The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), trusted leader in theveterinary community, is proud to announce a policy update ending electivedeclawing procedures (onychectomy) for felines in all designated Cat FriendlyPractices (CFP). This announcement aligns with the AAFP’s 2017 PositionStatement that strongly opposes declawing of cats as an elective procedure. Inmaking this exciting announcement, the AAFP continues supporting highstandards of practice, continuing education, and evidence-based medicine

This update rolled out January 1, 2021 to all Cat Friendly Practice locationsacross North, Central, and South America and will be standard in all newpractices that wish to earn the designation moving forward. The AAFP and theInternational Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) established the Cat FriendlyPractice program as a global initiative elevating care for cats. A CFPdesignation is a recognized symbol of excellence showing a practice’scommitment in treating feline patients gently and with respect. Cat FriendlyPractices set themselves apart by providing the highest standards of care andoffering the best practices in feline medicine.

Feline declawing is an elective and ethically controversial procedure that isnot medically necessary in most instances. Many regions throughout the world,including portions of North America, have banned declawing procedures unlessthere is a necessary medical reason. Many cat caregivers may not realizescratching is a normal and essential feline behavior that relieves stress andallows cats to fully stretch their bodies. With proper education provided byCFP, cat caregivers will have a better understanding of the procedure andpotential risks associated with it.

In an effort to provide resources to veterinary professionals and supportevery Cat Friendly Practice, the AAFP developed a Claw Friendly EducationalToolkit. There are many alternatives to declawing and the AAFP has createdsupportive resources to assist veterinary teams and cat caregivers in beinginformed and living with clawed cats. The comprehensive Toolkit contains:

  • Review and summary of scientific literature
  • Scratching resources such as claw counseling
  • Implementation plans to end elective declawing at practices
  • Experiences from practices that have stopped elective declawing
  • Two complimentary webinars
  • FAQs for veterinary professionals and cat caregivers
  • Phone scripts
  • Client resources

Additionally, the AAFP’s Cat Friendly Homes website contains resources toassist cat caregivers. This includes educational brochures, flyers, andinformation about how scratching is a natural feline behavior, declawingalternatives, nail trimming, scratching posts and more.

Guided by evidence-based information, this decision reflects the AAFP’scommitment to cats and gratitude to be able to take this step towardsimproving feline welfare.

The Claw Friendly Educational Toolkit is endorsed by the International Societyof Feline Medicine (ISFM), Cat Healthy, and CATalyst Council, which alldedicated to improving the health and welfare of cats.

Source: US Pet Age

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