Cat Declaw Recovery Time

The cat declaw recovery process can be easy or slightly more difficult depending on the cat's age, health and overall temperament. Recovery time can be speedy, or it can take quite a while, and will differ from cat to cat. Keep in mind that declawing a cat is a surgical procedure and will require time for recuperation afterwards. Below is more information on cat declawing and the recovery time to expect.

Why Declaw a Cat?

Owners may choose to declaw their cat because it prevents the cat from scratching items in the home such as furniture, curtains, flooring or other important objects. It also prevents the pet from scratching or harming other pets or people. Sometimes an owner will have the cat declawed before bringing the pet home after adoption, as a preventive measure.

Some owners decide to declaw all four feet, but this is not always necessary. Most cats rarely cause damage with their rear claws, and after the front claws are removed, the rear claws will be the only defense the cat will have left. Because of this, it is often recommended to only declaw the front claws.

Not all cats need to be declawed, and grooming and training can be used in place of the declawing. Frequently clipping the cat's claws will prevent them from causing damage, and providing the cat with a scratching post will keep the cat from scratching other surfaces.

Declawing Younger Cats vs. Older Cats

Declawing a cat can be done at any age, but the cat's age may have an effect on the recovery time. Younger cats usually heal more quickly and recuperate at a faster rate than older cats. Older cats generally do not bounce back as quickly and tend to take longer to recover after the surgery. Recovery time may be significantly shorter if pain medication is given before the procedure and continued for a few days after the surgery.

Complications of Declawing

Declawing a cat has minimal complications and usually the cat can return home the next day. Even so, there are a few risks involved with the procedure. If the incision splits open, an infection can occur and the injury will have to be left open to mend. This will make the recovery time significantly longer if this does occur. Another risk includes the procedure being done incorrectly, which may result in the claws growing back. There is also the very unlikely risk of anesthetic death, as with any surgery. This is an extremely rare occurrence.

After Declawing

After the procedure the cat may be kept in a confined area while the wounds heal, if necessary. Shredded newspaper can be used in the litter box instead of the typical litter for a few weeks after the declaw surgery, to ensure litter does not enter the incisions and cause infection.

The time it takes for the cat to regain full use of the declawed feet again varies, but is normally not long. Some young cats and kittens are able to walk the next day, while some older cats may take longer. If there are no complications after the surgery, the wounds will heal in two weeks or less.