Cat Declawing Cost: What You Need To Know

Declawing cats is an emotional and controversial topic because it involves removing the cat’s first line of defense: its sharp nails and bones that hold the nails. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Academy of Feline Medicine stress that owners should be educated about the procedure, the risks, and the alternatives.

Declawing, or onychectomy, is a major surgical procedure that removes the cat’s claws completely. Many of the benefits of declawing can be achieved through alternative methods; in fact, most veterinarians will require you to try other solutions before they agree to declaw a cat. Some veterinarians will not declaw cats at all, and some areas in the United States, as well as other countries, have outlawed this practice. Declawing a cat should be the last feasible option available.

How Much Does it Cost to Declaw a Cat?

The cost of declawing a cat ranges from $200 to $800 (or more) and is dependent on your cat’s age, your local veterinarian’s prices, take-home medications, and pre-anesthetic health assessments, and any other potential complications that may come with the surgery.  Also, if your local veterinarian does not offer declawing, you will need to travel outside of your area to have the procedure done, which entails additional costs.

Are There Good Reasons to Declaw a Cat?

There are a couple of good reasons. Medically, if your cat has a claw that has a tumor or is damaged, you may consider declawing. If you have a suppressed immune system or are on a blood thinner, you should not be exposed to the bacteria on a cat’s claws and may want to consider declawing.

However, the majority of declawing procedures are because of social issues: specifically when destructive behavior such as scratching up furniture, walls, and even people becomes out of control. Still, there are some effective alternatives to prevent this behavior that you can try before deciding on declawing.

What is the Cat Declawing Cost Breakdown?

To determine the cost breakdown to declaw a cat, you will need to consider the following:

Pre-Anesthetic Health Visit Cost:

Depending on your cat’s age, he will need to undergo diagnostic testing for veterinarians to get a complete picture of your feline’s health.  Younger cats will likely need a CBC and basic blood chemistry panel, which costs between $80-$120. Older cats need a more extensive chemistry panel, a CBC, and a urinalysis, which costs approximately $175-$250.

Anesthesia Cost

Declawing a cat typically requires injectable anesthesia, which is cheaper than intubation or gas anesthesia. The cost of anesthesia normally ranges from $25-$75.

Declawing Procedure Cost

There are three methods to declaw a cat. The Rescoe clipper method is the simplest and cheapest of the three. The veterinarian uses a sterilized clipper to remove the cat’s toes and bone tips, and then stitches the incisions. This method costs approximately $100, but this method involves risks such as infection.

The second method, the disarticulation method, the veterinarian surgically removes the bones that host the cat’s claws. This means that the claws will never regrow. The average cost for the disarticulation method is $250, and it is more complicated than the Rescoe clipper method.

The laser method involves employing laser beams to remove the bones from which the claws grow. This procedure comes with less pain and bleeding, and is the most expensive method at  $200-$450.

All three methods require tissue glue and bandages, which costs $20-$50.

Post-Procedure Care

Your cat will need antibiotics and pain medication after the declawing procedure. Antibiotics cost around $30, and pain medication costs around $20-30. In addition, your cat will need to wear an e-collar to ensure he does not chew on his paw, which will add an additional $10-$25.

In addition, it is recommended that you replace your regular cat litter with paper cat litter for at least one week after surgery to reduce the risk of contaminating the surgical wounds. Paper cat litter costs around $20 for a 30-lb. bag.

Cat Declawing Alternatives

As you can see, declawing a cat is not only painful for the cat, it is also expensive. There are some effective alternatives for preventing scratching that could save significant money!

Regular Nail Trims

Trimming your cat’s nails regularly is an effective way to prevent them from becoming too sharp. This can be done with a cat nail clipper or a regular human nail clipper. They usually cost no more than $5 (here’s what i recommend)

Your veterinary clinic or groomer can trim your cat’s nails if you don’t want to do it yourself.  A typical trip to the groomer or vet clinic for a nail trim is $10-$30.

Soft Paws

Another popular alternative to declawing is Soft Paws, which are soft plastic tips that are glued to your cat’s nails. They cost around $10 for 40 nail tips. First, you trim your cat’s nails, and then you glue on the Soft Paws. You can apply these at home, or your local veterinary clinic can apply them. The average cost for applying Soft Paws is $15-$60. They will naturally fall off as the nails grow, and you can replace them as needed.

<<< Get Softpaws for your Cat! >>>

Feliscratch

Cats use pheromones (chemical connections between species) to know where to scratch. You can use pheromones to show them where to scratch! Feliscratch is a month-long course of pheromones that teaches your cat where to scratch. These cost around $15-$25. This product is pretty effective; eight out of ten cats will learn how to scratch in the “right” places.

Bottom Line

If you have exhausted your options and are set on getting your cat declawed, ask fellow cat owners, breeders, or veterinarian clinic for recommendations. Keep in mind that most people have strong opinions on this controversial procedure, so be prepared for that.  You can also check with the American Veterinary Medical Association to find your state’s medical association for a referral.

