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Declawed Cat Care?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
It's been about 6 months since I lost my previous cat and I've been looking into adopting a new one from a local shelter. The particular one I had in mind is already declawed (I'm not in favor of declawing, but it already is). Do declawed cats need any special care? Do they still try to scratch things even with their claws gone, and will scratching posts/boards still be needed?

Sorry if this has been asked or if this is the wrong section for this question, I'm new here and I've never had a cat that has been declawed before.

Edit: Forgot to say that the cat will be indoors.
post #2 of 26
Hi!

Declawed cats do need a little bit of extra care as numerous things can go wrong in a declawed cat. How long ago was s/he declawed? If it has fully healed you have less to worry about. Sometimes cats will have problems with their paws if the claw starts to grow back, so you would just have to check them periodically to make sure that isn't happening. Also you might have to be willing to try different litters to figure out which one s/he likes. But what cat owner doesn't! Later on in life, some declawed cats get joint problems from the unnatural way they are forced to walk (sort of like us having to walk only on our heels) but for the most part your new best friend will be fine.

As for scratching, yes, s/he'll still want to scratch. It is a deeply ingrained instinct in cats. However, since cats don't usually sharpen back claws, you probably don't need to buy any special scratching posts, as the instinct can be harmlessly satisfied on, well, pretty much anything, the couch, the doorframe, etc. You might try getting one of the carpet ones, since sisal would likely be painful on bare paw.

I'm so sorry you lost your cat before. I know you'll give a good home to the next kitty you find!

And thank you for adopting from the shelter and keeping your declawed kitty safe inside!
post #3 of 26
A lot of declawed cats sitting in shelters are there because of behavior problems. This cat could be avoiding the litter pan or fear biting because of the declawing. So those things you will have to keep an eye on to watch for.

Of course the cat would have to be kept indoors unless you are out there to supervise on a harness/leash - never alone as the cat has no defense.

They will still go thru the motions of scratching things - the pads have scent glands too for "marking".

Its nice you are willing to adopt the declawed cat, but keep in mind he may have litter box problems or biting problems.

Is this a 2 or 4 paw declaw? if only the front is done, you will have to trim the back nails.
post #4 of 26
In general they don't need much extra except to ensure that they don't get outside where they can't defend themselves or escape.

However, as the previous posters have indicated there *may* be issues to deal with in the future. Don't let that put you off - it's entirely possible that any behavior problems the kitty may have exhibited can be solved with a little love, understanding, and patience.

As for scratching, my declawed kitty (got it done before I knew what it entailed) loves to scratch on the cardboard scratch pads. Trent is 7 years old, and has not (yet ) exhibited any signs of having behavioral or physical issues with the declaw. I think I have emotional issues with having gotten it done, but he's just fine.
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
As for scratching, my declawed kitty (got it done before I knew what it entailed) loves to scratch on the cardboard scratch pads. Trent is 7 years old, and has not (yet ) exhibited any signs of having behavioral or physical issues with the declaw. I think I have emotional issues with having gotten it done, but he's just fine.
my 2 declaws 'scratch' both the sisal rope posts on the cat trees & the cardboard scratch pads, as well as the furniture they just have no results. but they enjoy using the scratch posts & pads as much as my 2 clawed cats do.
post #6 of 26
The only thing I have to add to this thread is that your kitty will want to scratch. But you may be lucky and not need to go buy a scratch post. If you have a wicker basket or wicker chair bottoms your cat will find those and love scratching on them!
post #7 of 26
Whether or not a cat has claws doesn't mean you don't have to buy a scratching post. I would still get the tree house one for them to sit on and enjoy playing on
post #8 of 26
I have a stray declawed kitty that I adopted. At first she did like to bite because she has been traumatized. She only bites gently when she does not want to be picked up. I have taught her "don't bite". So, she does not bite as much as she used to for a couple of reasons: I taught her not to and now after a year she is safe, spoiled, loved to death, eats well.

She is my sweet dolly, a beautiful cat, she is the love of my life. I almost cried when I found out she did not have claws and she was out in the woods defending herself.
post #9 of 26
Our two RB boys, Gryphon and Nibs, came to us at the age of 6, having been declawed as kittens. We were totally ignorant about the possibility of behavioral issues or the need to keep them indoors. Had we known, we wouldn't have offered them a home, since keeping them indoors was not an option, and we were already anxious about how our 14 year old female would respond to them.

I'm glad we were ignorant, because we got two lovely boys, who were with us into their teens. The potential behavioral issues never came up, nor did anything untoward happen as a result of their having outdoor access. Yes, they "scratched", but of course did no damage to anything.
post #10 of 26
You were lucky regarding your two boys - most are not that lucky. I'm assuming the outside time was supervised? If not, again, you were extremly lucky!

My first cat Mitten, was the only one I've own that was declawed (on insistance of my parents who said that's the only way I could keep him). I cried when he came home from the vet with feet tightly bandaged and so confused and didn't want to use the litter pan. I regret to this day that I had him done!

