The choice to declaw a cat or not is one that many pet owners struggle with. Clawing habits in cats can be destructive, especially if you have children around the house. Some people consider cat declawing to keep their babies safe. However, some pet owners don’t even want to imagine the possibility of declawing cats.

Making this choice can be difficult, especially when you are not sure about the benefits and disadvantages it comes with. Is it necessary for your cat to undergo declawing procedure? To answer this, it helps to learn about the process itself and anything else pertinent to the subject. You may also have concerns like how much does it cost to get a cat declawed? This guide explores some of the upsides, downsides, and any viable alternatives to declawing cats.

The Procedure of Declawing Cats

The process to declaw a cat is surgical. This means you have to find a veterinarian with the right skills and experience. How your cat responds to the procedure will depend on the competency of the vet. Declawing requires the animal to be put under anesthesia first. What happens after that is that the doctor will remove the claw using one of two methods; laser or scalpel.

This procedure involves an incision that disarticulates the claw at the distal phalanx. The distal phalanx bone is the same as the last knuckle on a human finger in that it provides support to the claw. During the surgery, the vet extracts the entire last bone. Using a scalpel or laser ensures that there are no bone splinters left behind, which may cause a regrowth of the claw. Declawing a cat requires precision, which is why the process may take a considerable while. Note that declawing is a permanent change because the claws will not grow back.


A cat that has been through declawing can start walking a few hours after surgery. In a day, you can expect your cat to move around the home. However, the age of your feline friend will come into play. Cats which are two years or older will take a substantial amount of time before they can start moving normally. Of course, the care you give your cat will determine how fast the recovery goes.

Using shredded paper in the litter box is one way you can offer a comfortable area for your pet to recover. Alternatively, you can get special cat litter called Yesterday’s News. Your vet can provide several pain management protocols. These include medications to help your pet get through this stage.

veterinary injecting cat

Other Basics

One common question from pet owners who consider the process is how old do cats have to be to get declawed? Young cats are more suited for declawing because they have better chances of healing in appropriate time. If your cat is being neutered/spayed, then it is best to have all the procedures done at the same time so that your pet only goes through all of them once.

How much is it to declaw a cat? This question is another priority for any pet owner, considering the procedure. Being a surgical procedure, a vet will charge more for declawing. However, the exact price depends on the level of care the animal clinic will provide. Besides the procedure, some of the basics you may have to pay for include:

  • Preoperative exam;
  • Anesthesia and monitoring;
  • V. administration;
  • Post-operative medication;
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medication to use at home.

In some instances, your cat may stay overnight at the animal hospital for monitoring, and that means paying more. Talk to your vet beforehand and learn of the different charges involved in declawing cats.

PROs and CONS of Declawing Cats

When weighing the decisions to declaw cat or not, it helps to see both sides of the argument. What advantages do you gain if your cat undergoes the procedure and what are the potential cons?

Risks of Claws

  • Clawing can ruin good furniture in a matter of days. Having your cat running around jumping on your luxury leather sofas may not end very well.
  • Cat claws can inflict maximum damage in the house with scratches and punctures on the fabric. Declawing cats saves homeowners the cost of replacing couch fabrics every few months.
  • A cat’s scratch can be very painful and may even leave a scar. When you have toddlers that run around with their feline friend, they may end up getting hurt. This can happen particularly when you are not around to watch them. Declawing gives a parent peace of mind when she/he leaves the pet with the little ones.

Risks of Declawing

  • The argument against declawing a cat is that the procedure is very painful and may leave your pet uncomfortable for a considerable period. Some vets equal declawing to an amputation of a cat’s paws.
  • Some experts say that a cat can have behavioral issues after declawing because it needs to readjust to the environment. It is possible for a cat to become more aggressive because declawing leaves him/her almost defenseless.
  • Declawing cats that spend most of their days outdoors may leave them vulnerable to attacks from other animals. Cats use their claws and teeth for defense and taking one of those weapons away can be counterproductive. Most vets advise against declawing outdoor cats.

cat using scratching post

Possible Alternatives

If clawing has become a genuine problem for your cat, declawing is not the only option available.

  • One of the declawing cats alternatives is to use Soft Paws. The plastic nail caps cover your cat’s claws so that she/he doesn’t scratch the furniture.
  • Trimmings your cat’s nails is also advisable if you want to keep your home safe from punctures and tears.
  • Experts advise pet owners to seclude parts of their homes for cats to scratch. You can train your feline companion to adopt to these scratching posts.

Down to Claws

Cat declawing continues to raise serious debates. But ultimately it is a personal decision. Sometimes a pet owner may not have many choices when it comes to this decision. For example, a household that has a member with a bleeding disorder or a compromised immune system may not afford even a single scratch from a cat.

Instead of giving up your feline friend to a shelter, declawing may be the most viable solution. Pet owners should get all the facts on declawing cats before making the final decision.

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