Can Declawed Cats Still Climb Cat Trees? (Yes, If Only…)

two cats

Declawing your cat is an important decision every cat owner must make. Except for few cats, it can be hard to completely train a cat not to climb, hence, cutting their claws might be the solution.

Can declawed cats still climb trees? Yes, declawed cats can comfortable climb cat trees without using their front claws. As long as their retractable claws and hind legs are in tact, climbing up is pretty easy. However, climbing down is difficult for a declawed cat.

Cats have come to be common pets in a lot of homes these days. This is because they are good companions to families.

They are valued for their abilities to hunt rodents among many other reasons.

Cats were not always domesticated by humans, there was a time when cats just ran freely, and lived according to whatever suited them. Cats were first domesticated in the East around 7500 BC

It is popularly believed however, that cats domestication was first initiated in ancient Egypt, around the year 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt.

In very special occasions of hot pursuits, a cat was observed climbing up a tree by speeding up, and sprinting to the top of it.

However, it takes the cat a longer period of time to sprint up trees when they are declawed. 

Cats have predatory tendencies as well, and with their claws it is easy for them to attempt ripping a lot of stuff. Some cats might even harm their owners in rare cases due to some kind of provocation. 

Due to the fear of getting hurt by cats, a lot of pet owners often choose to have their pet declawed. Many people believe that declawing a cat would be an “easy fix” for unwanted scratching.

These same set of people are fast to forget that declawing a cat can make it unable to use the litter box anymore, or be more likely to go around biting people.

Declawing your pet cat can also cause very long lasting physical problems for it.

As a result of this, and many other reasons, many countries have taken necessary actions to ban declawing.

The Humane Society of the United States of America for example, is strictly against every practice of declawing your pet cat except in rare cases when it is absolutely necessary for medical purposes, or to help heal from a few health issues. 

In most cases, it can be allowed as a method of removal of cancerous nail bed tumors.

There are some people with a high phobia of being scratched by cats, especially people who have immunodeficiency, or suffering from serious bleeding disorders. 

These people might be told wrong information from a questionable source that declawing their cats would help protect, and secure their health.

However, infectious disease specialists don’t recommend declawing under any condition. 

The possibility of getting scratched for these people is less than those for getting bitten, cat litters, or fleas carried around the home by cats.

In this article, we would be looking into the declawing of cats, and whether a cat can still climb trees after losing it’s precious claws.

Cats and Scratching

Scratching is known to be a very normal behavior for felines.

It’s not done to ruin your favorite chair, or to get even for something you did to them as opposed to popular opinion. 

Cats scratch things to get rid of dead husks from between their claws, they could be doing it to mark out their territories, or simply to just stretch out their muscles.

Majority of cats usually get to about 8 weeks old before they start scratching. 

This is the ideal, and perfect time to start teaching them to use a scratching post, or allow their nails get trimmed.

Pet owners should be educated never to consider declawing as a routine prevention, or an option for unwanted scratching. 

Declawing your pet cat can result in a whole lot of behavior problems that are way more worse than you coming home to see your favorite couch ruined.

What is Declawing?


More often than not, people have the general belief that declawing is just a simple surgery that removes the nails of your cat. Some even think it is the same thing as getting your nails trimmed. Sadly, this is a belief that is very far from the truth.

Declawing through the traditional method is the removal, or amputation of the last bone of each toe.

If this is performed on any human, it would be like cutting off the finger at the last knuckle.

This is an unnecessary surgery that doesn’t benefit the cat in any way, instead it puts the cat in so many uncomfortable, and weird positions. 

Pet owners that are more exposed, and educated can go great lengths to train their cats in using their claws in a way that is friendly, and safe for everyone at home.

How Are Cats Declawed?

The normal method of declawing a cat is done by amputating the bone with a scalpel, or guillotine clipper.

The wounds sustained from this painful operation are closed with the use of stitches, or just surgical glue. The feet are bandaged as well.

Another method that could be used to perform this operation is through laser surgery, in this method a small, intense beam of light tears through tissues by vaporizing it, and intense heat. 

However, this method still follows the basic guidelines, and is the amputation of the last bone of each toe.

It also comes with all the long-term effects that are gotten as a result of this.

It also has high risks of lameness for the cat, and behavior problems that could still be gotten by using scalpels.

The third procedure for this is called tendonectomy, in this method, the tendon that controls the claw in each of the toes is severed.

In this case, the cat keeps its claws but is not able to use it for anything, or even move it at will. 

This procedure is only carried out when there is a high incidence of an abnormally thick claw growth.

In this case, there would be a need for more regular nail trims to prevent the cat’s claws from snagging on people, furniture, drapes, or from growing into the cat’s paw pads.

Due to complications that are sustained as a result of tendonectomy, the cat involved would later have to go through declawing again. Many after effects of tendonectomy, and declawing have been found to be similar.

Effects of Declawing


Medical effects of declawing after a long period of time include pain in the paw, tissue necrosis (death of tissues in the body), infections, lameness, and terrible back pain.

An unpleasant effect of taking out the claws of your pet cat is that it changes the way your pet’s foot meets the ground. 

This can cause serious pains, similar to wearing a pair of shoes that are too tight for you.

Declawing could cause serious nerve damage to your pet cat, bone spurs are likely to occur, on rare occasions, there might be the regrowth of the improperly removed claws. 

Usually, after the surgery, shredded newspaper can be used in the cat’s litter box. This would prevent litter from irritating the cat’s declawed feet.

This substitute is quite unusual to the cat’s, as a result of the pain that is experienced when scratching the box, the cat might decide to stop using the litter box altogether. 

Some cat’s would even switch to biting people because they don’t have their claws anymore for their defence.

When the time comes for declawing surgery to take place, some owners might even choose to declaw all four toes of their pet cats. However, most might decide to just declaw the front pair. 

The front claws of a cat are the primary tools for protection, without this the cat would feel that it has lost its ability to take care of itself, or would navigate to the thought of using other means that would make it survive by any means possible. 

Cats should have all of their claws intact as this would help them to be effective in hunting down birds, mice, or any other prey.

Without being complete, and ready your cat might end up being helpless against these things.

When your pet cat finds itself with its front claws removed, or in some cases all of its claws. It would reduce the confidence of your cat greatly, and it would be at a major disadvantage when it finds itself in any situation where it has to defend itself. 

The way it moves, and acts won’t ever be the same again even if it’s just one of the cat’s claws that gets taken away.

Cats need to be complete and agile whenever they leave the house, or go into the outdoors. This would help greatly in helping them survive, and defend themselves against any predator that comes along.

When your cat is let into the outdoors frequently, and notices that it is at a disadvantage for not having claws anymore, it might switch to a new mode of survival by using its teeth.

Declawed Cats are more likely to start biting people, or things for a change in an attempt to compensate themselves for their lack of claws.


In very special occasions of hot pursuits, a cat that has been declawed can still climb up a tree by speeding up, and sprinting to the top of it. 

However, it takes the cat a longer period of time. This won’t be as easy as it would be for one that has the claws.

After declawing a cat, it should be left indoors only, it should not be leg outside the house so as to prevent losing your pet.

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