Declaw Aftercare Instruction For Cats Prevent Infection!

In the wake of a declawing operation, providing your feline companion with devoted care and gentle handling is paramount. One key element in the post-operative care is the prevention of infection, a common, yet potentially serious, complication that could hinder your pet’s health and recovery. In the subsequent passages, we will provide an extensive guide to proper aftercare, ensuring your beloved pet is safeguarded from infection, thus aiding a comfortable and smooth convalescence post-declawing. By strictly adhering to these instructions, you can assist your cherished fur-baby to traverse this sensitive period, curbing risks and fostering a swift and uncomplicated recovery.

Detailed Insight on the Declaw Surgery

Declawing your furred confidant is a significant surgical procedure. The process involves the removal of the final joint of each toe, inclusive of the nail, by your trusted veterinarian. This surgery is predominantly performed on the front two paws, but under certain circumstances, all four paws might necessitate declawing. Although the surgery can be executed at any stage of your cat’s life, the optimal age bracket for this procedure is typically between 3 to 5 months, as stated by the Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital. This is because kittens generally exhibit a faster healing rate compared to adult cats.

Following your cherished feline companion’s declawing procedure, they will warrant an extra degree of tender, loving care within the familiar comfort of your home. She will continue to require a litter box after her surgery, with certain safety considerations when it comes to the choice of litter. It’s advisable to arrange a secure recovery zone and an accessible litter box before her arrival back home.

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Declaw Aftercare Instructions For Cats

Your beloved feline companion has just undergone a significant medical procedure involving general anesthesia. The influence of this anesthesia can continue to manifest in your pet’s behavior and temperament for the forthcoming 24 hours. For instance, your cat might exhibit symptoms such as a vacant or dazed look, unusual drowsiness, potential nausea, occasional bouts of shivering, or even a hint of irritability. Herein, we’re providing a series of practical and compassionate guidelines to streamline the recovery journey for both you and your furry friend:

  1. After such a strenuous ordeal, your cat might be experiencing a temporary loss of appetite or sensation of nausea. As a gentle approach, offer your feline companion small portions of food and water later in the evening. It may take anywhere between 24 to 48 hours for your pet’s normal eating habits to reestablish themselves.
  2. For the subsequent 14 days, it’s essential to use only shredded paper or paper-based litter like “Yesterday’s News” (which can be conveniently found at PetSmart) or litter crystals. Exposure to regular litter or natural soil could potentially incite an infection, jeopardizing the recovery process.
  3. Your cat’s pain management should only involve the medication specifically prescribed by our veterinary team. Any off-the-shelf human medications can pose a serious risk of toxicity for your feline friend.
  4. The protective bandages on your pet’s paws need to be taken off the day after the procedure. In order to alleviate any discomfort, provide one dose of the pain medication 20 minutes before initiating the removal process. To safely remove the bandage, gently untangle the white tape situated at the bandage’s top and subsequently pull the wrap off in a manner similar to removing a sock. It’s critical to avoid using scissors as there’s a risk of inadvertently cutting your pet’s skin. If you encounter any challenges during this process, please bring your cat back to our clinic. We’re more than happy to assist with the bandage removal, free of charge.
  5. A daily examination of your cat’s toes for signs of swelling or discharge is vital during the healing phase. Maintain the paws in a dry state. You may spot a green or blue adhesive substance on the toes; this is a special skin adhesive employed to seal the surgical incisions.
  6. Keep in mind that each feline patient has their unique pace of recovery. The majority of cats will recuperate within a period of 2 to 6 weeks. Should your cat continue to limp more than 5 days post-surgery, please reach out to us without delay. Please be aware that larger, older cats may necessitate a lengthier healing period.
  7. In the event that the wraps come off prematurely, try to mitigate your cat’s activity level by confining it to a small box or carrier equipped with a soft towel for cushioning. A minor amount of bleeding or spotting may be observed, but it should cease as your cat gradually settles down.

