is it harmful to declaw a cat

Declawing can cause paw pain, back pain, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death) and lameness. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s feet meet the ground and can cause pain like wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. Improperly removed claws can regrow, causing nerve damage and bone spurs.

What does declawing a cat mean?

Declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the removal of a cat’s claws so they will not grow back. There’s a common misconception that declawing cats involves simply pulling out the nail and its root, but what actually takes place is an invasive surgical procedure. The veterinarian amputates the cat’s toes up to the first joint (knuckle). For comparison, it’s the equivalent of cutting off the tips of all your fingers.

Trupanion veterinarian Dr. states, “If the decision has been made to declaw, it should be performed earlier in life rather than later.” Caroline Wilde, expressing her personal disapproval of the process Depending on the method employed, a cat’s recovery can take anywhere from one to two weeks. Recovery time increases after one year of age. ”.

Wilde lists the following possible health issues that declawing cats could cause:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Regrowing claws (rare, but possible in cases of poorly executed procedures)

“Laser declaw reduces the chance of complications and expedites the healing process,” says Wilde. “It is less painful and bleeding is minimized. ”.

Lead author Nicole Martell-Moran is a veterinarian from Texas who serves as a director of the Paw Project, a group dedicated to putting an end to cat declawing.

Declawed cats are more likely to experience difficulty walking because they must walk on the soft cartilage that used to be a part of their joints because the tips of their toes have been removed. They may experience chronic pain, and they have a history of chewing at the tips of their paws. Furthermore, a lot of owners discover that following surgery, their cats become more aggressive.

Cats who undergo the procedure also may be more likely to urinate on soft surfaces like carpets or clothing because it’s less painful than the gravel in the litterbox. Having no other way to defend themselves, they may resort to biting when in pain, and unfortunately for their humans, bite wounds from a cat may be more likely than scratches to cause infection and hospitalization.

Researchers discovered that declawed cats were four times more likely to bite people, three times more likely to be aggressive, and seven times more likely to urinate inappropriately. They were also three times more likely to overgroom themselves. Furthermore, the cats that had their toe bones amputated had a threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with chronic pain in their paws and/or back pain (perhaps as a result of having to alter their gait).

“The findings of this study support my belief that declawed cats who exhibit undesirable behaviors might not necessarily be “bad cats,” the spokesperson said. “They may simply need pain management. Scientific evidence now suggests that declawing is more harmful to our feline patients than previously believed. I hope that this study is the first of many that will cause veterinarians to reevaluate declawing cats. ”.

Other things to consider before declawing

Cats that have lost their claws should only be kept indoors since they are no longer able to defend themselves against predators.

  • Your cat may experience an abrupt change in personality after declawing, which may or may not be permanent.
  • Declawed cats who are unable to scratch may turn to biting as a coping mechanism. In many cases, cat bites that puncture the skin necessitate immediate medical attention.
  • Cats use their claws to help stretch their muscles, so losing them could cause chronic pain and mobility problems.
  • After being declawed, your cat may exhibit signs of aggression, depression, or both.
  • The cost of declawing a cat can be high and varies; it can run up to $1,000.
  • Declawing is generally not covered by pet insurance; the only possible exception is in extremely rare circumstances where it is determined to be medically necessary.
  • Declawing is becoming increasingly illegal around the world.

“It is important for cat owners to carefully consider the declawing procedure and consult with their veterinarian to ensure they have all the information necessary to make an informed decision.” says Wilde Ensuring that the veterinarian manages pain effectively during and after the procedure is also crucial. ”.


Is it cruel to declaw a cat?

Sensory and motor nerves are cut, damaged and destroyed. Recovery from the surgery is a slow and painful process. This procedure can hamper the sensations and enjoyment involved in walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching. “Declawing is an inhumane, unnecessary procedure that has many alternatives.

Is it safe to declaw an indoor cat?

It is not recommended and unnecessary to declaw a cat (both indoor and outdoor). The reason for this is; the procedure itself means amputation. This operation involves surgically removing the end bones of the cats toes, in order to remove the entire claw.

Do vets still declaw cats?

The following is the policy of the American Veterinary Medical Association regarding Declawing: The AVMA discourages the declawing (onychectomy) of cats as an elective procedure and supports non-surgical alternatives to the procedure.

Are declawed cats in pain for life?

The pain from declawing is life-long and normal cat behaviors are forever gone. This procedure keeps our cats from enjoying pain free things such as walking, running, springing, climbing, and stretching. This crippling procedure keeps our cats from a life of fun energetic normal cat behavior.”