Declawing your Cat

A quick internet search on feline de-clawing gives you quite a few strong opinions on this subject. You might be made to feel like a terrible cat owner just for even thinking about de-clawing your cat! You shouldn’t feel that way. Let me briefly discuss it with you.

If done properly, a cat will not be painful for the rest of its life. Most of our clients tell us that the cat came home and acted as if nothing had happened. They weren’t limping, or hiding or doing anything unusual. We do send them home with a few days of pain medications. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of our clients don’t even bother giving it though.

It won’t change your cat’s personality. They won’t get more aggressive because they can’t shred your couch! There is the argument that a key part of their lifestyle/ instinct has been affected by de-clawing them, but my argument is that their life is already artificial because we are not letting them go outside and roam and hunt. That is far more opposite to their instinct than scratching your furniture. Of course we don’t de-claw cats that might go outside because they need their claws to defend themselves. And it is safer for them inside!

It won’t make them more likely to urinate out of the litter box. Cats have more ways than scratching and urinating to express themselves.

Yes, we are cutting out the majority of the first 1/3 of the digit. I leave in a small piece of that bone because it actually helps support their weight so that their gait is NOT affected by de-clawing. Then I gently cauterize any blood vessels that are bleeding and close the incision with surgical glue so that there is a nice tight seal. The older methods closed the skin with sutures and cat litter could get into the gaps between the sutures causing infections. That’s why previous surgeons asked that you used recycled newspaper litter since that would be less irritating if it got between sutures. We do not recommend any changes to your choice of cat litter. In fact, if someone says the cat urinated out of the box after its de-clawing procedure, perhaps it was because they didn’t like the recycled newspaper.

We don’t push de-clawing, but if the cat is not being appropriate with its nails, and good scratching posts in nice quiet locations are not helping the situation, there is nothing wrong with having it done. I’m sure many cats get re-homes BECAUSE the cat was not de-clawed.