Byron Center Animal Hospital

Declawing FAQ

Q: Why do cats scratch?

A: Scratching is a normal behavior that conditions the claws, serves as visual and scent markers, and is a way for cats to stretch.

Q: What is declawing, exactly?

A: Declawing is the surgical amputation under general anesthesia of the last part of the toe. In humans it is comparable to having your fingertip removed at the first joint. The skin is then stitched over the exposed joint. At Byron Center Animal Hospital, your cat will stay the night with us so we can closely observe them during their first 24 hours of recovery, then they are sent home to heal fully.

Q: Is declawing painful?

A: Declawing can be a very painful procedure. At Byron Center Animal Hospital, our goal is to minimize the pain your cat could experience. We provide pre-surgical pain relief, long-lasting post-surgical pain relief, and local anesthesia on the effected paws. The combination of these therapies ensures that your cat wakes from surgery comfortably and also has a restful recovery.

Q: Do I need to declaw my cat to get them to stop scratching?

A: Not necessarily; usually scratching can be prevented with environmental and behavioral training. Trim your cat’s nails regularly (we can show you how to do this), and provide them with an acceptable scratching area, such as a scratching post. You can also use a squirt bottle to deter your cat from scratching in a specific area. There are many products (Scat Mats, sticky tape, etc.) that can help. You can also place plastic nail coverings (Soft Paws) over the claws monthly. If your cat continues to be destructive or you have an immune-compromised individual in the house, declawing may be the way to go.

Q: Will declawing change my cat’s temperament?

A: Many cats will continue to “scratch” after the procedure, causing no damage. Numerous studies have shown that declawing does not cause an increase in biting or other behavioral problems.

Q: Can my cat still go outside after it is declawed?

A: Absolutely not. Without claws, your cat is less able to defend himself against dogs, cats, and other dangers; they can’t swat or climb to safety if they are attacked.

Q: Where can I find more information about declawing?

A: Some of this information was taken from It is a reputable website with many articles written by veterinary professionals. You can also call us with questions or concerns.