The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently announced the release of a new educational video for cat owners on declawing and its alternatives.
"Scratching is a normal cat behavior used to mark territory, condition claws and stretch." explains Dr. Bruce Nixon, 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 states that veterinarians are obliged to fully educate cat owners regarding the decision to declaw their cat, including providing information about the procedure and its alternatives. The AVMA recommends that declawing be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from destructive clawing or when clawing presents a risk of injury and/or disease.
The video demonstrates a laser procedure (one method of surgical declaw) and provides owners with information about cats' normal scratching behaviors, other types of declaw procedures and the importance of pain management.
For more information, including a scientific backgrounder summarizing the implications of declawing on the welfare of cats, please visit www.avma.org.