Manchester Veterinary Clinic

156 Spencer Street
Manchester, CT 06040


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Information About Declawing Your Cat


The purpose of this surgical procedure is to remove the nails from the front paws (rarely, all 4 paws) to prevent your cat from scratching people or other pets and to prevent damage to woodwork, furnishings or carpets with claw sharpening and marking behaviors.  These are natural and acceptable behaviors outdoors but unacceptable and potentially costly when practiced indoors.  Declawing is best done at an early age, usually at the same time as neutering, when healing will be the fastest.  The operation involves the removal of each claw with an incision in each toe.  The incisions are typically closed with dissolvable sutures.  The paws are bandaged for the next 24 hours and medication is given as needed to control any discomfort.  Following bandage removal the next day, your cat will be kept hospitalized for another 24 hours to ensure strict cage rest and to allow us to monitor the paws. 

Discharge Instructions:

Wound Care:  The paws need no specific attention; your cat's normal grooming activity will keep them clean.  The paws may be sensitive for 7-10 days (longer for older cats) during which time your cat may be less active, jump less, or occasionally hold a paw up. The sutures can remain visible for up to 6 weeks before disappearing.

Medication:  In general we dispense one or two liquid medications to help maintain post-operative comfort. An antibiotic, in pill or liquid form, will also be dispensed to help prevent infection. Alternatively, a long-acting injectable antibiotic can be administered. Although more expensive, this approach would decrease the amount of medication you need to administer.

Litter:  Regular sand or clay litter should not be used for the first week after surgery because dust or small pieces may get into the incisions and slow healing or cause infection.  An absorbent, dustless, pelleted litter replacement product called Yesterday's News will be sent home for this period of time.

Multiple-Cat Homes:  Multiple cat households may experience some disruption in the normal interaction of their cats when the declawed cat returns home.  Recognition of the returning cat will be hindered by it having a foreign smell.  This may lead to some unfriendliness at first.  If necessary, consider keeping the convalescent cat isolated for a day or two.

Outdoor Activity:  Declawed cats should be regarded as strictly house pets.  Should you want to allow your cat outdoors, this is best done with the cat supervised, in a harness and on a leash.  The elimination of the front claws removes some of the defense and escape abilities that should be available to an outdoor cat.

Questions:  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.