“To declaw or not to declaw” is the question of cat owners/lovers across the world. There is also division in the veterinary community on this topic as well.
Let’s start with the basics: The feline declawing (onchyectomy) is a surgical procedure where the third phalanx of each front toe is removed.
This procedure is best performed on kittens between 4-6 months of age when the patient is of a lighter weight. Heavier cats may have a longer time healing time because of the extra weight on the feet. After surgery, the patient is kept off of regular kitty litter until the feet heal (our clinic uses a brand of litter called “Yesterday’s News”). The surgery itself is brief, and afterward, small wraps are put on the end of the feet for the remainder of the day of surgery. If the cats haven’t removed their own wraps by the next morning, the wraps are then taken off. For owners wanting their cat to be spayed or neutered, it is common to have these two surgeries done at the same time (spay/neuter and declaw).
So, is declawing painful? The obvious answer is yes, but it is short-lived and we do give medications for pain relief. The question often comes up as to the “why” declaws are performed. If you are a cat owner and have had an indoor cat with claws, the answer is obvious—shredded furniture and inadvertent scratches to the human body are the biggest reasons.
If a cat is going to be an indoor only cat, we suggest doing a declaw of the front paws only. We want the cats to keep their rear claws in the event they accidentally get outside, they can better defend themselves and climb a tree if necessary. Even a cat with all of claws intact will not be able to defend itself completely from a determined canine. For more information, please contact us at 254-947-8058 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.