Laser Declawing: Pros, Cons and FAQ

Laser Declawing - Pros, Cons and FAQ

If you have simply gotten tired of your cat scratching up your furniture, or even worse- scratching you, then you might have considered getting him declawed. This is something that many cat owners consider from time to time. Over the years, the process of declawing a cat has changed drastically. While there are still veterinarians out there that will use the old traditional methods of declawing, many of the vets have adopted laser declawing as their method of choice.

If you are considering getting your cat declawed, you will definitely want to learn a good bit about laser declawing so that you can weigh the pros and cons and decide if it is right for you. After all, many people say that it is the more humane method.

Let’s take a look at the procedure, weigh the benefits and disadvantages, take a look at the costs and then you can decide for yourself.

The Process of Laser Declawing

First, we are going to take a closer look at the process of laser declawing. While the traditional declawing methods use incisions and have a longer recovery period, the procedure for laser declawing is actually a bit more humane.

Just like humans have laser surgeries from time to time to reduce the complications that come along with traditional surgery, pets can do the same thing. A laser is used to remove the claw, along with the first digit. (You cannot simply remove just the claw because it will grow back if you leave the first digit intact). Once the claws are removed, the nerve endings are severed to help reduce the amount of pain felt after the surgery. The blood vessels are also sealed to ensure that there is minimal blood loss.

It doesn’t require all of the tight bandages like the traditional procedure. Your cat will still be put to sleep for the procedure, and they may still feel discomfort after the surgery

Pros of Laser Declawing

Before you decide whether laser declawing is right for your cat, it is a good idea for you to weigh out the pros and cons. This will help you to make an educated decision regarding your cat. First, we will take a look at the advantages that come along with choosing this type of declawing procedure over one of the more traditional approaches.

  • The laser actually cauterizes the cut to minimize the bleeding associated with the procedure
  • Along with cauterizing the incisions, the laser also cauterizes nerve endings to minimize pain
  • There is minimal swelling associated with this procedure
  • Your cat won’t need bandages after the surgery
  • The recovery is typically a lot faster for cats that have their claws removed via laser
  • Laser declawing reduces the risk of having to have a second surgery down the road

It would seem, at first glance, that laser declawing would be the best option among all of the different methods. Just because there are ample advantages doesn’t mean that you should make your decision just yet. You also have to consider the disadvantages that may be associated with it.

Cons of Laser Declawing

This brings us to our cons. As with any type of surgical procedure, there are risks and drawbacks involved. These are things that you must consider before you decide if getting your cat laser declawed is the right thing for you to do. Here are a few of the drawbacks that come with this procedure:

  • Laser declawing can be very pricey
  • Declawing, even when done via laser, can still cause pain and discomfort
  • A minimized recovery time is not always a guarantee
  • Not all vets do laser surgeries
  • The procedure itself requires more time under anesthesia
  • There are risks involved

As you can see, there are both pros and cons that come along with laser declawing. It is always a good idea to weigh these out.

Laser declaw your cat

Estimated Cost of Laser Declawing

One of the biggest drawbacks that people find when it comes to laser declawing is the price of the procedure. The laser machines that veterinarians use to do this procedure are not cheap. They can cost upwards of $40,000. This added cost has to be recouped in one way or another, so typically they pass these costs on to responsible pet caretakers.

The price difference between traditional methods and laser declawing can be pretty steep. The typical cost of laser declawing is anywhere from $250 to $450, depending on the location.

There are also additional costs associated with it, and they will be dependent upon your veterinary clinic. This is something that you will want to discuss with the veterinary clinic before you schedule the procedure.

They typically will require blood work before the surgery so that they can check the function of the liver and kidneys. This will sometimes cost an additional $40 – $50. Another expense that you will need to take into consideration is the cost of pain medication for your cat. They will need to take medication for a few days after surgery to help alleviate any pain or discomfort they may feel.

How Long Does Laser Declawing Take?

Before you take your cat in to be laser declawed, you will probably want to know what to expect and how long they will be under anesthesia for the procedure.

Typically, the procedure itself only takes about 20 – 40 minutes, unless there are complications along the way.

The recovery time, however, is what takes the longest. Typically, with a laser declaw, your cat will be back to their everyday activity the next day. That isn’t always the case though. It really depends on the individual experience. If the procedure goes smoothly, without any complication, then they should recover in just a day or two.

With traditional methods, the recovery time could be weeks, and with complications, even a laser declaw procedure may require additional recovery time.

Estimated Cost of Laser Declawing

Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, we will take a look at some of the frequently asked questions. These are some of the questions that we are asked most often in regards to laser declawing:

Is it a Better Option?

