AVMA Helps Cat Owners With Declaw Decision

“Declaw …. or Not?” is a new handout from the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.

A surgical laser may be used to declaw a cat.


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A free client handout designed to help practitioners talk to cat owners about declaw surgery is available through the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The new document, available at www.avma.org/declaw, acknowledges that declawing cats is controversial and points out that scratching is normal feline behavior and that nail caps, frequent trims and positive reinforcement training are among the alternatives to an onychectomy.

The AVMA House of Delegates this past July updated the organization’s policy on the declawing of domestic cats. The policy encourages client education about the surgery and its risks and urges that the owner make the final decision in consultation with a veterinarian.

The handout, titled “Declaw …. or Not?” was produced by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee. 

“The AVMA hopes to help veterinarians connect with cat owners to make the best decision for their cat and household,” Animal Welfare Division director Gail C. Golab, DVM, Ph.D., wrote on her AVMA@Work blog.

The website also features assistant director Cia Johnson, DVM, MS, narrating a five-minute video about declawing.

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