Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Declaw surgery, also known as onychectomy, generally involves the surgical removal of the claw and all or a portion of the last bone in each digit. It is usually performed on the front paws only. Younger cats (under 1 year of age) tolerate the procedure better than older or obese cats that bear more weight on their paws.
Scratching on surfaces is a natural behavior for cats. It’s how cats sharpen their claws and mark their territory. But when cats scratch on household items like furniture, stereo speakers, rugs, and screen doors, it can be seen as destructive behavior. In most cases, this behavior can be avoided by training cats to scratch on more appropriate surfaces, such as scratching posts, and by keeping their nails trimmed.
Because the procedure can be very painful, it’s best to explore other alternatives before deciding to declaw your cat. Cats that go outdoors generally shouldn’t be declawed because it deprives them of a primary mode of defense against other animals.
There are a number of steps you can take to prevent destructive scratching:
Yes. The technique varies depending on the preference of the veterinarian. There are two traditional surgical techniques, which involve using either a scalpel or a clipper to remove the claw. A third surgical technique uses a laser to remove the claw. With this procedure, there is relatively little bleeding, and some
cats (especially young cats that are not overweight) have less postoperative pain. Laser declawing tends to be more expensive than other techniques, and not every veterinarian has the equipment to perform this procedure. A final technique, called a tendonectomy, does not remove the claws, but instead cuts the tendons on the underside of the paw. With this procedure, the claws remain retracted in the paw, so they generally can’t cause harm as long as they are trimmed on a regular basis.
Replace your regular litter with shredded newspaper or commercial litter made of newspaper until your cat’s paws have healed. This is to prevent granules of litter from becoming embedded in the healing tissues.
Your veterinarian can provide some kind of pain medication, either in the form of a skin patch and/or oral pain medications.
Some cats may experience temporary lameness after declaw surgery. If you notice any swelling, bleeding, or discharge, or if the lameness doesn’t improve, see your veterinarian.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Dean McCrea and Meredith Warren were
shocked to hear that their cat, who went
missing in 2005, was at an animal…
Slacking on litterbox maintenance or
never washing your pet's toys is more
problematic than you may realize.
We asked our Facebook fans to share
their best tips for first-time cat owners,
and here's how they responded.
Mouthing at clothing can be a frustrating
behavior — but it's one that can be
unlearned, says trainer Mikkel…
Does your kitty ever take kibble away
from his dish and munch on it in another
spot? Here's what's going on.
A people-loving dog who hails from Italy,
the Bracco Italiano is usually happiest
when he's with his family or out…
Parasites are no fun for dogs. Learn how
to protect your canine from heartworms,
hookworms, whipworms and more.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Visit HealthyPet magazine for interviews with pet-loving celebrities, health advice from our experts, training tips and…
Thank you for subscribing.