Vet Group Talks About Cat Declawing

AVMA releases a video to demystify the procedure of declawing cats.

Posted: July 18, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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British shorthair cat -- AVMA Demystifies Cat Declawing
The AVMA recommends that declawing cats be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from destructive clawing or when clawing presents the risk of an injury or disease..
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released an educational video for cat owners on cat declawing and its alternatives.

The video offers guidance for cat owners considering declawing their cats.

“Scratching is a normal cat behavior used to mark territory, condition claws and stretch,”said Bruce Nixon, DVM, incoming chair of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee. “Unwanted clawing can be reduced by providing cats with suitable scratching surfaces, regularly trimming their nails and using synthetic nail caps. While our priority is to avoid declawing through the use of these alternatives, there are situations in which declawing may be necessary. If that's the case, aggressive pain management is absolutely necessary.”

AVMA policy says veterinarians must educate cat owners regarding the decision to declaw their cat. The AVMA recommends that declawing cats be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from destructive clawing or when clawing presents the risk of an injury or disease.

The video demonstrates a laser declaw procedure and provides owners with information about cats’ normal scratching behaviors, other types of cat declaw procedures and the importance of pain management.
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Vet Group Talks About Cat Declawing

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Reader Comments

Teresa    Lansing, KS

8/9/2011 11:05:38 AM

I had a cat for 18 years and we declawed the cat when it was young. I do not remember if it was under a year old or over but we had no problems after declaw. She was up and running with the kids, I had 3 little ones. My daughter left her cat with us over the summer and she destroyed our stair wood posts. We love cats so I do not care about the post but she also scraches up the carpet stairs and has started on the sofa. We all work so I thought the best solution would be to declaw, like our other cat. When we brought her home over the weekend she seemed fine and I gave her the pain medication the doctor prescribe. Yesterday(Monday) she stopped eating and hid. We looked all over for her and just figured she was mad, rightly so when you get your nails ripped out. When we went to bed last night we found where she had vomited. we cleaned her up said good night to her and this morning found her just laying under my hope chest. I phoned the vet and their reaction surprised me. "I have an appointment at 3:40 just bring her in" I guess I just thought they know what they are doing maybe this is normal. I just phoned again(noon) and she said sorry our vet is at lunch, bring her in at 1:40 and you can wait and see if we can squeeze you in. Just wanted to comment on your wanting to educate us about declawing. How about what to look for in a Vet that performs these operations. Thank you,

Christine    Hewitt, TX

7/29/2011 12:56:11 PM

Declawing needs to be a very last resort decision. Take the time investigate and invest in the purchase of one of those big carpet and thistle cat stands. We have 4 cats who all like to scratch either thistle or carpet. Purchasing the cat stand has left our furniture and carpet alone completely. Just spray cat nip on the stand each week when cleaning the house and you should be good to go! We did have to declaw our male cat though. He would not stop mutilating himself (he has some mental issues). He pulled his stiches out 3 times! The vet was livid because each time the stiches are pulled out the paw is mutilated some more. We finally had to put a cone on him to let his front paws heal completely. He has shown no pain and still scratches the cat stand thistle post. We give him lots and lots of love. I do believe that it helped him come to terms with his declaw.

Elayna    Philadelphia, PA

7/21/2011 7:44:06 AM

My parents cat was declawed and he seems totally fine. He seems to think he still has them - he still "scratches" the furniture. His procedure may have been less severe than some, but he seems perfectly normal

Maureen    Deptford, NJ

7/20/2011 6:54:07 AM

The video talks about phalanges, not fingers. There should be a picture of the cat's foot before and immediately after surgery. There should be acknowledgement of the possibility of "phantom limb" pain in each finger. There should be acknowledgement that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of anecdotal accounts of behavioral changes after declawing including biting, litter box avoidance, hiding, avoidance of contact, and other indications that declawing is not benign or trouble free. Veterinarians tend to claim that declaw surgery is successful if the cat doesn't die, bleed out, or suffer regrowth of the claw. But the veterinarian doesn't follow the cat into the home and observe behavioral changes that occur days, weeks, months and years after the surgery. Amputating 10 finger tips is mutilation, and should never be justified to save inanimate furniture. And by the way, declawing does not guarantee the cat a home. Shelters have plenty of declawed cats, many who were turned in due to those behavioral problems that allegedly have not been proven the the satisfaction of the AVMA. Shameful.

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