This is a really good question. Many people want to know what the best option is when it comes to getting their cat declawed.

The truth is, the procedure still amputates the first ‘knuckle’. This has the potential to cause complications and discomfort down the road. The technique itself does have its advantages over the traditional methods, but you shouldn’t mistake that for it being a pain free method for getting rid of your cat’s claws. That simply isn’t the case at all.

Is it Permanent?

Typically, laser declawing is a permanent procedure.

There are, however, some instances when the procedure is not completely effective. This can result in the nail growing back. In these instances, a second surgery is required in order to get rid of the claws. This doesn’t happen often, but it can and does happen from time to time. If this happens to your cat, it can be very frustrating because then you have to go in for a second surgery.

Will it Change Your Cat’s Temperament?

Some cat owners report that after having their cat declawed they have behavior changes.

Some may even stop using their litter box. The good news is that this is more common with traditional methods of declawing than it is with laser declawing. That doesn’t mean that your cat may not act differently after the procedure. It really is different for each cat but definitely possible.

Will it Affect Your Cat’s Ability to Defend Himself?

Truthfully, cats need their claws to be able to defend themselves.

While the usual declawing procedure only removes the front claws, there isn’t much defense going to come from the back claws only. So, you should be aware that keeping your cat indoors after getting them declawed is very important. This is the only way to ensure that they won’t find themselves in a situation where they will need to defend themselves.

As you can see, there are so many different things that you need to consider before you make the choice to laser declaw your cat. Many people think that getting their cat laser declawed is the best option, but it isn’t a decision that you need to take lightly. While there are some reasons why getting your cat declawed may be a good idea, there are other reasons why you might want to avoid it.

If you still have questions about the procedure, or you want to know whether or not your veterinarian offers laser declawing, you will want to call them to discuss your options. They will be able to answer any other questions that you may have about the procedure.

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19 Responses

  1. I still think it is inhuman to de-claw cats in any way…There’s a reason they have claws and we shouldn’t take that from them..There are other ways and if that’s not enough then you don’t need a cat..

    1. oh please….people like you guilt others into not declawing, not realizing your stupid guilt-tripping can be BAD for the cat due to the very CONSEQUENCES of guilting someone into not getting the cat de-clawed.
      1) The owner who was guilted into not declawing later realizes they cannot live with a cat that tears shit up. The owner, instead of adopting the cat out decides to let it become an outdoor cat and if it runs away, it runs away, oh well. The cat is now in danger of harm. BAD for the cat.
      2) The owner can’t deal with the cat with its claws, but instead of throwing cat out of the house, owner adopts the cat out… someone who will DECLAW THE CAT ANYWAY.
      You do not think these things out because “muh inhumane!” So please.
      If you are too lazy to watch the door every time you leave the house to make sure cat does not get out, maybe YOU should not own a cat. How does that feel to be guilted? Like it??

    2. Cats are also “meant” to be outdoors 24/7, with no or limited human interaction. It is not inhumane to bring them inside, feed them and pamper them any more than it is with declawing. Humans have operations removing various body parts we are “meant” to have as well, because of issues that arise with that body part. The same is with cats. I think it is inhumane to constantly punish them or scold them for destroying your skin, your furniture, your other pets, etc. It should be a personal choice. You can’t be the best judge of doing something or not based solely on your own experiences.

  2. I could use some help with my cat flower, she has been clawing some very expensive furniture with out us knowing, and we may not keep her if she keeps it up, and I don’t want to loose her, so what should we do, we are out of the House allot so we can’t spray her when she does it, I mean is laser declawing better would you say

    1. Honestly this page states that there are pros and cons to everything
      Including laser cat surgery, but if you look at the bigger picture you’d realize the cons for laser surgery are a lot less bad than the cons for cats who go through traditional surgery.

      If you don’t want to lose your cat because of furnish damage, of course I’m all open arms for recommending your cat to getting the surgery if it means keeping a special buddy incomparable to other relationships!

      And some people come here or on other posts relevant to declaw surgery topics to complain and nag about people declawing their cats, but at the end of the day, if it means less risk for the cat being put up for adoption and being stuck in a cat shelter then I can’t go against that sacrifice either.

      1. I agree with you. Some people do try everything to help with the cats clawing Caps keeping them cut ect. Before they decide to declaw. Some cats just won’t tolerate all that.