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Additional Considerations Tips

It’s normal for your fluffy companion to take several days to regain her strength post-surgery. Arrange a safe, quiet haven for her recovery, such as your master bedroom. Given that walking might cause her slight discomfort, it’s beneficial to situate her bed, food, and water in close proximity, thereby minimizing the need for movement. While her litter box should be in the same room for easy accessibility, it should be positioned on the opposite side from her food to maintain hygiene. Regularly cleaning her litter box will help to prevent the contamination of her healing wounds. Lastly, her bathroom area should ideally be located away from noisy, high-traffic areas, especially during her initial recovery phase from anesthesia post-surgery. Excessive noise—from the laundry room, bathroom, or any bustling part of your home—may startle her during this vulnerable phase, potentially leading to accidents outside the litter box.

What Litter Can Be Used For Declaw Cats?

Upon the completion of your cat’s declawing procedure, it’s of the utmost importance to furnish an appropriate litter type. This litter should be tender on your feline’s paws and diminish the potential risk of any infection. Here are a few viable options:

  • Shredded Newspaper: Offering a gentle and non-abrasive surface for your cat’s sensitive paws, shredded newspaper serves as an immediate solution post-surgery. This option is economical and easily procurable, although it falls short in terms of clumping properties and odor management.
  • Recycled Newspaper Pellets: Commercially available products like “Yesterday’s News”, composed of recycled newspapers, provide a softer alternative that’s less likely to cause irritation to your cat’s tender paws as compared to conventional clay or clumping litters. These pellets boast high absorption rates, exhibiting superior odor control compared to mere shredded newspaper.
  • Paper Litter: Echoing the properties of recycled newspaper pellets, paper litters such as “Carefresh” are derived from biodegradable, reclaimed paper pulp. They ensure a dust-free environment and are tender on the paws of your delicate companion.
  • Silica Gel Crystals: While they might pose a slightly higher cost, silica gel crystals present a soft and gentle environment for your cat’s paws. Renowned for their high absorbency and exceptional odor control, they can provide a comfortable experience for your recuperating feline.
  • Alternative Litter Options: Certain felines display selective preferences when it comes to their litter, potentially rejecting the use of the litter box if it contains unfamiliar materials like newspaper or pellets. If such a situation arises, you may revert to her regular litter to maintain her satisfaction. Fine-grained litters have a gentle texture, making them suitable for discerning cats, as elucidated by the Humane Society of the United States. Clumping litter, characterized by its extremely fine grains, can be used as an alternative to newspaper-based litters, as it is gentle on her freshly sutured paws.

Read more: How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Cats?

Can Cats Using Clay Cat Litter After Declaw?

Following your cat’s declawing procedure, it’s advisable to steer clear of conventional clay litter, at least during the initial stages of recovery. The fine, rigid granules that constitute clay litter possess the potential to agitate the newly-operated area. This can result in unnecessary discomfort and, in certain circumstances, may even pave the way for an infection.

Throughout the convalescent period, typically spanning 1 to 2 weeks, it’s preferable to opt for gentler alternatives. Shredded newspaper, recycled newspaper pellets, or dust-free paper litters often emerge as the recommended options, primarily due to their soft texture that’s unlikely to inflict irritation or cause harm to the sensitive surgical sites.

Upon the successful completion of the healing process, once all open wounds have fully closed, you might consider reintroducing clay litter. That said, it’s worth noting that some cats may develop a distaste for the type of litter they associate with the post-surgical discomfort. In these instances, you may need to persist with a softer alternative. As always, it’s prudent to seek counsel from your vet when it comes to selecting your cat’s litter, as they can provide guidance that’s attuned to your cat’s specific needs and recovery status.

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Should You Declaw Your Cats?

The question of whether or not to declaw a cat is one that elicits passionate responses and strong opinions. While some may erroneously liken the procedure to cutting a person’s finger at the first knuckle, the reality is far graver and more consequential for the feline. It is not a mere trimming but a profound alteration that can drastically change a cat’s life, making the comparison to cutting off a human’s hands tragically more apt.

Humans may lose the tip of a finger and, although met with discomfort and a need to adapt, can find ways to adjust. We can still grasp objects, cook, defend ourselves, utilize keyboards and cell phones, and even employ prosthetics or tools to aid us. Our essential being, our humanity, would remain largely unaltered, our daily lives eventually returning to normality after a period of adjustment.

