Feb 12 2016

Declawing Position Statement

Declawing cats is not just the removal of the claw; it is a major surgery involving painful amputation, by removing the end digit of all toes.  As advocates for all animals, Headon Forest Animal Hospital strongly opposes the declawing of domestic cats.   We support our clients through education and provide effective alternatives including frequent nail trimming, providing scratching areas, artificial nail caps, and positive reinforcement training.  Scratching is a normal feline behavior. Cats scratch for several reasons.  (1) To remove old nail sheaths, (2) mark objects with a scent from 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. There are inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure, including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, side effects associated with analgesics, hemorrhage, infection, pain and possible behavioral issues.  Declawing as a means of preventing disease in either healthy or immune-compromised individuals is not supported by the U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. This statement does not apply to a declaw procedure when medically necessary to treat conditions such as tumors or chronic infections.  Declawing as a medically necessary procedure is very rare.