Yes, declawing a cat can cause a cat’s death but the causation is indirect. I have not read about a cat dying during or after the declawing operation because of the nature of the operation. However, a general anaesthetic is required either by gas or injection. Anaesthetising a cat fully can be risky.
Vets are not forthcoming on numbers but my assessment indicates that one in four hundred cats die under full anaesthetic. There is also the possibility of brain damage. I am sure the occurrences are rare but the question is black and white and straightforward and therefore the answer must be Yes.
Death by anaesthesia is an indirect consequence of the declawing operation. I don’t know of any cases of declawing per se causing death because it won’t although it is ten amputation of the front paws causing severe pain requiring heavy painkillers.
There are other possible ways a cat can be killed indirectly by declawing. What if the cat gets outside the home and has to confront a dog? The cat has lost a major part of her defensive tools, her claws. This may result in her death where under different circumstances she might have survived.
Another indirect consequence of declawing may result in her death: abandonment (voluntary relinquishment by the owner). It may surprise some people that cat rescue organisations not uncommonly receive healthy declawed cats from their owners because the cat’s behavior has become intolerable to them: pissing outside the litter box and biting. A declawed cat may have other behavioural issues which impacts negatively on the human to cat relationship.
A lot of cats in shelters are killed by the shelter (euthanized is the euphemism). Many declawed cats have been legally killed at shelters because of behavior problems. These cats might have had full and happy lives but for being declawed.
There is another possibility which a visitor has kindly remind me of, namely, the possibility of infection due to the operation which could result in severe illness and on occasions, albeit rarely, death
That’s the answer I have to the question. Declawing can indirectly cause the cat’s death.
P.S. The title is not very good grammatically in my opinion. The title is a keyword. People search using this phrase. It should read: Can declawing cats kill them?