I have a 3-month old male kitten – is it too soon to declaw and neuter? Can both procedures be done in the same visit, and what would those procedures cost?
Congratulations on your new kitten and thank you for asking us a question about wellness and preventative care. Although a neuter is a routine elective surgery, all anesthetic procedures carry risks for complications, including death. At three months old he is still developing and his ability to handle anesthesia will improve with age and weight. I would wait until closer to 6 months of age. The most important aspect of health and wellness for a three month old kitten is to have a physical examination to be sure he is healthy (including healthy for anesthesia), be sure he is free from internal and external parasites, test for retroviral diseases, complete his vaccination series and review information about training, socialization, husbandry and nutrition.
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.
We would love to meet you both for your first kitten visit and provide you with all the information you need, including cost of care, to keep your kitten healthy and happy for years to come.