The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Strongly Opposes Declawing of Cats
Hillsborough, NJ (September 6, 2017) – The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has revised its 2015 position statement on declawing cats to “strongly oppose declawing (onychectomy) as an elective procedure.”
Scratching is a normal feline behavior. It is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with education on normal scratching behaviors and options for cats to exhibit appropriate scratching behavior in the home. 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’).
This is exciting. It is believed that most cats suffer from pain, not only from bone fragments left behind after the amputation, but also phantom pains.
The AAFP has been the leader in the world of feline medicine and veterinary care. It is appropriate that our organization has taken the lead with this strong position statement opposing the declawing of cats,” states Dr. Marcus Brown, Chair of the AAFP’s Welfare Committee.
The AAFP supports a path of change that focuses on educating veterinary teams and cat caregivers in an effort to help them learn and understand in order to make a future impact that sees lasting results. Veterinary teams will be supplied with a toolkit of resources to assist them in educating cat caregivers about why cats have claws, why cats scratch inanimate objects, best practices for living alongside a cat with claws, ideal scratching surfaces, training cats to scratch appropriately, and troubleshooting inappropriate scratching in the home.
Dr. Nancy Suska, co-author of the statement, explains, “With proper client education from the initial veterinary visit and onward, our clients will be able to provide their kittens and cats with the essential means to exhibit this natural feline function. The American Association of Feline Practitioners has produced many resources, for both owner and veterinary team, to educate about natural feline scratching behavior and alternatives to declawing.”