    2. I have 6 cats and 4 of them are declawed. Not at the same time. Never have I had any problems with my declawed cats. They are inside only. That is a must. I am thinking about getting my other 2 cats declawed because they are scratching my furniture. I .have gotten several posts for them to use biut they still scratch the other things. I hate to do it but you have to make a choice. I love my cats and feed them only canned food. Please do not feed dry food to cats. It is really bad for them as there is no moisture in it and cats do not drink enough water. Google it up and you will find out. Cheers

    3. be aware that declawing can cause arthritis later on and, as the article mentioned, behavioral problems. is your cat a “high” cat or a “low cat”, meaning do it like high places or is the sofa the extent of how high it likes to be. either way, your heart should break when it gets older and it has a hard time getting up on even the sofa because its balance will be off.
      1-get it a friend. It’s bored when you’re gone. It can’t get on the phone and chat with friends. TV and radio don’t speak the same language and can’t interact with it. It can’t hop in the car and go do things. Imagine yourself having to entertain yourself for hours with nothing really to do but sleep or get in trouble.
      2-get corner scratching posts for furniture. Here’s some links:

  3. Is there a time frame for the age of the cat for the laser surgery? I believe the traditional declaw has to be done on kittens. Not full grown cats…..

    1. My vet insisted that the cat needed to be at least 6-months old to be declawed. I have 5 cats, all declawed, and they all do quite well without their claws. No adverse effects from the laser declawing. I still have scratching posts etc for them, as they still enjoy the feeling. It’s a personal choice to declaw or not to declaw. I don’t think it’s inhumane whatsoever, but we all have our own opinion and I respect that.

  4. I think declawing cats are a bad idea, I have two cats and one for out, he was declawed as a kitten and one day he got out, came home with scratches all over his face. I still wonder to this day what would’ve happened if I never got him declawed. I feel so bad for getting him declawed. I wish I could go back in time and change my decision of wanting to get him declawed. I would rather have my cat scratch all my furniture up other than possibly losing him to my dumb choice.

  5. I am using double sticky carpet tape “XFasten”. It is a good deterrent so far. Missy is 23 weeks, gentle tuxedo kitten, lets me trim her nails, one paw at the time. The 33 inch post is a hit. It is square and she likes to climb it and plays around it. We have 7+ scratching posts, some incorporated in her 2 towers and hammock ( loves it!!). However she is still scratching furniture and chairs are covered with towels. I am not sure what to do as our vet is suggesting declawing as an ok way to go.
    We went both ways in the past. It seems some cats get over their instincts sooner and are easier to train. Declawed cats did well. But I also heard from a neighbor who was very unhappy. Her cat suffered for years.

  6. I am getting my kitten laser-declawed tomorrow. I have tried nail caps, which can fall off quickly despite what they say about lasting 4-6 weeks; I’m risking my life trying to get them on, and they’re expensive. I’ve tried scratching posts, which Stanley likes but he also just started scratching my piano bench and the carpet (how do you stop that?!). I’ve tried double-stick tape which was great until he got bigger and can jump over it onto my piano (and scratch the wood). He also likes to playfully swipe my dog’s face, which could scratch his eyeball out.

    All of the cats I’ve had have had ZERO problems being declawed. They still “knead” my belly and scratching posts, run around like crazy, and can jump onto things. They are strictly indoors, whether they had claws or not, because what’s really cruel and inhumane is risking their being hit by a car, attacked by other animals, or getting diseases.

    With laser declaw, they’re running around again the next day, just fine.

    1. Hi, how old was your kitten when you got him laser declawed. Did everything go ok and was he up and running around the next day? Thanks.

    2. totally agree with you. I have had 2 cats the last 15 years, both declawed early because of scratching issues. I trimmed (still do with back claws because ouch!!) tried claw caps, used cat scratch deterrent sprays, reverse contact paper and tin foil but none worked, hence the decision to declaw front paws. Neither cat seems hampered in any way. they climb their cat towers, jump up on the back of the couch, use their paws for play, eating, cuddling each other and me. If the alternative is a clawed cat in a shelter for the rest of their lives, I prefer the choice to declaw, but using only the newest technology.

  7. My cat is 6 months and just got home from vet. He was neutered and declawed via laser. He seems fine; walking he ate. He is not as active (expected) but seems ok. No bandages, I paid for every possible pain medication to be administered and was sent home with antibiotics and additional pain medication. He only seems uncomfortable with the cone of shame but he will get used to it.
    This was a must for me. He was scratching a lot of my furniture and I didn’t want to lose him. He will now be a spoiled king in my home every day.
    I did feel so much guilt last night. He spent the night at the vets office. Praying he heals quickly.

  8. I had my now 18 year old cat declawed, laser method, when she was a year old. No blood or bandages, she resumed jumping around when she got home. She still has fingers and can grip as if scratching or kneading but no damage so no more chasing her off furniture or nice rugs. Shes an indoor cat so no worries there. She purrs constantly and loves her people so I can say shes happy and healthy.

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