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Kansas City Pet Project
cody, declawed cats

KC Pet Project Launches Innovative Program to Help Declawed Cats

cody, declawed cats

Cody, who had surgery to repair his claws on October 20th.

KC Pet Project launched a program earlier this year aimed at helping cats who have come to the shelter with botched declaw surgeries, and the shelter is now reporting remarkable numbers of lifesaving. Over the past year, the shelter has noticed many cats who are declawed that are surrendered by their owners for behavior reasons. Some reasons include not using the litter box, biting or scratching their owners, not eating, or shy/fearful behavior. Once these cats enter a stressful shelter environment, those behaviors are often elevated, which means a longer length of stay for cats in our care and many of them not becoming adoption candidates for a long time. KC Pet Project currently has a Manager of Feline Behavior on our staff that works with the cats in our care that are struggling with behavior issues, and he was not seeing a change in these declawed cats for long periods of time.


During the spring and summer months of 2017, KCPP™ started to x-ray the declawed cats’ claws when they were coming into the shelter. They discovered were that many of the cats still had bone fragments in their claws from botched declaw surgeries. This was causing the cats to experience pain, which was leading to all of the behaviors that that the shelter was seeing. Shelter staff decided would perform surgery on the cats to remove the bone fragments in their paws. This all started with Precious, who was originally surrendered for adoption in February 2016 due to a death in the family, then adopted and returned twice for behavior issues over the next months. After spending months in a foster home with no behavior improvement, in February 2017, KC Pet Project’s Veterinary Team performed the surgery and she immediately began to display appropriate behavior. She was adopted in March 2017 and has been successful in her home.


Since then, approximately 130 declawed cats have been scanned. The shelter has performed the surgery to repair the claws of 40 cats who have had bad surgeries and have seen remarkable success with all of them.


“This type of innovative, lifesaving program to help cats who come in with bad declaws is what makes KC Pet Project so special,” said Teresa Johnson, CEO/Executive Director of KC Pet Project. “We are one of the first shelters in the country to have a program like this. A lot of people may not know that declawing a cat is basically cutting off their fingers at the knuckles. So for them to still have bone fragments in their little paws is quite painful, which leads to behavior issues, and a longer length of stay at the shelter. We are so proud to be helping these kitties and making them more adoptable so that they will be successful in their future homes.”


Funding for this program comes from the shelter’s Roadrunner Medical Fund. The shelter estimates that this program costs $400 per cat for the x-ray, surgery, medications, and basic care, and they can’t do it without the public’s support. Donations may be made at by clicking here.