Cats, however, are fundamentally different. Their very essence revolves around their claws, not merely their feet. To deprive them of their claws is to strip away a vital part of their identity.

  • A cat’s ability to grasp and manipulate objects is reliant on its claws. Unlike humans, cats don’t possess opposable limbs. Their paws are small and soft, and without claws, their interaction with the world becomes slippery and imprecise. While human beings depend on walking, cats’ nature is intricately tied to both walking and jumping. The world appears vast to them, and without claws, they lose their ability to latch onto things, diminishing their natural grace and agility. This can lead to chronic depression and stress.
  • Claws are a cat’s primary defense mechanism. In a world where every other creature looms six or seven times their height, being without claws leaves them vulnerable and defenseless. Declawed cats are more likely to be killed by dogs and often exhibit anxiety around humans.
  • Declawing often prompts cats to replace their lost claws with teeth. This adaptation is inefficient and results in a behavioral change that can make them more aggressive. They may start to bite incessantly, both objects and their human caretakers.

The underlying motivation to declaw usually stems from a desire to protect furniture, a decision that appears profoundly selfish when weighed against the lifelong ramifications for the cat. When declawed cats become aggressive, they are often abandoned, left to a world where survival is nearly impossible without claws.

But there are humane alternatives to declawing:

  • Regular nail trimming can soften claws, making them less destructive while still allowing the cat to fulfill its natural needs.
  • Patience in finding the right scratch post can lead to a solution that satisfies both cat and owner.
  • Claw sleeves provide a compromise, softening the claws while retaining most of their functionality.
  • Even if a cat’s scratching becomes a personal issue, there are ways to teach them to stop without resorting to declawing.


So, the plea is heartfelt and unambiguous: please, just don’t. Consider the alternatives, understand the profound impact of the decision, and choose a path that respects the essential nature of your feline friend.

Read more: How Much Does a Cat Behaviorist Cost – Training Your Cat!

FAQs Declaw Aftercare Instruction For Cats Prevent Infection!

When can cats use normal litter after declaw?

Post-declawing, it’s advisable that your cat steers clear from regular litter and instead, opts for a softer variant, at least for an approximate period of 1-2 weeks. This duration is subject to the unique healing pace of your cat. The regular clay or clumping litter can be reintroduced once the surgical wounds have completely healed and there are no open wounds visible. However, it’s of utmost importance to get a go-ahead from your veterinarian, who can offer guidance tailored to your cat’s specific circumstance.

Can cats get their paws wet after declawing?

Generally, it’s advised to prevent your cat from getting its paws wet after undergoing declawing surgery. Submerging the paws in water might expose the surgical wounds to bacteria, heightening the risk of infection. Moreover, moisture could interfere with the healing trajectory. If your cat’s paws get soiled, opt for gently cleaning them with a mildly damp cloth, followed by thorough drying. Once the paws have fully healed and the wounds are completely sealed, routine grooming practices can be resumed.

Why won’t my cat use the litter box after being declawed?

Post-declawing, it’s not unusual for cats to develop a negative association with their litter box, perceiving it as a source of discomfort and pain. The abrasive nature of the regular litter that they were familiar with before surgery could be too harsh on their newly sensitive paws, thereby causing distress. Transitioning to softer, paper-based litters during the healing phase can be helpful in mitigating this issue. Additionally, behavioural changes induced by stress post-surgery may also result in temporary litter box avoidance. A dose of additional care and patience during this phase can ease the transition for your feline friend.

Do declawed cats have litterbox issues?

Indeed, some cats who have been declawed may face litterbox issues. These primarily stem from the pain experienced while digging into standard, granular litter post-surgery. Their paws can be tender and the usage of regular litter might induce discomfort. This discomfort could form a painful association with the litter box, leading them to avoid it, which can in turn result in inappropriate elimination elsewhere. Hence, it’s crucial to utilise softer alternatives during the healing process and exercise patience, recognising that behavioural shifts are a normal aspect of recovery.

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