Age Limit For Declawing Cats – When Is It Appropriate

For various reasons, many cat owners contemplate declawing their feline companions, with the most prevalent being furniture or flooring destruction and skin breakage due to rough play. If you are considering declawing your cat, it is essential to determine the appropriate age limit.

Although there is no specific age limit for declawing cats, it is advisable to carry out the process before the cat reaches six months of age.

If you have questions about declawing, which is a controversial topic, this article provides answers to all your queries, including alternative options.

Do vets recommend declawing?

Removing the nails of a cat, known as declawing, is generally not recommended by most veterinarians unless there is a medical necessity for it. In fact, some vets may decline to perform the procedure altogether due to the potential dangers that outweigh any advantages.

What happens if you want to declaw an older cat?

If a cat is not healthy enough after an initial exam, the vet may refuse to perform the declawing procedure since it is best done before six months of age when there are lower risks of infection, excessive and ongoing pain, and complications; therefore, your vet will prioritize your cat’s well-being above all else.

Nonetheless, in case your veterinarian agrees to perform the declawing surgery on your cat, you should anticipate a longer healing period, heightened discomfort, and bear the expenses of any potential complications that may occur during the operation.

Should an indoor cat be declawed?

While declawing cats is not advisable, it’s important to note that it eliminates their defense mechanism, making them dependent on humans for protection and confining them indoors for life. Moreover, declawing doesn’t guarantee a solution to aggressive behavior and may even exacerbate the problem by causing excruciating pain.

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Does declawing a cat hurt them?

Declawing a cat is a painful procedure, even with the new laser method, and requires pain management medication during recovery.

Aside from the discomfort, there are numerous potential issues that may arise during your cat’s declawing surgery. The most prevalent complication is infection, which can occur when your cat walks on the incision sites. Additionally, walking on the site increases the risk of reopening the wound, necessitating another procedure to stitch up any that have come undone.

If cats are declawed at an older age, they may suffer from recurring pain and require more medication. While this is uncommon, it can lead to permanent abnormal posture due to improper healing of the tendon structure, which may even cause the cat to lose its ability to stand.

Can a cat’s personality change after declawing?

Cat‘s behavior can be altered after declawing. Your feline may become less energetic and avoid walking due to the discomfort, particularly if the procedure was done at an advanced age. Additionally, your cat may exhibit aggression because of the pain-induced irritability.

What is the average cost for a cat to get declawed?

The price of declawing a cat can vary from around $200 to over $800, depending on several factors. These include the age of your cat, the fees charged by the veterinarian, medication, a pre-anesthetic health check-up, and any unexpected complications that may arise during the procedure. All of these factors can have a significant impact on the cost of declawing.

Are there any medical reasons for declawing?

There exist various medical justifications that may necessitate the extraction of some or all of a cat’s claws, including the following medical conditions:

  • Bone Infection
  • Claw that is damaged or cannot be fixed
  • Unretractable claws that are growing into the footpads
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When determining the necessity of declawing, it is important to take into account the medical history of the cat‘s owner, particularly if they have a weakened immune system and cannot afford to be exposed to the bacteria present on a cat’s nail.

What are my options if I do not wish to declaw my cat?

Several options exist to declawing that do not involve surgery and can discourage your cat from engaging in unwanted behavior.


If you want to stop your cat from performing certain actions, the most effective method is to train them. Nevertheless, declawing is not recommended as scratching is a natural and beneficial activity for cats. Instead, it is advisable to provide them with a secure and suitable area or item where they can scratch without damaging your furniture.

Initially, it is recommended to place several scratching posts in locations that are not near the problematic furniture and provide a variety of scratching posts and cat trees with different textures. When your cat scratches on one of the approved scratching posts, reward them with either verbal praise or treats based on their preference. If you observe your cat scratching at the furniture, redirect them towards one of the authorized scratching posts. In case further assistance is required, sprinkle some catnip on the authorized scratching posts.

If you want to discourage your cat from scratching during playtime, it’s best to discontinue playing and leave the cat alone if it scratches you. By doing so, you are communicating to your cat that you do not approve of this behavior and will only interact with it if it can refrain from scratching.

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Nail Trimming

Maintaining your cat’s nails is a secure and beneficial way to protect you and your furniture from any harm. The reason why your feline may be scratching the furniture could be because their claws are too long, and they sense that different surfaces can help them file down their nails. Buy a good pair of cat nail clippers and trim as necessary.

Nail Caps

Similar to people getting acrylic nails, cats have nail caps. These vinyl nail covers last 4-6 weeks and are designed to protect whatever your cat is scratching. They naturally come off as your pet’s nail grows, and although they may take some time for your cat to get used to, they are not painful and are a great alternative to Declawing


While there is no specific age limit for declawing a cat, it is advisable to carry out the procedure before the cat reaches six months old to prevent any potential complications or prolonged discomfort. Additionally, there are several substitutes to declawing, including nail trimming and nail caps. It is crucial to prioritize your cat’s well-being before making any determinations.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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