Cat Tips

How Much Does Cat Declawing Cost? A Guide for Concerned Owners

One topic that raises lots of controversy in cat care is declawing (onychectomy). This is because it removes your cat’s first defenses. Another challenge is that declawing your cat requires a significant financial investment, so you must be sure it’s something you want for your pet.

Spot Pet Insurance is doing a review of declawing, including general estimates of how much it could cost to declaw your cat.

How much does declawing your cat cost?

It may cost you up to $1,000 to declaw your cat, according to Claremont Veterinary Services.

Although the actual declaw procedure may cost $600-$1,000, there are several other factors that could add to your expenses. For instance, 8 out of 10 provinces in Canada implement declawing bans.2 In places where declawing isn't outright banned, you may still have trouble finding a vet willing to perform the procedure. In this case, you’ll have to travel outside your city to get this done, therefore, you have to add transportation costs to your budget. It's also important to note that many countries around the world implement similar declawing bans.

Before considering declawing your cat, we highly recommend you do your research and understand the effects this could have on your cat. According to Peta, declawing a cat is equivalent to cutting off a humans fingers at the top knuckle. Additionally, cats walking on the affected limbs can experience pain for the rest of their lives, affecting their climbing and balance abilities. Oftentimes, cats can suffer from mental anguish.2

Ultimately, if you do decide to declaw your cat, they may need to stay at the vet after the procedure. You’ll need to include this in your budget for the surgery.

How do you choose a vet for the declawing procedure?

Price is a critical factor when choosing a vet to declaw your cat. However, it shouldn’t be the only determining factor. The most expensive might not give your cat the best care, but likely neither will the least expensive.

If you're able to find a veterinarian legally and ethically willing to perform the procedure, you must look at the quality of care that the veterinary practice offers your cat before you decide. When you call your vet, ask them questions about the procedure. They should share with you details about anesthesia, the type of procedure, and post-op care.

Furthermore, you can also hear from other cat owners about their experience with the vet. They’ll let you know how they treat cats before entrusting them with yours.

What are the types of declawing procedures?

There’s more than one way to remove a cat’s claw. The type of procedure your vet offers will also determine the cost.

  • Scalpel Blade/Nail Trimmer — Your vet uses a special surgical nail trimmer to remove the bones on your cat’s fingertips. This ensures that your cat’s nails don’t grow back.

  • Laser — Your vet can remove your cat’s claws with a surgical laser. It costs more than the nail trimmer but has its advantages. Your cat could have a lower risk of bleeding after laser surgery. Their recovery could also be less painful with fewer complications.

What is the aftercare for declawing a cat?

After your cat’s procedure, your vet might need to keep your cat overnight. This adds to the cost, but it may help them monitor your cat’s progress. If your cat is also getting spayed or neutered in the same procedure, they might need hospitalization.

Your cats might need to get started on antibiotics after surgery. Every surgical procedure carries a risk of infection. This is why you must ensure that your cat completes their course of antibiotics to prevent infections.

Painkillers are generally necessary for your cats. They help with pain management during your cat’s recovery period. Your vet may give your cat oral medications, patches, or injections to reduce pain during recovery.

Even if your cats heal after the declawing procedure, it might still affect them afterward. They might get back and joint problems because the procedure affects their balance. Hence, they might not be able to stretch or land properly.

Without their claws, your cats might not enjoy walking on the litter box because of pain. This might prevent them from using the litter box. Their personality may change too. Since they can’t mark areas with their claws, they may spray urine or bite.

Do cats need claws?

A cat’s claws are their first defense mechanism. They use it to fight off predators. As a result, they’re defenseless without their claws, so you should never let your declawed cat out of the house.

It’s also important for balance, so cats use their claws to climb up trees. If your cats have these muscles, they can dig into the ground with their claws as they stretch their backs. This becomes a challenge without their claws.

In addition, due to their unique anatomy, cats walk on their toes (digitigrade), which means their toes bear the bulk of their weight. Declawing a cat affects this weight distribution.

Why do people declaw their cats?

Cat owners generally decide to declaw their cats after experiencing significant property damage. After you’ve walked in on a shredded couch and pillows a few times, you might begin considering declawing your pet.

Pet owners may also decide to declaw their cats if they keep fighting with other cats or scratching people.

What are the alternatives to declawing your cat?

Declawing is expensive and painful for your cat. It also opens them to some health problems. Many countries around the world consider this procedure to be cruel and unnecessary amputation, and the list of places where it is illegal is ever growing.2

Before you decide to declaw your cat, you can try some safer alternatives:

Nail trims

Simply trimming your cat’s nails is a great way to keep their claws in check. Their claws won’t get too sharp, so they won’t be as destructive. You can get a cat nail clipper, so you can do it routinely at home. You can also take your cat to your vet for regular nail trips.

Nail caps

Nail caps are plastic tips you can attach to your cat’s claws. This keeps them from shredding your furniture. You can get them applied at your vet’s office or glue them yourself at home.

Simply clip your cat’s toenails and glue the nail caps. They’re generally affordable, far more so than the costs associated with declawing. Nail caps fall off as your cat’s nails grow out, but you can replace them. Plus, they can come in fun colors and patterns that will make even some of the most beautiful dogs jealous.

Behavioral training

Cats scratch objects because it’s part of their nature. However, with proper training, you may restrict how much destruction your pet causes in your home. You can give them something acceptable to claw on. Try putting your valuables out of their reach.

Rewarding good behavior helps reinforce them in your pet. On the other hand, punishment only makes your cat scared of you. You might need professional help to get this, but it’s worth it.

Final thoughts

Declawing your cat is a controversial procedure. If you decide to go down that route, you need to be sure of what it entails so that your cat gets the best care. The procedure itself could cost up to $1,000. However, other costs associated need to be considered, which could include consultation fees, travel, and aftercare.

When choosing a vet to perform this procedure for your cat, ensure you choose one with your cat’s best interest at heart. Ask for detailed information about the procedure. Your vet should share the details of the type of declawing procedure they offer — a nail trimmer or laser. Laser declawing gives your cat a less painful recovery but costs more.

Declawing increases your cat’s risk of back problems, infections, personality changes, and loss of balance. Consider less invasive and more ethical alternatives such as regular nail trimming, nail caps, and training.

  1. "Cost of Routine Surgery," Claremont Veterinary Services,, Sep. 1, 2022.

  2. "Cat Friendly Cities, States, and Countries Where Declawing is Illegal," PETA,, Dec. 7, 2024.

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