Cat Declawing Recovery

Cat declawing is an invasive surgery tantamount to knuckle amputation that requires a recovery period of one week to ten days. Owners of cats who have been declawed should expect the following during the recovery period:

Regular Paw Checks

During the cat declawing recovery process, owners must regularly check their cats' paws at least three to four times a day, to make sure there are no signs of infection. Light bleeding is likely during the first few days especially, but excessive or prolonged bleeding warrants another trip to the vet. Signs of infection include swollen tissue, redness and pus discharge from the wounds. Owners who suspect an infection should take their cats to a medical professional posthaste. Tenderness and soreness is to be expected, particularly in the first few days, so owners should be gentle when handling their cats' paws.


After cat declawing, the cat will need to be on a regimen of antibiotics to prevent infection and medication for pain. Owners should apply these medications as directed by their veterinarian, but may expect to have to apply these medications orally via tablet or liquid form. Tablets can sometimes be combined with food if the cat displays an adverse reaction to being force-fed the medication. Some vets offer a pain medication in the form of injection, negating the need for an owner to feed such medicine orally for at least three days after the procedure.

Attempting to Keep the Cat Inactive

After cat declawing, cats will need to rest to help heal their wounds and adjust to the changes in their paws. While not always easy, owners should attempt to encourage their cats to rest by offering a quiet, comfortable place for the cat to sleep. Cats may prefer darkness at this time because they will feel stressed, but letting a little sunlight into the area after a few days can be comforting.

Cats may walk around as necessary while recovering, but should avoid jumping. Owners can discourage their cats from jumping by blocking access to some of the cats' favorite jumping locations. Owners may also locate the cats' comfortable recovery area in just one room or two, discouraging roaming and exploring around the house.

Change the Litter

Cats use their paws a lot while in the litter box, to dig holes in which to relieve themselves and to cover the waste afterward. They will also rub their paws on mats or on the floor afterward in order to clean them. This will aggravate their paws while they are recovering from declawing. To decrease irritation, owners should change the litter to a pellet-type or a litter made from shredded paper and should avoid clumping litters. However, owners should also be aware that this sudden change in litter material can cause additional stress to the cat, which may refuse to use the box.

While recovering from cat declawing, owners should attempt to make life more comfortable for their pets. However, once the cats have recovered, owners can expect a near-normal life for their cats with a marked cessation of clawing on the furniture and claws used on other pets and people. Be aware that a cat's defenses in the wild will be significantly decreased, so owners should take extra care to keep their cats indoors.