Scratching with the front claws is normal, instinctive behavior for cats.  The purpose of this activity is to remove old, worn fragments of nails.  Though scratching is normal for cats, this behavior can be destructive and costly in the home.  For many cat owners, declawing is the only solution.

A declawed cat should be confined indoors, since 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.


Declawing is performed under general anesthesia and consists of surgical removal of the nail bed.  The feet are usually bandaged, and the cat will be hospitalized overnight.  After the bandages are removed, your pet will be able to walk normally, though tenderness may be evident for a few days.


What are some other options if I don’t want to declaw my cat?

Other options besides declawing include periodic trimming of the nails, training your cat to use a scratching post, or the use of glue on nail caps, such as Soft Paws.

Is it okay to declaw an older cat?

In general, a young kitten (6 months old or less) will heal very quickly from the declaw procedure, and modern methods of pain control are very effective during the recovery period. Older cats can be done, however additional pain medication will be needed. Also a local anesthetic will be used for each toe, which can raise the cost of the procedure. Healing time will take longer too.

I’ve heard that if I am going to get my cat declawed it needs to be done by laser, is that true?

Not necessarily, at our hospital, Dr. Jim uses his own technique that he learned years ago. He has been using this technique for the past 28 years, and it has worked wonderfully for him. While with using the laser technique there is less hemorrhage, it doesn’t mean it makes it less painful. With proper pain control and proper surgical technique, the comfort and healing rates are relatively equal.