Age Limit For Declawing Cats – When Is It Appropriate

Many cat owners consider declawing for their cats for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that the cat is destroying the furniture/flooring. Others declaw their cats because they often play too roughly, resulting in skin breakage. Regardless of the reasoning, you may want to know if you can declaw your cat. What is the age limit for declawing cats?

While there is not an age limit for declawing your cat, it is best to perform the procedure while the cat is still under six months of age. 

Declawing is a controversial topic, so that you may have other questions about declawing. Luckily for you, this article contains answers to any question you may have about declawing, including alternatives to it. 

Can you declaw a cat at any age

Do vets recommend declawing?

Declawing is something not many vets agree with unless there is a medical condition that requires the removal of some or all of the nails. Some vets may even refuse to perform a declawing procedure due to the potential risks that outweigh the benefits. 

What happens if you want to declaw an older cat?

Since the best time for a cat to get declawed is before six months of age, the vet may turn you down and refuse to do the procedure if, after an initial exam, the cat is deemed not healthy enough. Your vet will always have your cat’s best interest first, and with age comes higher risks for things such as infection, excessive and ongoing pain, and complications. 

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However, if your vet is willing to do the procedure, be prepared for slower recovery times, increased pain and cover the cost of any complications that may arise during the procedure. 

Should an indoor cat be declawed?

Although declawing of cats is not recommended, if you plan on doing it, you should know that you’re taking away a cat’s ability to defend themself, and therefore they will need to remain an indoor cat for the rest of their life. Declawing is not guaranteed to fix any violent behavior that may sway you towards this decision and could even cause your cat to lash out more due to the intense pain they’re in. 

Does declawing a cat hurt them?

Yes, declawing is an excruciating procedure for a cat to experience. Although the new way of performing the procedure (with a laser) is much less painful than the old way, the procedure itself still hurts your cat. Your cat will be on quite a few medications to manage pain, as pain management is very important in the recovery process. 

On top of the pain, there are plenty of complications that can happen during your cat’s procedure. Infection is the most common complication because your cat is walking on the incision sites. Walking on the site also poses the threat of re-opening the wound, which if this occurs, your cat will have to go through another procedure to restitch any that have broken open.

If your cat is older, it can also experience reoccurring pain; if this happens, your cat will be on more medication. Although this last complication is rare, your cat may even lose the ability to stand, usually caused by the tendon structure not healing properly, causing abnormal posture permanently. 

Can a cat’s personality change after declawing?

Yes, a cat’s personality can change after declawing. Due to the pain, they are in, you may notice your cat becoming less active and avoiding walking, especially if you declawed your cat at an older age. In some cases, declawing may even cause your cat to become violent due to the irritability they’re feeling because of the pain. 

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What is the average cost for a cat to get declawed?

The cost range is typically on the low side of $200 and a high exceeding $800. Many factors come into play when determining the pricing for declawing a cat. Your cat’s age, the vet’s pricing, medication, a pre-anesthetic health assessment, and any unforeseen complications that occur during the procedure can minorly or drastically increase the pricing of a declawing procedure.

Are there any medical reasons for declawing?

Yes, there are plenty of medical reasons they may call for the removal of some or all of your cats nails. The medical conditions that may cause this are as follows:

  • Bone Infection
  • Torn or Beyond Repair Claw
  • Claws that are growing into the footpads and won’t retract on their own

There is also the owner’s medical history to consider while deciding if declawing is necessary. Those with weakened immune systems who can’t risk getting exposed to the bacteria found on a cat’s nail are often allowed to have the procedure done on their cat. 

What are my options if I do not wish to declaw my cat?

There are many alternatives to declawing that will not require procedures and will steer your cat away from the behavior that you don’t agree with. 


Training your cat not to perform certain behaviors is the best way to get them to stop doing it. However, scratching is entirely natural and healthy for cats to do, so it is best to give them a safe and appropriate space or object to perform it so they don’t scratch your furniture. 

To begin, you’ll want to provide multiple scratching posts in areas that are not in the vicinity of the problem furniture. Offer different types and textures of scratching posts and cat trees. Reward your cat with treats or verbal praise (whichever your cat prefers) when they’ve scratched on one of the allowed scratching posts. When you notice your cat scratching at the furniture, redirect it to one of the approved scratching posts. If additional help is needed, you may also sprinkle a little bit of catnip on the approved scratching posts.

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If you’re trying to remove the habit of scratching while playing, you’ll want to stop playing and walk away from the cat if it scratches you during this time. This will let your cat know that you dislike the behavior and won’t socialize with it unless it can contain its scratching habits. 

Nail Trimming

Nail trimming is an extremely safe and healthy way to keep your cat from doing any real damage to you or your furniture. The reason your cat is scratching your furniture in the first place may be because their nails are too long, and they feel the difference in materials may help file their nails down. Invest in a good pair of cat nail trimmers, then cut as needed. 

Nail Caps

Similar to people getting acrylic nails, cats have nail caps. These vinyl nail caps last 4-6 weeks and are intended to keep whatever your cat is scratching safe. They naturally come off as your pet’s nail grows, and although they may take your cat some getting used to, they are not painful and are a great alternative to declawing. 


Although there is no age limit for declawing a cat, it is best to do so before six months of age to avoid any complications or long-term pain. There are also many alternatives to declawing, such as nail caps or nail trimming. Take your cat’s health into consideration before making any decisions. 

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