To declaw or not to declaw? This has become a question of immense drama and heated debate among animal activists and cat owners. Some people claim that it is the only way that cat owners can protect their furniture and families from being tattered by sharp cat claws, while others believe that it is a cruel and inhumane procedure that traumatizes cats and leaves them defenseless against potential harm. In fact, many pet adoption agencies are now making it part of the application and adoption process that future pet owners must sign a contract promising not to declaw their new pet. Regardless of the side of the debate that you are on, if you are wondering “how much does it cost to declaw a cat?” you should know that there are three different methods.
Reviewing the method, potential risks, and costs of each of the procedures can help you to decide which method, if any, are the most appropriate for your pet.
The Resco Clipper Method
This method is the “traditional” form of declawing a cat. Referred to as “onychectomy”, declawing is literally removing the claw and joint from the front paws of a cat. In this method vets use a heavy-duty nail clipper called by many “the guillotine”. The clippers are used to cut off the nail bed and the actual toe joint. While this is the fastest and cheapest procedure for declawing a cat, it is also the one with the most complications.
Cats undergoing the Resco clipper method must be under anesthesia, which can be extremely dangerous for a cat. They may also experience extended bleeding, infections, and the possibility that the claws will grow back even without the nail bed.
Depending on your vet, and if you have pet insurance, you can expect to pay between $40 and $300, with the vast majority of vets charging lower amounts for this method.
Another method of declawing a cat is referred to as scalpel disarticulation. This is a much more dangerous procedure because it requires the cat to be put under much stronger anesthesia. The rate of animals dying due to adverse reactions to anesthesia is frighteningly high. One advantage to this form of declawing is that it prevents the regrowth of claws by completely removing the entire bone as well as the ligaments.
This is a more complex and difficult procedure, so you can expect to pay more than you would for the Resco clipper method. Though the average range is the same, it is common for vets to charge around $250 for each procedure.
The newest method of declawing a cat is referred to as laser onychectomy. During this procedure a laser is used to remove both the nail bed and the toe bone. Pet owners that are squeamish about the concept of declawing but feel that it is necessary due to behavioral issues may lean toward this method. The use of lasers means a less traumatic situation as well as less residual pain. Cats also tend to experience much less bleeding, if any at all, when compared to using clippers or a scalpel. Bandages are not usually used afterwards, which makes moving around easier for your cat, and the period needed for recovery is shorter.
Purchasing the necessary equipment is expensive, which means that those vets who wish to perform declawing procedures in this manner will likely charge much more than those using the Resco clipper or scalpel disarticulation. You can expect to pay an average of $100 more for this type of procedure than you would for older methods.
An important thing to remember is that “how much does it cost to declaw a cat?” should not be the only question asked when contacting your vet or local animal clinic about the procedure. Especially if you are choosing the laser procedure, you should inquire about the experience of the vet. Laser onychectomy is a difficult procedure and requires that a technician learn and understand the methods before successfully completing them on a regular basis. Find out how many of the procedures the vet has performed, and the results of these procedures.
For many people considering adding a pet to their family, “how much does it cost to declaw a cat?” is a logical question. This is a decision, however, that should not be taken lightly. Do plenty of research to determine if you are certain that you are comfortable with putting your cat through the surgery. If you are experiencing behavior problems such as excessive scratching, there are alternatives that can let you avoid the procedure.