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Newly declawed cat not herself.
Epcotgirl posted:
Hello, My 9 month old cat went in for surgery for a declaw and spay on Tuesday and I picked her up Wednesday. I have had dog and know how they act but with her it is very different, she has not eaten since coming home and won't come out from under the bed. This is nothing like how she usually is. I really don't know much about the after effects of the declawing. If anyone can please help me out here.
rohvannyn responded:
Considering the fact that they essentially cut off the ends of her toes during the declawing, I'm not surprised that she doesn't want to walk. She's feeling crummy right now and probably doesn't want to do much. It's important that she gets fluids and food though, so maybe set a little water and soft food right near her where she can get to it. Cats don't do well when fasting. Also, make sure that her litter box is filled with something soft on her feet, like shredded newspaper, so she doesn't have as much discomfort when using it. With a little time and love she should get better and be back to her old self.
srstephanie responded:
Hi Epcotgirl,

The term "declaw" is misleading. As Rohvannyn pointed out, it is not the removal of the nails but rather the amputation of the toes at the first joint. It is like amputating all of your fingers at the first joint. As you can imagine, it is extremely painful, particularly since cats have to put weight on the newly amputated toes in order to walk.

With your cat hiding and not eating, it is likely that she still has a lot of pain from both the declaw and spay surgery. I would call and let your vet know. She probably needs more or stronger pain medication for a while. If you can get the pain under control, that may take care of her not wanting to eat.

Rohvannyn is also right that you don't want her to go too long without food or water. Again, talk to your vet for suggestions. If she has a favorite treat, you can try that. Otherwise your vet might want you to assist her by using your finger or a needle-less syringe and putting a little food in her mouth. But I suspect that her lack of appetite is the result of pain from the declaw as well as from the spay surgery.

It is also recommended, as Rohvannyn mentioned to use a soft litter like shredded paper for a while. Regular litter could hurt her painful feet and cause a litterbox avoidance because cats tend to associate pain with location. If it hurts to use the litterbox, she might try to go someplace else.

Some cats recover well from declaw surgery and others have a more difficult time. Claws are natural for cats and their first line of defense, so it may take her a while to adjust to not having them. Be patient and give her lots of love and understanding. Good Luck.

Stephanie in Montreal
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
It's not normal for your cat to hide and not eat this long after surgery. And since she hasn't eaten in several days, she's probably dehydrated by now. So please take her to your veterinarian right away for a post-op recheck.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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