How Much Does it Cost to Declaw a Cat?
Declawing your cat has become a very controversial subject. While the cat’s claws can cause a lot of damage to your home, some believe that the declawing process is cruel and unnecessary. Other people believe that getting your cat declawed is not that big of a deal – it will only cause the cat a few days of discomfort and will make the relationship with your pet much less stressed.
How much does it cost to declaw a cat?
- The cost of cat declawing varies depending on what type of procedure you choose, geographical location, the amount of claws being declawed, the cat’s weight and vet office. Overall, the price could be as little as $40 or as much as $400.
- Laser declawing tends to be on the higher end, costing anywhere from $250 to as much as $400.
- If you only want the front two claws declawed, it’s best to cut that budget in half. Those who want all four claws will be within that $40 to $400 range.
- Most veterinarians will also want to have an exam before the procedure to check for any other health problems as well as a few weeks after the procedure to ensure proper healing. These appointments will cost $25-$50 each.
- The Central North Animal Hospital, located in Mount Prospect, Illinois, charges $85 to $220 for two paws or $120 to $270 for four paws.
Type of cat declawing procedures
- Clippers – Known as the fastest way to remove claws, the clippers will clip off the toes and bones of the cat. Afterward, the incision will be sewn shut. In rare circumstances, the claw can potentially grow back. This can cost $100 to $200.
- Laser – As a newer form of technology, this is the most preferred method today. With next to no pain and very little bleeding, claws can be removed with the heat of a laser. The claws won’t be able to grow back. This can cost $250 to $450.
- Scapel – Removes the bone where the claw grows from. As a difficult procedure, this can be a tad higher. There are no chances for the claw to grow back. This can cost $200 to $300
What is going to be included?
- The most basic, cheapest, and fastest type of declawing, which is also the most controversial and most painful, is the Resco clipper method. During this procedure, the third bone above the claw is cut, removing the ability for the nail to regrow. This surgery will require two nights in the hospital as well as bandages and antibiotics to prevent infection . This should all be included in the price.
- A more difficult, and therefore slightly more expensive option is the disarticulation method. Instead of simply cutting through the bone, the veterinarian is much more careful to cut and remove the ligaments that connect the bone, therefore removing the bone in its entirety. This is slightly less painful for the cat, but it will still cause a lot of discomfort in the few days following the surgery. Two nights in the hospital, bandages, and antibiotics will also be included in this method.
- The most expensive type of declawing is the laser method. Instead of using a scalpel to cut through the ligaments and remove the third bone such as in the disarticulation method, a laser is used. This results in virtually no bleeding, which ceases the need for bandages in most cases, less pain. The equipment is quite expensive, however, and will, therefore, cost you much more for the procedure.
- The least invasive procedure that can be performed is the tendonectomy. This involves cutting the tendon which enables the cat to extend its claws. With this procedure, the cat’s claws are still completely intact, but the cat is unable to use them to scratch.
- The cat declaw recovery period will depend on the cat’s age. Kittens can recover quickly, while an adult cat can be more than a week.
What are the extra costs?
- Before the procedure, some vets may want to perform a routine exam. These exams can cost about $40 to $75.
- Cats are much more likely to develop arthritis after being declawed. Arthritis treatment usually requires medication and frequent check-ups, resulting in a much higher cost.
- If an infection does occur after surgery, the treatment can be costly.
- Before the surgery begins, a blood test may be required. The typical blood test can cost $25.
- Anesthesia may be required depending on the cat and the vet’s office performing the procedure. Anesthesia can be considered an additional expense.
- After the surgery, most veterinarians will prescribe pain killers to ensure that the cat heals properly.
- If the cat has to stay additional nights, overnight fees can range anywhere from $60 to $150 per night.
- While optional, cat litter for declawed cats may be recommended for the first few months. This can cost about $15 to $30 for a large eight pound container.
Questions to ask:
- What kind of procedure is going to be used? Many vets may use a newer technique that involves a laser.
- What are the complications in regards to this surgery? Can anything arise after the procedure has been performed?
- If there are any complications that do occur, what are the additional expenses that I should know about?
Tips to know:
- As a complex procedure, you will want to make sure that you’re working with the most experienced vet. Try to find a vet that is not only experienced but someone who has done hundreds of procedures.
- Weigh the pros and cons of both procedures. The older way of clipping can cause more pain, while the newer way of a laser can cost less. While a laser is more, your cat will thank you for it later.
- WebMD.com notes there are few reasons to declaw a cat. This can include removing the claws if there is a tumor or if the cat’s immune system is suppressed.
- Can you declaw an older cat? Older cats have a longer recovery period, so most vets recommend you declaw your cats between three months to three years old.
- Declawing a cat isn’t illegal in the United States; however, it is illegal in the following countries: Austria, Wales, Italy, Scotland, England, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and more.
Alternatives to declawing a cat
- Soft paw nails – These are soft nail caps that go on top of the cat’s nails. These caps will be hollow inside and will fit over your cat’s nail securely using a non-toxic adhesive. These caps will stay on for up to six weeks and will fall off with the natural growth. Some cats, in the beginning, may aggressively groom them, causing them to fall off quicker.
- Scratching posts – Cats will always naturally want to scratch, and a scratching post allows them to do just this. This will deter them from scratching your furniture or carpet. If choosing a scratching post, make sure it’s tall enough to allow your cat to fully extend, and choose a location where they may want to mark their territory. The best material, according to declawing.com, is sisal fabric.
- Double sided tape – This is a sticky tape on both sides that can be applied to anything you don’t want the cat to scratch.
- Feliway – This feline facial pheromone is a simple odor placed on items you don’t want your cat to scratch. If you ever watch a cat, you will notice they rub their cheeks on items around the house. The purpose of this is to mark their territory and claim it as “theirs.” This spray will calm your cat and deter them from scratching unnecessary things.
Pros and cons of declawing a cat
- Pro – Vets justify it when a cat can’t be trained to refrain from using its claws inappropriately. When other options, such as scratching posts and nail tips fail, vets may justify it if the owners want to send the cat back to the shelter. This becomes “claw or life.”
- Pro – If the claw area is affected, declawing may be an option to stop the infection from spreading.
- Con – Cat owners need to understand a cat is losing its knuckle, and this would be similar to a human losing his or her fingertip. Bones left after the procedure may cause chronic pain or even infection.
- Con – If a cat loses its claws, they may resort to biting more than they should.
- Con – The surgery can be painful since the surgeon has to remove both the bones and tissue. Complications may also arise after the surgery such as infections or even seeing the claw areas grown back.
How can I save money?
- There are alternatives to declawing that are not only more humane but also less expensive. Consider alternatives such as Soft Paws. A pack of Soft Paws retails for $18 to $25.
- Simply trimming your cat’s nails with nail trimmers on a regular basis can decrease the damage made by the claws and can be much cheaper.
- Comparison shop with various clinics. Some clinics will post their prices on the website while others will give a price over the phone. Consider talking with 3 clinics before making a decision.
- If you have more than one cat, ask the vet to see if you can get a “group” discount. Since it’s not uncommon for pet owners to have two cats declawed at once, you can potentially save 20 percent.
- There are other ways to prevent your cat from scratching. If you feel that this is the only way, don’t do it. Consider healthier alternatives such as using nail caps, scratching posts and clip the nails on a daily basis.