The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recently released a position statement that opposes partial feline digital amputation, more commonly known as cat declawing. Their position states that scratching is a normal behaviour that cats use to mark territory, help with balance, climb, and defend themselves. The CVMA further explains that cat declawing offers no advantage to the cat, and the procedure causes unnecessary and avoidable pain.
CVMA President Dr. Troy Bourque explains, “The CVMA felt a strong need to address this issue as it is very important to veterinarians and Canadians as a whole. Much research has become available since we last examined this position statement and it is evident that felines suffer needlessly when undergoing this surgery as an elective measure. Furthermore, behavioural research has advanced to allow veterinarians in this field to help clients modify unwanted scratching behavior without the completion of an Onychectomy.”
Although some veterinary clinics in Alberta will perform the procedure, Vets To Go and all our veterinarians strongly oppose the practice of cat declawing and will not perform the procedure on any patient in our practice. We stand with the CVMA in their position and hope that other practices will take a similar stance on the unnecessary procedure.
For those that are concerned about a cat damaging their furniture and home, there are several humane alternatives to cat declawing to consider:
Regular Nail Trims:
If your cat is a fan of kneading your skin or shredding your furniture, regular nail trims can significantly reduce the amount of damage cat’s cause without removing their ability to mark their territory or affect their balance. Many cat owners are nervous about nail trims, but with a little practice, most cats are very receptive to having it done.
Here’s a quick video from veterinarian Dr. Schelling on how to trim your cat’s nails at home:
Cover their Claws:
Another humane, as well as fashionable, alternative to cat declawing, is a veterinarian-developed product called Soft Paws. Soft Paws/Claws are vinyl nail caps that are glued on to your cat’s existing nails. They look like a cat’s nail, only hollow, and come in a wide range of colours, including some with sparkles!
They’re easy to apply at home (Vets To Go can also apply them during an in-home visit), and they are completely safe and humane and can be used on cats of all ages. Vets To Go clients can order SoftPaws on our online store at shop.vetstogo.com.
Give Them Places to Scratch:
Cats have a natural urge to scratch and the action helps them mark territory with scent glands in their paws as well as remove old material from their claws. Giving your cat an opportunity to scratch to their heart’s content can help prevent cats from exercising this urge on your furniture!
There are a ton of cat scratchers on the market to choose from ranging from small, portable cat scratch pads to larger and more ornate cat trees that gives them the opportunity to use those claws and exercise their minds.
If you’ve got a cat that loves to use its nails, we recommend providing your kitty with several scratchers in different areas of the house for them to use whenever the urge strikes.