Recently, our doctors and staff made the unanimous decision to amend our declaw philosophy. We want to make sure our clients are aware of our amended policy, and also understand the purpose behind this compassionate change for our feline companions.
The declaw procedure itself is performed by amputation of the cat’s third toe bone. This is comparable to amputating the last joint of a human finger. Declawing is a serious surgery and can cause post-operative complications. Recent studies have shown that as many as 30% of cats develop long-term negative effects from this procedure – including behavioral changes, life-long chronic pain, and refusal to use the litterbox. As a result, many countries, regions in the U.S., and cat groups have already banned the practice of declawing in cats. Upon taking our patients best interests in mind, our hospitals have decided to support the decision to offer alternatives to declawing.
You may be wondering what kind of alternatives there are. Cat scratching is a completely normal and instinctual behavior – it conditions the nails, allows the cat to protect itself, aids as a visual and scent territorial marker, and allows healthy muscle engagement through the act of stretching.
Just as dogs can be trained, so can cats! Our feline friends can be trained to scratch only appropriate surfaces like scratching posts. We recommend the strategic placement of scratching posts, specifically horizontal posts, around where the cat sleeps, and close to surfaces you wouldn’t want your cat to scratch, like the corner of the couch! This allows cats to perform what is natural for them while keeping our furniture damage-free. Our hospitals now provide natural horizontal scratching posts, which are available for purchase at any of our three locations.
In addition to training, our team recommends routine nail clipping. Although it is best to begin trimming your cat’s nails as a kitten to allow them to become familiar with this gentle procedure, adult cats can also become accustomed to having their nails trimmed at home. If you are unsure of how to trim your cat’s nails, we would be happy to demonstrate! We also now carry cat clippers which are available for purchase.
We do realize there may be some situations due to a medical condition within the family, and your loved one’s safety is very important to us. Under these special circumstances, our doctors are willing to consult with you regarding this decision. For more information, please contact one of our customer service representatives today.