AAFP takes a harder line on feline declawing

AAFP takes a harder line on feline declawing

Cat-focused veterinary group now “strongly opposes” onychectomy.
Oct 03, 2017
By dvm360.com staff

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.)


Comments about how great it is to declaw cats-are idiots.
How about we pull your fingernails out and see how you like it. There are other alternatives. If a cat is declawed and all of sudden has issues what are people going to do? Most people are not going to do anything they would rather get rid of the problem.

Feline Declaw

I think the PBOF's that set this sort of policy need to get out of their offices and go to a local shelter and put in a couple of hundred 40 hour days there. Take note of the large number of perfectly good cats that are in line for euthanasia because of 'aggression', vicious behavior' or 'he scratched my BAAAAAAAAAAABY' etc. I've been there. I've counted the numbers, I've made the injections. Sorry guys, but these cats would still be in good homes had they been declawed when they were young. And everyone talks about the WONDERFUL pain Rx we have now. Well? Do WE? I won't apologize for declawing cats nor will I stop doing it.

Well Said, WebSpyder

God bless you for stating such rational thoughts so eloquently. Succinct and spot-on. Background: I was on the Board of one of the country's largest humane societies and saw firsthand just what you described. I also am the cofounder of a spay/neuter clinic that targeted ferals and low-income pets, as well as the cofounder of multiple rescue and adoption organizations and the co-operator of a charity rescue facility for special-needs animals. Lastly, I was incredibly ill for 7.5 years with what was [at last] diagnosed as cat scratch fever. So, we've been around the block for nearly 40 years and have dedicated our lives and considerable resources to animal welfare. We would never do anything that was to the detriment of the long-term health and wellbeing of an animal. Given everything we have learned, we've long beat the drum for declawing as a means of helping save animals' lives and keeping them in their forever homes. Done properly, we have NEVER ONCE seen a horror case like the declaw shamers like to crow about. No physical abnormalities, no psychological damage, nothing. Again, THANK YOU for your rational comment.