Declawing Your Cat

When cats are made to live with us in our homes this is a somewhat unnatural environment for them. However, considering coyotes, dogs, cars, disease or troublesome kids there is no doubt that keeping your cat indoors is definitely the smart thing to do.

Is your cat damaging or ruining your draperies, carpeting or furniture?  Perhaps your kitty is scratching you every time he/she is picked up (some people are very sensitive to cat scratch infections)? It makes us all upset when our pets do things around the house that we don't like, even when we realize that the cat is only doing "what comes naturally", i.e. using it's claws.

Undesirable scratching can sometimes be controlled with behavior modification (shaking a can of coins, squirting the kitty with water, applying double sided sticky tape to furniture, etc.). Providing the cat with a scratching post will encourage some cats to leave the furniture alone. Plastic "nail caps" can be applied with adhesive and replaced as needed. However, if you have "tried everything"


  1. Making your cat an acceptable member of the family is a valid need.
  2. Declawing (when properly done) is not cruel (in our collective opinion).

  3. Declawed cats are not defenseless. Cats do not fight with their front claws. They bite and scratch with their rear feet. They can still climb trees (to escape) without front claws.
  4. No cat is too old to be declawed.  However, the younger the cat is when the surgery is performed the faster the recovery (6-8 week old kittens are often running all over the house the  next day after the operation).
  5. The rear feet can also be declawed (often at the same time that the front feet are done). It is recommended only if your cat damages you or your furniture with the back feet.

The surgery involves the removal of the nails (which includes some bone and tissue) from the end of the toes. Usually only the front feet are operated on since they are responsible for the majority of the damage. A general anesthetic is used so there is no pain. One overnight stay in the hospital is required. The feet are sore for 1-2 weeks but excessive postoperative pain is extremely rare. A special surgical adhesive often eliminates stitches, prevents infection and numbs the nerves (reducing pain). The only home care necessary is giving the cat some pain control medication (easy-to-administer liquid) for the first few days after the surgery. A special litter is recommended for the box for the first 2 weeks after surgery so that nothing sticks to the feet.


Web site designed by Ed Acton for Tri-City Pet Hospital