But Mitten was an extraordinary cat - he didn't have the behavior problems nor biting issues like a lot of them do. He still was allowed outside under supervision and still caught birds, squirrels, and rabbits (baby) and killed them without front claws (he'd use his teeth and back feet).

However, I've seen many declawed cats that are fear biters and when a person asked about litter box problems, first thing I'd ask them was "is the cat declawed?" - and 7 out of 10 times it was. So I discourage people from doing it for the above reasons. And also tell them that if they choose to declaw their cat, then they should keep the cat for its entire life - problems or no problems and don't dump it in the shelters. They created some of the problems with declawing that would not exist otherwise.
post #11 of 26
I had a declawed cat as a kid and he was absolutely normal, used regular litter. He even got out a few times and got into fights... and won. You really couldn't have distinguished him from any other cat.

I'd say no, you don't need a scratching post. He'll use whatever surface appeals to him. As for clipping the back claws... I've never done that on any cat. I only clip the front set. That seems to work fine.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
As for clipping the back claws... I've never done that on any cat. I only clip the front set. That seems to work fine.
i've never clipped the back, either, on any of mine.
post #13 of 26
A few of mine were declawed when I got them. None of them have required any extra care. They use the same litter as the clawed cats, eat the same food, and have had no behavior problems. They have had no joint issues; they walk, play and jump, just like the clawed kitties do (even more so in some cases ). I do like to get their rear claws trimmed from time to time. They also like to "scratch" just like clawed kitties. In short, the only difference between them & my kitties with claws is ......well, the claws !

I'm not sure I necessarily agree with the theory that declawed cats end up in shelters because of behavioral problems. There are a million reasons why kitties, clawed or not, end up in shelters.......and I'm not sure it's fair to assume a declawed kitty in a shelter has inherent behavioral issues. I hope you won't change your mind about giving this kitty a home based on that. Chances are, he's there for some of the same reasons the other kitties are and if you've got your heart set on this guy, please bring him home.......he shouldn't require any additional care over and above that required of a cat with all 4 sets of claws.

Best of luck to you with your new furry friend!!
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarnails View Post
Do declawed cats need any special care? Do they still try to scratch things even with their claws gone, and will scratching posts/boards still be needed?
At one time I had a cat that had been declawed. She kept going around the house and "sharpening" her claws that were gone on various things in the house. I saw a scratching post at a garage sale for two dollars so I bought it. She used this post the rest of her life to scratch, many times during the day. She did not know she had no claws to sharpen and enjoyed the scratching post very much!
post #15 of 26
my cats are all front declawed, they were adopted as adults and came to me that way.

they LOVE their scratching posts and cat forts. in fact i wish i had known to get those when i first adopted raven & nabu. they probably would have been less crazy to deal with. each has their own preferences. i have one who likes those carpeted cat condos. one who likes sisal. all 3 like cardboard. and lastly, nabu loves those carpet remnants from the store.

the only thing you may have to watch is the litter texture. my cats have a distinct preference for fine sandy scooping litter. and several cat behaviorists recommend that for declawed cats. because they walk on their pads instead of their toes, walking on coarse litter is like walking barefoot on a gravel road. so i tend to stick with a few certain brands of scooping cat litter: fresh step (but watch the kinds, because regular has very strong perfume), target's store brand is alot like the old tidy cats formula--very sandy, arm & hammer (but my crew only likes unscented) and the walmart special kitty scoop with crystals. my cats are very fussy about their litter & it's texture.
post #16 of 26
I've had a couple of declawed cats recently. Peaches is front declaw and I got her at a shelter. They were going to put her down because she is a biter so I took her, since I don't have any kids. She doesn't bite very often but I have to be careful with her around children (if they are visiting). I just don't trust her in that situation. She hasn't had litter box issues except when I forget to scoop it. Then she'll remind me by pooping in the bath tub. Recently I rehomed Jazzy, who I also got at a shelter. He came with all 4's declawed. He seemed to have some emotional issues but I think they were more due to jealousy as he's doing fine as an only cat. Both cats climbed (or jumped), and "scratched." I've never heard of a declawed cat regrowing claws. Doesn't mean it hasn't happend. I just haven't heard of it. Not sure how it could happen since they amputate to the first knuckle so they don't grow back. Anyway, I've never done any special care with the cats I got from the shelter that had previously been declawed. Of course, they were already healed by the time I got them.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzjazz2u View Post
I've never heard of a declawed cat regrowing claws. Doesn't mean it hasn't happend. I just haven't heard of it. Not sure how it could happen since they amputate to the first knuckle so they don't grow back.
It is rare, but it is really important to catch it quickly. Basically what happens is that if the don't do the amputation right (and some vets use something that's pretty much a pair of pliers) and get all of the bone down to the first knuckle, the claw can regrow and it is very painful because it is growing in the scar and for the most part is deformed anyway.

