Cat Dew Claw Injury: A Quick Guide for New Cat Owners

For anyone who has ever owned a cat, one of the most intriguing—and perhaps unsettling—features is their dew claws.

These sharp nails are located on the inside of the front legs and do not seem to serve any purpose, leading many people to wonder why they exist at all.

 Unfortunately, these vestigial limbs can sometimes get caught on things and tear, which can be extremely painful.

Depending on how serious the injury was, the vet might just dress the wound and discharge your cat to go and recuperate from home.

 But even if they are admitted for surgery, your feline friend should recover in just a couple of days.

Will A Torn Cat Dew Claw Heal Itself?

While a torn dew claw is not generally considered to be a serious injury, it can be painful for your cat and may require treatment.

If the dew claw is only partially torn, it will usually heal on its own within a few days.

However, if the nail is completely ripped off, your cat will need to see a veterinarian for treatment.

The vet will clean the wound and may recommend antibiotics to prevent infection.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged nail bed.

With proper care, most cats recover quickly from a torn dew claw and experience no long-term problems.

How Do I Know If My Cat’s Dew Claw Is Infected?

As a cat owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs of an infection, as they can often be subtle.

 One such infection is an abscessed dew claw. An abscessed dew claw is usually caused by a deep tear or puncture wound.

The first sign of an infection is usually swelling and redness around the dew claw.

The area may also be hot to the touch and your cat may be licking at it excessively.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to start treating the wound immediately.

Left untreated, an abscessed dew claw can lead to serious health problems.

How Do You Treat A Torn Cat Dew Claw?

If you suspect that your cat has injured its dew claw, it’s important to take action right away.

The first step is to examine the injury closely. You want to find out if it’s a minor injury that you can manage at home or if it’s something that may need a vet’s intervention.

If there is any bleeding, use warm water to flush out the area and observe to see if blood is still oozing out. If yes, apply pressure to help stop the bleeding.

Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean the wound as these products can cause further damage to the tissue. Just use warm water when cleaning the wound.

Once the wound is clean, apply a liberal amount of antibiotic ointment and cover it with a clean bandage.

If the bleeding continues or if the wound seems to be getting worse, take your cat to the vet right away.

When taking care of an injured cat, take all necessary precautions to avoid getting hurt.

Even a very friendly cat can get aggressive when in pain. One effective hack is to wrap the cat in a towel as you tend to her wounds.

Hugging the cat is another trick that works by immobilizing the cat as well as making them feel secure.

With proper care, most dew claw injuries will heal quickly and without any complications.

How Long Does It Take For An Injured Cat Dew Claw To Heal?

Depending on the severity of the injury, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for a cat’s dew claw to heal.

If the nail is completely torn off, the healing process will take longer, as the nail will need to grow back.

 In some cases, the nail may not grow back at all. However, if only the tip of the nail is damaged, it will usually grow back quite quickly.

Do Cat Dew Claws Grow Back?

Declaws are located above the paw and are not attached to the rest of the toes and are therefore very susceptible to injury.

But the good news is that even if your cat’s dew claw gets torn or injured, she can easily grow back in just a couple of months.

Keeping the wound clean will help it heal faster which will, in turn, make the dewclaws regrow faster.

However, this is only true if it was only the nail that was ripped. If the entire dew claw was damaged, it might not grow back.

 If you are not sure of the severity of the injury, take your cat to the vet for some expert opinion and advice just to be on the safe side.

How Much Does A Cat Dew Claw Injury Cost?

There are a couple of variables that will affect the price of treating your cat if she gets a dew claw injury.

For instance, in some cases, cleaning the wound and applying an antibiotic will be enough.

But in other cases, a vet might have to surgically remove the injured dewclaw.

Depending on your unique circumstances, you could pay anything from $50 – $500.

You should be ready to pay for the treatment out of pocket because most pet insurance companies do not cover declawing.

To void these costs, some pet parents will have their cats’ dew claws removed when they are still kittens.

If you go this route, make sure the procedure is done by a qualified vet.

How to Prevent Cat Dew Claw Injury

There are two main ways to prevent dew claw injury: regular trimming and declawing.

Regular trimming is the best way to keep your cat’s dew claws from getting too long and catching on to something.

You can either trim them yourself with a nail trimmer designed for cats, or you can take your cat to the vet or groomer to have it done.

Be sure to only remove a small amount of the nail at a time, as cutting too close can cause pain and bleeding.

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, you may want to consider removing the dew claw altogether.

 Even though this is a permanent solution, you may want to remember that it is a surgical procedure and your cat will therefore take some time to recover.

Since the dew claws have no functional importance in cats, removing them doesn’t affect their quality of life in any way.

Parting Thoughts

Dewclaw injuries are quite common in cats, especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

The good news is that most dew claw injuries are not serious and will heal on their own with some at-home care.

However, more severe injuries may require veterinary intervention.

Even so, the cat will heal in a couple of weeks and they should return to their usual mischievous self in no time.

As a pet parent, you may also want to surgically remove the dewclaw as a way of preventing injury.

Unlike the other claws, dewclaws serve no function and your feline friend will be just without them.

In fact, there are lots of cat breeds that are born without dewclaws and they are just fine.