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Southfork Animal Hospital Position Statement on Declawing

At Southfork Animal Hospital our goal is to stay current on the best Veterinary Health Care available.  For many years, declawing has been considered the procedure of choice for owners who are worried about their furniture or getting scratched while playing with their cat. Recently AAHA, the Feline Practitioners Association and others have strongly recommended against declawing and view it as an unnecessary procedure and as we learn more, we try to do better.

In the past, we considered it routine to declaw. Now we are realizing that scratching is a normal feline behavior and just like training your dog to urinate outside, cats can be trained to use a scratching post. By training cats or using alternatives like soft paws, we are able to avoid a painful and potentially life altering procedure. Because the first knuckle is removed in declawing it causes the cat to walk on the tip of its second bone. This unnatural pressure can lead to pain which causes some cats to bite more or avoid their litterbox more or other problems.

Cats scratch to:

 (1) condition their claws by removing old nail sheaths,

 (2) scent mark objects with the glands on their paws,

 (3) visually mark objects by leaving shredded matter as evidence,

 (4) stretch and exercise their forelegs, and

 (5) enjoy a pleasant sensation.

 Veterinarians must help cat owners to promote appropriate scratching behaviors.

Declawing is not just removal of the claw; it is a major surgery involving amputation. Declawing is rarely a medically necessary procedure, therefore, Southfork Animal Hospital will no longer declaw cats. We provide education materials on training to scratching posts and offer nail trim and soft paw application services.