Declawing Your Cat

There are some owners who believe that trimming cat’s claws are not enough. They may have a cat who is constantly trying to strengthen their claws on the furniture and ripping it at the same time. Or maybe you have children in the house and are afraid that they might scratch them? Whatever the reason is for wanting to declaw your cat it is important that you first understand what it involves.

Cat’s Claws

The claw on a cat is not simply a nail – but it is a part of the last bone that is in their toe. The claw is pushed out from the unguicular crest and the distal phalanx of the paw. Many of the germinal cells that help to produce the claw are held in the dorsal part of the ungula crest. When you declaw a cat you are removing this entire area in order to make it impossible for it to grow back. In other words you are amputating the joint.


In order to declaw a cat the veterinarian must perform a special surgery that will amputate the entire phalanx joint – which is made up on ligaments, tendons, and bones. It is not a simple surgery that can take ten minutes. Instead the surgeon will be removing and performing ten different amputations for each toe that the cat has. This can be very painful and hard for the cat to deal with because they walk on their toes and they use their claws for many things.


If you still believe that this surgery is something that your cat can benefit from then you must first be made aware of the complications that can occur. Although this might be a routine process the risk that something will go wrong is very high. One of the worst things that your cat can experience is:

  • Extreme pain
  • Damage to radial nerve
  • Hemorrhage bone chips that keep it from healing
  • Regrowth of a deformed claw
  • Chronic back pain
  • Chronic joint shoulder pain
  • Weak leg muscles

One of the worst things that is able to occur during the surgery is the shattering of the bone. When this happens is will cause an infection and make it almost impossible for the wound to heal. It will require another surgery. Also there might be an abnormal growth of the nerves that have been severed – which can be painful for the cat.