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Declawing Cats Age

What Is The Best Age To Declaw A Cat?

If you are wondering what the ideal age to declaw a cat is, you should make sure that you fully understand what you are doing to the animal before you make your decision.  Some people feel that a declawed cat is a better pet because not only do they not scratch up your furniture, there is no risk of them scratching up your legs or your child’s face either.  However, it is a painful procedure and it does compromise the cat’s natural instincts to climb, scratch and even fully flex their body.

The most important thing to take into consideration when deciding if your furry friend is the right age to declaw a cat is if he will spend anytime outside.  While an indoor cat can do jut fine without claws for the most part, an outdoor cat has to have claws to defend himself from predators, climb and help to keep from falling.

Proper Age

The best age to declaw a cat is while they are young, between four and eight months old.  They should not be overweight and they need to be in good health.  The pain level and risks are significantly increased if you declaw an older cat.  So, while a kitten may bounce back fairly quickly within a day or two, an older cat can experience pain for quite awhile and hold quite a bit of resentment.

Types Of Surgery

  • Excisional Method – This technique removes the last bone of the toe.  Claws extend from this particular bone and it can be compared to the bone in your own finger that your nail covers. This method is completed either using a scalpel blade or with a laser.
  • Guillotine Method – This declawing is done by severing the bone in half with a nail trimmer. The claw and the end of the bone are then removed.
  • Tenotomy – This method is not considered a declaw but it is an option used by some veterinarians.  The tendons that the cat uses to operate his claws are cut.  While this may be a less expensive option, it poses danger because the cat no longer has control of his claws so they can get snagged on carpets or grow into the paw pad.  Many veterinarians will not perform this technique.

Possible Complications

Even if your feline is the right age to declaw a cat, you should also be aware that there can be some pretty severe complications.  Your cat could experience nail bed infection, excessive bleeding, limping, pain and pad injury during surgery.  Some cats even experience sensitivity for several months.

Alternatives To Declawing

  • Nail Caps – These are ideal for a cat of any age.  They are soft, non-toxic nail caps that get glued on to the cat’s existing nail and over time, they will eventually become loose and can be replaced.
  • Diversions – A scratching post can become your best friend if you have a cat.  Some cats may need to be taught to use it or at least persuaded to go near it.  This is easily done by sprinkling some catnip on it.
  • Trim the Claws – An excellent way to decrease the amount of damage done by scratching is to trim your cat’s claws.  If you do not feel comfortable doing this, your veterinarian should offer this service and it is typically inexpensive.

Other Declawing Facts

Not all cats need to be declawed.  It is not fair to assume that because you have a kitten that it is a procedure that needs to be done.  If you do decide this is the best option, just be sure to monitor your cat’s recovery.  While most experience no complications, with any surgery, there always comes risk.

  • Surgical neutering for a male cat can be completed at the same time the cat is declawed as long

 as he weighs at least five pounds or is a minimum of six months old.

  • Surgery is done under general anesthesia.
  • After surgery, the cat typically needs to stay for one to two nights.
  • There are no sutures involved that need to be removed later.
  • Yesterday’s News Litter or shredded newspaper should be used for a week to prevent any contamination of the wounds.