Feline Declaw – (Surgical Onychectomy)
To declaw your cat or to not declaw your cat can be a very difficult question for you to answer. We are here to help with your decision as to whether or not a declaw procedure is your best option for your cat.
Alternatives to declaw surgery work well for some cats and not for others. These options are very good alternatives to try before considering surgery.
Vinyl nail caps – glued on over the nails on the front feet.
Behavior modification training – where is it appropriate to scratch and upon what?
A surgical onychectomy, may be appropriate for the cat that cannot be trained to refrain from using their claws to destroy your home or poses a danger for injury to family members. This surgical procedure may help to maintain the bond between the family and the cat and help to prevent the cat from being surrendered or euthanized. Once declawed, we recommend you keep your cat indoors, as a house cat, since outdoors their claws are utilized for both escape and defense. In general, younger cats tend to adapt more readily than do older cats following surgery.
We believe, at TLC, a surgical onychectomy is one of the most valuable times to utilize the Surgical Laser (refer to page on the Surgical Laser) because the impact of the laser is so much better for the cat’s recovery during the first 2-3 weeks following the surgery. Using the Laser means less bleeding because it seals the blood vessels, seals the lymphatics for less swelling, seals the nerve endings for less pain, and kills bacteria to reduce chances for infection. When the surgical laser is used to do the declaw procedure we do not need to put a tourniquet on the leg to control bleeding during surgery, we do not suture the toes (tissue glue closure), and we do not need to apply bandages after surgery to be taken off sore feet the next day. We keep cats in the hospital for 1-2 nights following surgery to help ensure they are comfortable before they go home with you. Your pet’s comfort and safety are our primary concerns for a declaw procedure and using the LASER makes a tremendous difference to the cats well being.
Home care following a declaw:
1) Use a dust free litter (crystals or pearls) for 2 weeks after surgery to minimize dust and contamination of the feet from the litter box. Clean twice daily.
2) Keep your cat from climbing for a few weeks. The goal is to prevent them from jumping down and landing on their front feet until completely healed and recovered.