older cats will receive an extended course of pain medication.

MYTH: After declawing, cats become fearful and have behavior changes that affect the relationship with the owner.
FACT: Numerous scientific studies show no behavior changes post‐declaw. In one survey, 70% of owners reported an improved relationship with their cat post‐declawing.

MYTH: Declawed cats are more likely to bite since they can no longer claw
FACT: Declawed cats do not seem to realize they are without claws. They continue to exhibit “scratching” behavior but without claws, thus eliminating any damage from the claws.

MYTH: Declawed cats do not use litterboxes again.
FACT: Declawed cats do not lose their litterbox instinct. They will need special litter in the immediate post‐operative period, but can return to regular litter as soon as the incisions are healed.

MYTH: The post‐operative period involves tremendous pain.
FACT: Declawed cats are sore immediately after surgery. They receive narcotic pain control, laser therapy and antiinflammatories while in the hospital and go home with a long acting slow release narcotic injection that provides 3 additional days of pain control. Recovery is complete in a week for most pets.

What Is Involved?

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The last joint of the toe that contains the claw is surgically removed. This is a non weight bearing joint. The surgical incisions are closed with surgical adhesive. Narcotic pain medications are given while hospitalized and a laser treatment is used to decrease pain and inflammation. The feet can be sore for 1‐2 weeks, but excessive post‐operative pain is rare except in older, overweight cats. Special litter recommendations are made to ensure that nothing sticks to the feet to cause an infection. Otherwise no special home care is required.

Download Handout