Controversy Over Declawing Continues

cat with toilet paperThe AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has changed their wording in their policy on declawing cats.  The surgery is now referred to, correctly, as an amputation and encourages alternatives to declawing.  You can read the entire Position Statement HERE.  

The American Association of Feline Practitioners created their policy statement back in 2008.  It also stresses the importance of owner education about alternatives to declawing and that scratching is a normal behavior for cats. Read their position statement HERE.

It's good that the veterinary profession has moved away viewing declawing as a routine surgery that was often recommended at the time a cat was spayed or neutered.  That was soo inappropriate and unnecessary. Both policy statements also emphasize the importance of pain management IF declaw surgery is performed.

Claims of behavior problems associated with declawing have not been substantiated scientifically.  Dr. Gary Patronek, a veterinary epidemiologist, authored a great review article on this topic (JAVMA, October 1, 2001, Vol. 219, No. 7, Pages 932-937) .  Surgical technique was a confound in trying to assess incidence of behavior problems.  Other studies have found no association between declawing and increased rates of biting or litterbox problems. 

Personally, we prefer not to declaw our cats.  By providing a variety of scratching objects that meet the behavioral preferences of individual cats, they can be encouraged to scratch items that are acceptable to owners but still meet the cats' behavioral needs.

For a detailed plan on providing scratching objects that meet your cat's behavioral needs, see our DVD "Helping Kitty Be Good".



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