Ask-a-Vet: Question and Answer
Age: 10.0 years
Weight: 9.0 pounds
8/10/2012 12:07:52 PM
I’m thinking of having my 10 yr old cat declawed. What would be his risks or complications because of his age? I have tried nail clipping him, water spraying, soft paws nail caps and a stand up carpet scratchers but its not helping. I just spent $3000 on new carpeting and he is clawing at it.
8/30/2012 10:03:10 AM
Greetings - -
It is certainly a challenge when we have to modify the very normal scratching behavior of our kitties if they decide to target an unacceptable object.
The surgery you are contemplating is amputation of the last digits of each toe.
Amputating the toes of cats is a procedure that is actually illegal in most of the developed world, and most veterinarians no longer recommend it because it changes the biomechanics of the feet forever and cats can develop neuropathic pain in their feet. Certainly I am extra concerned because of his age.
In the interest of preserving the new carpet, my recommendation is to seek the advice of a board-certified behaviorist (your primary care veterinarian can help you in this search), or at the very least, to work with a veterinarian who is tuned in to the most current and up-to-date behavior modification recommendations for redirecting scratching behavior. While you have tried a few strategies, I don’t have enough information to assess whether these techniques were leveraged to their fullest potential, and there are other strategies you have not mentioned.
Here is an excellent place to start by one of today’s premier behaviorists, Dr. Sophia Yin:
Please seek the assistance of your primary care veterinarian as you proceed.