Cat declawing is a surgery that some people consider for their cats - sometimes to save the furniture, and sometimes because people are used to a time when this procedure was more common.
Declawing your cat should not be taken lightly. It is a surgery, and a painful one for your cat. There can be complications, both from the anesthetic and in the healing process.
What Is Declawing?
Declawing removes the end of the cat's joints where the nail beds are
located. In humans, this would be comparable to removing the end of a
finger at the first joint. Sometimes this is standard surgery, but some
vets are beginning to use laser surgery.
What Are The Complications?
Complications can come from the surgery itself - some cats can have a reaction to the anesthetic - or during the healing process. Bleeding and infection need to be carefully watched. Cats can have trouble walking properly for weeks to months, if the surgery was done on an adult cat.
How Will It Affect My Cat?
Some cats behave normally after the healing is complete, while others may feel threatened more easily and can become nippy. If the cat had claws into adulthood, stopping, turning corners and balance may be affected.
If your cat goes outside AT ALL, don't declaw your cat! Your cat will be defenseless against other animals, and will not be able to climb up on things or trees to escape threats!
If you are considering declawing due to furniture scratching, please read our section on scratching post training first.
We can help you with how to trim your cat's nails, too!
With a bit of training and nail care, most cats will learn when it is appropriate to use their claws. However, some people do decide to have their cat declawed as a last resort, if the choice for them comes down to having the surgery or giving up their pet. The decision to declaw your cat should never be made quickly, and always after discussion with your vet.
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