Q: I have a 1 1/2-year-old calico cat named Pinto. She has always been a strictly indoor cat, which has not been a problem until recently. She has started clawing the furniture and drapes in my apartment. This will never do. A friend of mine suggested having Pinto declawed. Is it harmful at all to the cat? Will she be in the hospital for long? What is the after care?
A: Declawing is a surgical procedure that involves removal of the nail-producing portion of each digit. When removed completely, the nail is unable to grow back. Generally only the front feet are done, leaving the rear claws intact.
The procedure requires a general anesthesia and, in many cases, the cat goes home the same day with her feet bandaged. Some practices keep the cat overnight and remove the bandages before sending it home. The surgery site is often closed using sutures or a tissue adhesive. There is some tenderness for several days, but most cats return to normal without any problems.
It is wise to keep your pet confined indoors. You should use shredded paper or wood chips instead of gravel-type litter in the box. This will decrease the chance of material getting into the surgery sites. Check the feet daily to see that they are healing well. Look for swelling, extreme tenderness or drainage from the toes.