Routinely checking your cat and watching for signs of pain and such is something we should all be doing anyway, but when you have a declawed cat it seems like sometimes people forget to check their toes and paws as carefully.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
It is rare, but it is really important to catch it quickly. Basically what happens is that if the don't do the amputation right (and some vets use something that's pretty much a pair of pliers) and get all of the bone down to the first knuckle, the claw can regrow and it is very painful because it is growing in the scar and for the most part is deformed anyway.
of the 4 declawed cats i've owned, 2 have regrown a single claw each. the vet told me Medley's was painful & needed to be removed. i was younger then, & more ignorant, so i believed him & had it done.
Pixel's regrown one of hers - i found it a few months ago. she doesn't act like it bothers her in the least, & it's considerably smaller than a normal claw. i'm not going to have it removed unless it starts causing her difficulty or pain. while Medley's was definitely deformed, Pixel's looks quite normal, just small.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
It is rare, but it is really important to catch it quickly. Basically what happens is that if the don't do the amputation right (and some vets use something that's pretty much a pair of pliers) and get all of the bone down to the first knuckle, the claw can regrow and it is very painful because it is growing in the scar and for the most part is deformed anyway.

Routinely checking your cat and watching for signs of pain and such is something we should all be doing anyway, but when you have a declawed cat it seems like sometimes people forget to check their toes and paws as carefully.

Jake almost had to have his toes amputated but thank God he didn't! So this isn't really related to actual medical declawing but... When he was sick a couple years ago, he he lost all his claws in his front paws. Part of his illness was that his paws had puss coming out of the toes and his toes were all raw/red. (For those who don't know, it started in his toes and ears and spread all over his face. See "Jakes Story" link under my sig.) He's grown back those claws. Some are normal, some are very small and one was really deformed. That was over 2 years ago. I kept clipping the deformed claw and now it is normal.
post #20 of 26
I have had cats for 20 years... all declawed and they did not even realize
their claws were not there. My first cat lived to 16 years old and died of
old age. Many people get a kitten and think how adorable, until they
start ripping the house to shreds. Then what happens...they dump them
in a shelter!!!
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxie's Mama View Post
I have had cats for 20 years... all declawed and they did not even realize
their claws were not there. My first cat lived to 16 years old and died of
old age. Many people get a kitten and think how adorable, until they
start ripping the house to shreds. Then what happens...they dump them
in a shelter!!!
This thread is about a cat that has already been declawed and whether it needs special care or not. Not defending the indefensible idea of declawing the cat.
post #22 of 26
My point was....they lead a healthy life and needed no special care..
dont be so defensive. Everyone is entitled to their option!!!!
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxie's Mama View Post
My point was....they lead a healthy life and needed no special care.
I think it's a good point and it was totally clear.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
As for clipping the back claws... I've never done that on any cat. I only clip the front set. That seems to work fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
i've never clipped the back, either, on any of mine.
Although the back claws don't need frequent clipping, we do clip them when they start getting too long or sharp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxie's Mama View Post
I have had cats for 20 years... all declawed and they did not even realize
their claws were not there. My first cat lived to 16 years old and died of
old age. Many people get a kitten and think how adorable, until they
start ripping the house to shreds. Then what happens...they dump them
in a shelter!!!
IMO 16 isn't exactly "old age" for a cat but is definitely a senior cat. As another poster mentioned, this question came up regarding a cat already declawed.

TCS is anti-declawing so you won't find much support for people who believe in declawing or support it. IMHO the only reason a kitten would "rip a house to shreds" is because the owners didn't teach the kitten in the first place and if they are that irresponsible the kitten is better off being out of their house and hopefully finding a more suitable home anyway.
post #25 of 26

I'm so glad that you reinforced the idea of not giving up on adopting a cat "just" because it happens to be declawed AND up for adoption. With all of the posts I was beginning to wonder and worry. Since laying eyes upon Kali, though, it has just been a soul connection kind of love. I can't even imagine NOT bringing her home with me anymore!!

She will have a wonderful for ever home with us. I'm sure she'll need what all of us need when we are new... acceptance, empathy, encouragement, patience, and most of all lots and lots of love heartpump.gifheartpump.gifheartpump.gif

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura22 View Post

I'm so glad that you reinforced the idea of not giving up on adopting a cat "just" because it happens to be declawed AND up for adoption. With all of the posts I was beginning to wonder and worry. Since laying eyes upon Kali, though, it has just been a soul connection kind of love. I can't even imagine NOT bringing her home with me anymore!!
She will have a wonderful for ever home with us. I'm sure she'll need what all of us need when we are new... acceptance, empathy, encouragement, patience, and most of all lots and lots of love heartpump.gifheartpump.gifheartpump.gif
Welcome to TCS wavey.gif
We'd love to have you hop over to the New Cats on the Block forum and introduce yourself. You may not get much attention here because this thread is almost 8 years old and many of the original posters are probably not following the thread any more.
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