Declawing in Cats

General Information

Scratching with the front claws is normal, instinctive behaviour for cats. The purpose of this activity is to remove old, worn fragments of the nails, keeping them sharp. Although scratching is normal for cats, this behaviour can be destructive and costly in the home. For many cat owners, declawing is the only solution.
A declawed cat should be confined indoors because the claws are its primary means of defense. A house cat has little need for defense and is a more suitable pet because it can no longer ruin furnishings or scratch people.

Surgical Procedure

Your cat will come in the night before the surgery and we will apply a pain patch that releases a constant dose of pain medication through the skin. This patch will stay on for three days. On the day of surgery your pet will be given a preoperative physical examination to help ensure its safety during anesthesia and surgery. The operation is preformed under general anesthesia and consists of surgical removal of the nail and attached bone. The tiny incisions are closed with dissolving sutures or tissue glue. The paws are then bandaged and recovery is generally uneventful. Your cat will stay in the hospital for two more nights so we can monitor his/her recovery and keep him/her calm and confined. After the bandages are removed in the hospital, your pet will be able to walk normally, although tenderness may be evident for a few days.

Home Care After the Surgery

Activity: Your cat should be kept as quiet as possible for 4-5 days after the surgery. If possible, he/she should be confined to a small area at night or when you are away for long periods of time during the day. It is also important to keep your cat from jumping for several days to allow the paws to heal.

Bleeding: Occasionally a cat breaks open one of the small scabs where the nail was removed.
A few drops of blood followed by rapid cessation of bleeding is normal. Call us if bleeding persists.

Litter box: Your cat will be sent home with special litter made of compressed newspaper.
This should be used for 5-10 days while the paws heal.

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