Can Savannah Cats Be Declawed? [Why It’s Bad For The Cat]

Savannah cats are amazing looking cats with sharp claws that can easily tear up your furniture. Many homeowners believe that the best way to protect their furniture, curtains, etc., is to have their cat declawed. If you’ve ever wondered, “can Savannah cats be declawed,” keep reading for everything you need to know. 

Never declaw a Savannah cat. Declawing a cat is an issue that carries ethical, health, and behavioral implications. In addition, cats scratch for various reasons, including shedding the dead outer layer of their claws and marking their territory. Instead of declawing, consider nail trimming, scratching posts and pads, and nail caps. 

While some may consider declawing their Savannah cat to prevent unwanted scratching, it’s essential to understand the impact this intervention can have on the animal. 

The following information explores why declawing Savannah cats is discouraged and strongly advised against by experts, as well as safer alternatives to maintain their health and well-being. 

So let’s get started. 

What Is a Savannah Cat?

A Savannah cat is an exotic-looking feline with a unique, spotted coat. 

This distinctive breed is a result of crossbreeding the wild African serval with domestic cats. (source)

These cats have inherited the serval’s characteristic long legs, large ears, and distinctive markings, creating an appealing appearance that draws attention.

The temperament of Savannah cats can vary depending on their generation and how close they are to their wild ancestors. 

However, they are typically intelligent, sociable, and energetic creatures.

Providing proper companionship, safe toys, and ample space to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors is essential. (source)

Do Savannah Cats Have Sharp Claws?

Savannah cats have long, sharp, retractable claws, meaning they can be extended and retracted as needed. 

The claws are essential for hunting, climbing, marking their territory, and self-defense. Their claws can grow up to 2 inches long and grow relatively quickly. 

A cat’s claws can become dull after using them, especially if it spends a lot of time indoors or on soft surfaces. So, they must get regularly sharpened. 

Overall, the claws of a Savannah cat are an important part of its physical makeup and should be cared for appropriately to ensure the health and happiness of the cat.

Understanding Declawing

Declawing, or onychectomy, is a surgical procedure involving amputating or de-knuckling a cat’s front claws. 

This process removes the cat’s claws and severs tendons at the first joint, causing significant pain and discomfort for the cat.

Cats scratch for various reasons, such as removing the dead outer layer of their claws, marking their territory, and stretching their muscles. 

Sadly, declawing a cat takes away the animal’s natural means of self-defense, grooming, and communication. 

Contrary to popular belief, declawing is not a harmless or simple procedure like cutting human nails. 

Instead, it is an invasive and painful surgery with several potential risks and complications, including infection, nerve damage, and behavioral problems (source).

Many veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, and cat owners are against declawing due to its brutal nature and lasting impact on a cat’s quality of life. 

Some regions have even outlawed the practice, considering it animal cruelty.

Can Savannah Cats Be Declawed?

Given the importance of claws to their well-being, removing them is seen as harmful to cats, particularly Savannah cats, who rely on their unique traits for survival and everyday life.

Risks and Complications

Declawing involves amputating a cat’s toes, which can result in long-lasting trauma and pain. 

It can lead to complications such as biting, inappropriate urination, or fear in the cat as it loses its primary means of defense. 

According to the Savannah Cat Association, declawing should never be considered for Savannah cats due to these risks.

Furthermore, the Savannah Cat Chat Forum suggests alternative ways of dealing with inappropriate scratching, as declawing might result in emotional and physical trauma for your cat.

There are safer alternatives to declawing that can be considered, such as:

  • Regular nail trimming
  • Scratching posts and pads
  • Soft nail caps, e.g., Soft Paws
  • Training and behavior modification

These options can help address scratching concerns without declawing, which poses significant risks to your Savannah cat’s health and well-being.

Alternatives to Declawing

Pet owners need to understand some safer and more humane alternatives to address inappropriate scratching behaviors. Below are some of the best ways to keep you and your cat happy. 

Scratching Posts and Pads

Providing your Savannah cat with scratching posts and pads is an effective way to redirect its scratching tendencies. 

These items are designed to mimic the texture and resistance of natural surfaces, giving your cat a satisfying outlet for their instincts.

It’s best to place them in areas where your cat spends most of its time. Then, praise them when they use them, ensuring they sharpen their claws on the cat furniture instead of your furniture. 

Ensure you regularly replace the scratching surfaces to maintain their effectiveness.

Nail Trimming

Nail trimming is a simple and non-invasive method to reduce the damage caused by your cat’s scratching behavior. 

Regularly trimming their nails makes them less sharp, minimizing the potential harm to your belongings and family members.

It’s essential to be gentle and patient while trimming your cat’s nails to ensure a positive experience. Starting at an early age will help make the process easier. 


Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train a cat not to scratch furniture. When you see your cat getting ready to scratch your furniture, take them to their furniture and praise them when they use it.

Never punish or yell at them; it can cause fear and lead to more destructive behavior.

With patience and consistency, positive reinforcement can help protect your furniture and maintain a happy home for you and your cat.

Nail Caps

Another alternative to declawing is using nail caps, such as Soft Paws. 

These are soft covers that are applied over your cat’s claws using glue, and they can stay in place for weeks to months at a time.

Nail caps help protect against damage from scratching while allowing your cat to display their natural behaviors. However, regular maintenance is required to ensure the caps remain secure and functional.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

When considering declawing Savannah cats, it is essential to evaluate the legal and ethical implications of the procedure. 

Declawing cats, also known as onychectomy, involves amputating the last digital bone on each front paw, including the nail bed and claw. 

This surgery carries risks such as anesthesia complications, excessive bleeding, and postoperative issues like infection, making it a controversial practice. 

Additionally, declawed cats may experience paw pain, lameness, infection, dead tissue, nerve damage, bone spurs, and chronic pain due to changes in their walking behavior.

From a legal standpoint, declawing cats for non-medical reasons is illegal under animal cruelty laws in several countries. In 2011, Israel introduced a ban on declawing by amending their “Law Against Cruelty to Animals.” PetMD 

In the United States, the procedure’s legality varies by state and municipality, with bans in New York, Maryland, and some cities and counties. So make sure it is legal in your state, or contact your veterinarian. 

On the ethical front, many people argue that declawing cats is inhumane and unnecessary, especially considering alternative solutions to protect furniture and avoid scratches, like using nail caps, regular nail trimming, and providing appropriate scratching posts. 

Public opinion shifted in the early 2000s when declawing was more accepted. Now, an increasing number of veterinarians refuse to perform the procedure for ethical reasons.

Final Word

Avoid declawing your Savannah cat, as it can lead to physical and emotional feline trauma. In addition, it can cause back pain, paw pain, tissue necrosis, infection, and lameness. 

Savannah cats, like all felines, use their claws to stretch their nails, claw and mark their territory and shed the outer nail sheath from their claws. 

Owners are encouraged to explore alternatives to declawing, such as providing scratching posts, nail trimming, and even temporary nail caps that can protect surfaces from scratching without causing harm to the cat.

Now that you understand the importance of your cat’s nails. You can make a more informed decision to help promote the well-being of your feline and ensure a happy and healthy relationship between pet and owner.

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