West Frederick Veterinary Hospital - Cat Declawing Position Statement
In accordance with the current AAHA position on declawing cats, the doctors at West Frederick Veterinary Hospital agree that declawing should be considered only as a last resort for cats that would not be kept in the household or be euthanized otherwise. We would be happy to discuss methods to help provide attractive and appropriate scratching sites to help our cat patients exercise their natural instinctive behavior rather than use their owner’s furniture. For suggestions, please see the AAHA website for their ideas.
Although we feel the least painful time to declaw is when the cat is very small (as early as 12 weeks), that does not give us enough time to attempt training the kitty to use appropriate scratching posts. Declawing of an old or overweight cat is associated with a much longer recovery period and more difficulty with controlling pain. Therefore, we rarely declaw these patients unless medically necessary. A declawed cat should never be allowed outside since a major defense method has been eliminated.
The declawing procedure involves amputation of the last portion of each toe of the front feet. It can be a painful procedure. For this reason, we use a combination of pain control methods and keep the patient in the hospital overnight. This is to ensure limited walking, more effective pain medication administration and to allow us to keep the feet bandaged overnight.
Any of our doctors will be happy to spend time discussing the declaw procedure if you are considering it for your cat. We are here to help you implement possible training methods that hopefully will make both you and your kitty happy without resorting to surgery.