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I have a cat who has always been indoors. Do you recommend declawing, or what else can be done?

Hello,

You have several options that are non-surgical, which include regular nail trimmings with access to scratching/climbing devices or soft-paw (artificial nail covers) application.

Declawing is not a routine or necessary part of preventative health care for kittens. Trimming nails, which is quick and easy, is a regular part of caring for indoor cats as well as providing scratching surfaces (please see the article The Importance of Cat Claws for more information). Many people are surprised to learn that removal of the claws requires removal of bone at the last joint and is actually a partial toe amputation, equivalent to removal of a finger at the last knuckle. There are well-studied adverse effects from this procedure such as chronic pain, arthritis, nerve pain, tendency to bite and urinating outside the litter box. At three months of age this is the perfect time to start teaching your kitten how you prefer him to use, or not use, his claws.

I hope this information is helpful,

Christine Simon D.V.M.

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