The bottom line is to educate yourself thoroughly on the procedures, risks, and cost of declawing your cat. The cost will range from $200 to up around $800 or more, depending on your cat, the veterinarian practice, and other potential costs.

David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.

9 thoughts on “Cat Declawing Cost: What You Need To Know”

    • Thanks a lot for reading the article and doing your research, Sharon. These situations can be tricky and challenging to modify kitty’s behavior. It would be great if you could find an alternative that works for you. Good luck!

      Reply
  1. I found this article to be very helpful and gave me a lot to think about before deciding to declaw 2 brothers we have. They were born in our house and will be indoor cats along with their mother. We recently had the boys neutered due to the horrifying marking and violent fighting behaviors (not sure which was worse). They also grew enormous in size, especially their heads. The bigger one started sneaking up behind me and attacking my arm. First cat I’ve ever had that bites, and I mean harsh bites. Thankfully the neutering has reversed the bad behaviors 100%. The declawing would be mainly for our furniture and the boys play rough sometimes and end up getting eye scratches requiring ointment. After reading your article, I feel like surgical declawing could be avoided with a little effort from us humans instead of laziness…I actually have some of the soft tip covers that I ordered a few months ago but they aren’t going to help as long as they sit in a drawer…Laziness

    Reply
    • Fantastic, Laurie! So glad that you found the article useful. Ultimately, we don’t want our website to be judgmental and we believe that we can trust to make the right decision and we just want to provide helpful information to help them make that decision for themselves. Always a great decision to get pets spayed and neutered, especially for the boys that can be quite aggressive in their behaviors. Great to hear of your results and hope more good things to follow regarding the scratching. All the best & much health to your furry household!

      Reply
    • Laurie,
      I just had my cat laser declawed.
      It was definitely NOT due to laziness on my part.
      You should not label others as being lazy as you do not know a person’s reasons for doing so.
      My husband is diabetic and can’t handle being scratched by our cat.
      Trimming did not help. Soft Paws were a joke. (Good Luck with that!)
      Two days after laser surgery, you would never know she had it done.
      Recovery was awesome.
      Did I enjoy doing this to my cat? Of course I didn’t. My eyes are still swollen from crying and I will feel guilty forever. I do however stand by my decision as it was the last choice I had.
      Good Luck to you.

      Reply
      • Karen, thank you for your thoughtful post and sharing your experiences with us. It is highly appreciated. We certainly agree that “one size does not fit all” and our kitty friends are as varied as we humans are and the best we can hope for is everyone to make the best informed decisions that they can for their circumstances.

        Reply
  2. I recently adopted a stray kitten that a friend of my sister found. I have a 4 year old who loves all animals, his fathers new gf, (we’re divorced) is a groomer and has a small farm, pot belly pigs(6-7), goats(2) chickens (2-3) and has several dogs, a couple of cats, so he is around lots of animals. He plays with all these animals and we adopted this male kitty and both kitten and son play rough. And the kitty scratches my son, and the kitty likes to sneek attack me and play bites, its not hard but he digs his claws into me andI’m allergic to cats but I take allergy medication daily, but when he scratches me they always become ever itchy and irritated and more so than not become infected, even when I immediately wash with antibacterial soap and warm water. My son doesn’t seem to be allergic like I am, but he does get scratched often when they play. And our now about 3-4 months old kitten is scratching up my furniture, bedding, carpets and rugs, ugh… I’ve bought the scratching boards, the cardboard scratchers for him and the spray to help him learn to scratch at these places, but he still gets ahold of me and the scratches really hurt and I’ve been really looking into declawing BC of my severe allergy and his behavior. I had no idea about the claw covers, I think I will look into getting them and taking him and having them put on him, BC there is no way I can do it, because he doesn’t like anyone touching his paws, I don’t want to take the risk of being scratched up and having to go thru that much pain bc I know he will scratch me trying to clip and cover his claws. But I’m still interested in having him declared if the covers don’t work or depending on how long they stay and how often they have to be replaced.
    I wasn’t so happy reading about the first way they decline, that sounds very painful and wrong, so I would probably be more happy with the option of the 2nd or 3rd choice, more likely the 3rf of laser removal, even though it’s more expensive, but would be less painful of our kitty… This article was very informative and helpful. Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Hi Coby, thank you for sharing your experiences. Appreciate the detail in your response and it sounds like you’ve been mindful to do the right things. It’s still a challenging situation, I understand it’s ultimately a personal decision for the owner to make. The best we can hope for is to present the information and make sure owners make the best decision they can. Strays that haven’t had opportunity and time to get properly socialized can present challenging situation. Hopefully, maybe some additional steps, socialization, and even behavior modification on the human’s part can be good solutions. We with you & your family the best with your kitty and hope for the best outcome for all.

      Reply
    • Good Luck with the claw covers.
      I had my vet apply them to my cat.
      Two hours later, she had chewed all but two of them off.
      I ordered Soft Paws online.
      I applied them but just as before, they were chewed off within hours.
      Sadly, I had to have my cat’s claws removed by laser. (Husband is diabetic and our cat would do a number on his hands)
      Her recovery was awesome.
      I do believe she will forgive me.

      Reply

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