Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Association of Feline Practitioners has enacted a policy banning newly certified Cat Friendly Practices from performing elective declaw procedures and ordered the group’s 1,015 current member practices to stop elective onychectomies within six months.
The AAFP in 2017 issued a policy statement strongly opposing the declawing of cats as an elective procedure. The updated stance goes a step further.
“We are requiring all of our Cat Friendly Practices to implement either a new declaw policy or have a six-month plan to phase out declawing if they currently offer it,” AAFP spokesperson Ashley Castore said.
The Cat Friendly Practice program was started in 2012 by the AAFP and the International Society of Feline Medicine as a way to certify veterinary hospitals that adhere to high standards in the treatment, handling and overall health care of feline patients.
Elective onychectomies are controversial and not medically necessary “in most instances,” the AAFP stated.
“Many regions throughout the world, including portions of North America, have banned declawing procedures unless there is a necessary medical reason,” the organization added. “Many cat caregivers may not realize scratching is a normal and essential feline behavior that relieves stress and allows cats to fully stretch their bodies. With proper education provided by (Cat Friendly Practices), cat caregivers will have a better understanding of the procedure and potential risks associated with it.”
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