AAFP takes a harder line on feline declawing
Cat-focused veterinary group now strongly opposes onychectomy.
Shutterstock.comThe American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has revised its position statement on declawing to “strongly oppose” declawing as an elective procedure, the association reports in a release.
“Scratching is a normal feline behavior,” the AAFP states in the release. “The AAFP's position stresses the need for veterinary teams to educate cat caregivers as many are unaware that declawing is a surgical amputation of the third phalanx (or ‘toe bone').”
The 2017 statement opens by stating, “The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) strongly opposes declawing (onychectomy) as an elective procedure. It is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with alternatives to declawing.”
This is modified from the 2015 statement, which began, “The [AAFP] strongly believes it is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with alternatives to declawing (onychectomy).”
To help support “a path to change,” the AAFP has created resources for veterinary teams to use to educate cat owners about the following:
- why cats have claws
- why cats scratch inanimate objects
- best practices for living a cat with claws
- ideal scratching surfaces
- training cats to scratch appropriately
- troubleshooting inappropriate scratching in the home.
The materials are available for veterinarians and team members to download at catvets.com/scratching. (Registration is required, but AAFP membership is not.)