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How To Tell If A Cat Is Declawed – A Helpful Guide


If you’ve gotten a new cat or are deciding whether to adopt a cat, you might wonder if the cat is declawed. Getting cats declawed might be declining in popularity recently, but thousands of cats are still declawed every year. Knowing whether your new cat has been declawed can make a big difference in how you take care of them. So, have you ever wondered how to tell if a cat is declawed?

On most cats, it’s relatively simple to tell if they have been declawed. You should be able to see the very tip of a cat’s claws even if they are velveted. If you can’t see their claws, hold their paw, and put gentle pressure on each toe’s pad. If they still have claws, that pressure will extend the claw and make it more visible.

It’s a good idea to get your cat used to you handling their paws this way if they have claws because it will make it much easier for you to trim their claws in the future. 

What Percent Of Cats Are Declawed

The percentage of cats that have been declawed can vary wildly from place to place and year to year, so these numbers are just an estimate.  

Right now, the United States has about a 20-25% rate of declawing cats. However, that doesn’t include feral cats. 

Can A Declawed Cat Live With A Clawed Cat

Yes. Declawed cats and clawed cats can live comfortably in the same home. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t complications, though. 

Three main complications can arise if you have one declawed cat and another clawed cat. 

  • Your declawed cat acts out and starts causing social problems with other cats 
  • Your declawed cat resists litter use and pees elsewhere, causing your other cats to do the same
  • Your clawed cat is more aggressive and bullies your declawed cat

There are solutions for all three problems, but you should be prepared for them just in case. 

If your declawed cat starts acting out and bullies or attacks other cats, you should intervene even though they don’t have their claws. Getting pheromone dispensers that help encourage all your cats to be calmer and happier is a good first step for mild misbehavior. 

For more severe or persistent misbehavior, you may want to isolate your declawed cat and re-introduce them to the other cats more slowly. Declawed cats can sometimes feel like they need to be more aggressive since they don’t have as many options for defending themselves. 

Reintroductions help your cat feel more confident and comfortable since they give them some time apart and more controlled interactions until they usually behave. 

The treatment for litter resistance is similar. Isolate your declawed cat and give them their own litterbox. Hopefully, that’s all you’ll need to do to get them back to regular litter use. Pheromone dispensers can also help make them more comfortable if you place them near the litter box.

Keep their litter very clean and see if they respond. You may also need to switch to a softer litter material since declawing can leave some cats very sore, and that soreness can be permanent. Make sure you have one more litter box than you have cats and consider getting more if the problem continues.

If your clawed cat is aggressive and starts bullying your clawed cat, you don’t have to get them declawed too. Declawing your cat is a very personal choice, but it can have a wide range of permanent side effects. 

Instead, consider trimming your aggressive cat’s claws regularly to keep them dull. You may also want pheromone dispensers or a pheromone collar to help keep your aggressive cat a little calmer. 

Some vets and groomers may also be able to put small caps on your cat’s claws. The caps will help keep their claws even duller, without needing invasive declawing surgery.

While it’s possible to keep clawed cats and declawed cats together, we do want to note that declawing can sometimes cause mental distress for a cat that makes it much more difficult for that cat to live with others.

It’s not a universal problem, but you should be aware that some declawed cats will do better in a single cat home. Frankly, there are plenty of clawed cats that would also do better in a single cat home. 

But if you start noticing problems between your cats and can’t use any of the techniques we’ve mentioned above, you should contact your vet for their advice. If that doesn’t work either, consider whether your cat might be happier if you can find them a loving single cat home instead. 

Is It Bad To Adopt A Declawed Cat

Not at all! Even if you personally disagree with declawing, there is nothing wrong with adopting a cat that has been declawed. 

Whether you found a lost cat or fell in love with a declawed cat in a rescue, you’re still giving them a new home and a good life by adopting them. Declawed cats deserve our love and affection every bit as much as their clawed brothers and sisters. 

Not adopting a cat just because they have been declawed doesn’t stop the practice, and it doesn’t affect the person who decided to have the cat declawed. But it does affect the cat

All cats deserve a chance at a loving forever home. We won’t say that owning a declawed cat can’t be challenging. They have their unique challenges, much like a cat with health issues or behavior problems has their own challenges. 

Despite those challenges, caring for a declawed cat can be every bit as rewarding as caring for any other cat. Most declawed cats are still affectionate toward humans, and most of them are just looking for a safe and secure forever home. 

Should An Indoor Cat Be Declawed

Declawing is a very personal choice, but indoor cats don’t need to be declawed just because they live indoors. 

Some people choose to declaw cats because it reduces the risk of scratches, especially with young children in the home. Others will declaw a cat because furniture and carpet scratching can damage their home. 

Both of those problems can also be addressed with training and other temperament techniques, as well as teaching your kids and any guests how to interact with a cat politely. 

You can declaw a cat if you would like, but it isn’t necessary. If you do declaw a cat or adopt an already declawed cat, that cat should not be allowed outside. They cannot defend themselves and are at much greater risk if you let them outside after declawing. 

What Age Is Best To Declaw A Cat

If you consider declawing a cat, it’s best to have the procedure done when they are young because it will hurt less, and they will heal faster and often better than adult cats. 

Some vets can perform a declawing surgery at the same time as a spay/neuter, while others prefer to wait until the animal is at least three months old before declawing them. 

Declawing, an adult cat, raises serious complications, long healing times, and serious temperamental changes. If you decide to declaw your cat, it’s best to have the procedure done when the cat is less than one year old. 

If you do decide to declaw a cat, you should be prepared for behavior changes and a relatively long recovery time after their surgery. 

Is it Painful For A Cat To Be Declawed

Yes. Declawing a cat requires a surgery where the cat is fully sedated, and some of the bones in their paw are removed to prevent the claws from growing. After that surgery, most vets will supply pain medication to help your cat manage their discomfort, but that doesn’t stop your cat from needing to walk on their paws while the tips are still healing.

There are some things you can do to help manage your cat’s pain, and your vet will advise you on the best options because it can be a little different for every cat, but your cat will likely be uncomfortable and in some pain for a few days/weeks after the surgery. 

Unfortunately, declawed cats are also more prone to persistent pain in their paws than other cats. They are also more vulnerable to arthritis in the declawed paws and may show signs of discomfort during weather changes. 

How Do Cats Act After Being Declawed

Every cat’s reaction to getting declawed is different. Some cats will show little to no behavior change, while other cats will become more withdrawn and less affectionate. 

Some people have also noted that declawed cats can become more angry and aggressive after the procedure. That’s usually because the cat feels more vulnerable or are uncomfortable because of the surgery. 

Since every cat’s reaction is different, it can be difficult to predict. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to predict whether your cat’s behavior changes are permanent after being declawed. Some cats will show a significant behavior change for a few months and then return to their old selves.

In other cats, the behavior changes after declawing surgery are permanent. 

What Can I Do Instead Of Declawing My Cat?

There are several options instead of declawing a cat. Usually, training combined with regular claw trimming will handle most of the misbehavior your clawed cat displays. It does take a little time to get used to training your cat, and you’ll need to keep their claws trimmed regularly for that to be an option. 

Otherwise, you could also see if a groomer or your vet can put temporary covers on your cat’s claws. The covers will need to be replaced every couple of weeks, but they will dull your cat’s claws and make any misbehavior much easier to manage. 

In a worst-case scenario with an aggressive or destructive cat, you could also speak to your vet about medication options to help keep them calmer.

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