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03 November, 2017
  Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles & rabbits

DECLAWING CAT SURGERY
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: Dec 21, 2009
Update: 03 November, 2017

On Dec 18, 2009, I agreed to an interview by Ms Amanda Wong, Media Journalist from the Straits Times Razor TV.
Here are her questions:

1. How is declawing done?
2. What are the reasons for it?
3. Is it harmful to the animal?
4. Are there many people who request for declawing to be done to their cats? Who are these people? How many to date? Is there an increase?
5. What is your personal view towards it? Why do you choose to provide this service?

Answers:

1. Surgery under general anaesthesia - remove the 3rd toe bone (phalanx). An illustration is given.





2. Two reasons I would do declawing as a last resort and after asking the owners to wait and re-consider. These are damage to property and injury to family and other pets. These are the two reasons: The cat will be euthanased or sent to the animal shelter where they may be put to sleep or abandoned.

3. Besides anaesthetic risks, there may be post-operation complications like bleeding and infection. As in any surgery, asepsis, antibiotics and pain-killers prevent most complications.

Th
ere is the worry from cat lovers that the cat will have behavioural problems like being more aggressive. However, there are owners who say that the cat becomes more gentle. The big worry is that the cat can't defend itself when attacked. This is unlikely in an indoor cat.

4. Less than 10 cases for cat declawing in the past 30 years in my practice.



A Willetton Rose?  October 2009, Perth, Australia. Toa Payoh Vets5. My personal view is that I will perform the surgery only when the cat-owner relationship is strained such that the cat will be sent to the animal shelter where it will be put to sleep or the cat owner will need to euthanase the cat.

Training needs time, patience and perseverance. Get one or many strong scratching post for the new kitten. Train it to use the scratching post or give it an unwanted piece of carpet to declaw.

Firm verbal commands when the kitten starts clawing furniture and give treats on success may be effective if done consistently and at an early age.

C
lip nails weekly for older cats.  Do not grab, grip or play tug-of-war with kittens as they may scratch out of defence.


Failure in training e.g. use of a solid scratching post, anti-clawing spray, nail caps, food treats for positive reinforcement training, balloons, noises, water guns, noisy paper wrapping over furniture and weekly nail clipping will lead to the cat being euthanased or abandoned.

If the owner still can't resolve the problem, declawing is preferred to euthanasia. Many young children feel distressed when the cat is euthanased due to parental concerns for the damage to property or personal safety. If they don't have declawing as an option. In such instances, I will perform the surgery.

However, many cat owners need to be educated that regular nail clipping and the provision of a strong scratching post or training the cat to use the scratching post is the possible solution to destructive damage of expensive sofas, cupboards and curtains or scratching injuries to children and pets.

Lotus Flower. Singapore. Toa Payoh VetsFees.
In 2017, the estimated cost of anaesthesia, declawing of the front paws of the cat, medication and 2-day in-patient observation is $400 - $450.
 


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