Declawing Your Cat – Pros and Cons

At one time or another, every cat owner has probably looked at their shredded couch corners or drapes and wished that their beloved pet didn’t have such sharp claws. In fact, some owners don’t just wish, but take the step of surgically declawing their cats.

I’d like to address this practice (which I strongly oppose), its pros and cons, and give you my take on it.


To declaw a cat, you have to go to your veterinarian. It’s a surgical procedure that requires general anesthesia and some recovery time. Declawing is not simple, nor easy – it’s about amputating the last joints in a cat’s toes.

This is serious surgery with permanent consequences. Imagine if you had the last joint of all your fingers cut off. Copper kettle┬áThink of how your world would be and how you behave in it. It would change you forever. I don’t think it’s a stretch to make this comparison.

After declawing, also called Onychectomy, the cat must stay in the hospital for a time. As with many procedures, the ideal time to declaw is when the cat is 3 to 5 months of age, and it’s not recommended at all for older cats.

With bandaged paws, the cat is sent home for a recovery that can be painful and psychologically traumatic. Cats need their paws to do everyday tasks, such as walking and using the litter box. As I mentioned, think of if you lost all your finger tips. Things we rarely give much thought to, like picking up a pencil or turning the pages of a book, become a big deal.

While the cat is recovering, exercise must be restricted, especially jumping. The cat should not be active for about a week. If the cat breaks open a scab and the bleeding doesn’t stop in about 20 minutes, he/she will need a vet.

Regular litter must be replaced by shredded paper for a week or so. The smaller bits of clay litter or sand can get stuck in the cat’s paws where the wounds are and cause infection.

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