Cat Friendly Practices Can No Longer Declaw


Cat owners and even veterinary professionals have suggested Cat Friendly veterinary practices that declaw aren’t so friendly. Simply put, declaw (or onychetomy) is truly is an amputation as the veterinarian amputates the end section of the last bone, which contains the growth plate along the nail. Once thought to not permanently harm cats, there’s plenty of data now to demonstrate otherwise.

Cat Friendly Practices have earned certification to demonstrate their willingness and ability to adjust what they do to focus on what improves the veterinary experience specifically for cats. Success of Cat Friendly Practices is undeniable, cat owners have said they are more likely to visit the veterinarian. 78 percent of clients say their experience has improved at Cat Friendly Practices and a whopping 98 percent of practices describe being a Cat Friendly Practice as “satisfying.”

While American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), which oversees Cat Friendly Practices, has held a strong position of a suggestion of opposition to declaw, particularly as a routine procedure simultaneous when cats are spay/neutered.

While, this position statement from 2017 makes a point – many have wondered how a practice can be certified as Cat Friendly and still declaw, as elective amputations aren’t exactly friendly.

AAFP has begun the New Year with this statement:

“As we continue to amplify our mission to support high standards of practice, continuing education, and evidence based medicine, we are proud to announce the end of elective declawing procedures in our Cat Friendly Practices.” 

Also, AAFP has just now launched a Claw Friendly Toolkit. Today, there is mounting science which demonstrates medical and behavior changes among declawed cats. The Toolkit provides scientific citations which indicate how cats frankly may suffer as a result of declaw. Included are many helpful tips regarding living with a clawed cats.

In 2019, New York state approved a declaw ban and arguably if it wasn’t for the pandemic other states might have followed by now. The state veterinary association in New York – for example – fought the ban (demonstrating how out of touch some associations appear to be). Denver has banned declaw, as has Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and lots of other California cities, nearly all Canadian provinces and over 25 entire nations.

After the American Veterinary Medical Association beefed up their their declaw statement,  and the approximately 1,000 Banfield the Pet Hospitals crafted a far stronger statement opposing declaw, now the 750 VCA animal hospital group pretty much decided “the heck with it” and outrightly banned declaw as elective option.

Cat Friendly Practices that decide to continue offering elective declawing procedures after July 1, 2021 will maintain AAFP Membership and all other membership benefits, but can no longer call itself a Cat Friendly Practice. Personally, I have been an ardent supporter of Cat Friendly Practices, but I concede allowing “friendly practices” to declaw is hypocritical. Now, that will no longer be the case. This IS a huge deal. What a great way to start 2021.