Dear Christopher Cat
My cat will be neutered and declawed when he's 6 months old. Does it hurt?
Of course it hurts! That's why pain relievers were invented. When surgery is performed with anesthesia alone, without additional medication to control pain, blood pressure and heart rate increase in response to pain. And the post-op complication rate is higher, and healing slower, without pain relievers.
Pain control should be provided prior to surgery (so it is working during the procedure), throughout surgery, and during recuperation.
Declawing is most comfortable, and healing is fastest, when a strong pain reliever such as the Fentanyl® patch is used. This pain patch is applied to the skin the day before surgery and remains in place for several days after surgery, providing continuous pain relief.
Less painful surgical procedures require less aggressive pain medications. For example, neutering alone (without declawing) may only require a pain reliever for mild-to-moderate pain, such as butorphanol.
To do surgery without pain medication is inhumane -- which is why humans would never tolerate it!