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Cat Declawing

Declawing your cat is a surgical procedure that has been used to eliminate the destruction caused by normal scratching behaviour.

What is declawing?

Declawing involves your cat undergoing a general anesthetic. A surgical procedure is performed to permanently remove the last “knuckle” on your cat’s front paws.

What are declawing pros and cons?

An advantage to declawing your cat is that since their claws are removed, they cannot scratch furniture, door frames, or carpet. In recent years, we have determined that there are several disadvantages to declawing your cat. In some cats, declawing permanently alters the way they walk, which puts a strain on other joints. Some declawed cats will have chronic nerve pain because of the declaw procedure, which greatly impacts their quality of life and the development of their bond with their owner.

What method does the clinic use?

At Briarwood, our declaw procedure involves using a surgical scalpel blade to disarticulate the last phalanx, or remove the last knuckle. We use a very thorough pain management protocol, including nerve blocks, to minimize the pain associated with this surgery as much as possible.

How old does a cat have to be to be declawed?

Most cats that are declawed are done at the same time as they are spayed or neutered, generally around 6 months of age.

What are some potential complications?

As with any surgical procedure, there are possible complications which include infection, and delayed wound healing. Permanent nerve damage, and therefore chronic pain, are also possible complications.

What is are the alternative to declawing?

There are alternatives to declawing your cat. Providing your cat with appropriate toys and substances to scratch, both horizontal and vertical is a great first step. Encouraging your cat to scratch on the right toys can be accomplished by sprinkling or rubbing catnip on them. You can also make the furniture your cat scratches less appealing to scratch, for example, by placing aluminum foil around it or using a deterrent like SSSCat. Using a product like Soft Paws can also help decrease unwanted scratching behaviour.

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