The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has announced that from January it will only accredit veterinary practices which do not carry out elective declawing under its Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) scheme.
This move is encouraging and one AAFP has been working towards for several years with the support of the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of the charity International Cat Care.
Created by iCatCare’s veterinary branch, ISFM, and launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Clinic programme accredits veterinary clinics worldwide, outside North and South America, and is designed to create a more cat friendly environment by addressing issues that cause stress for cats in veterinary clinics and consequently making visits easier for cat owners as well. AAFP accredits practises in North and South American under the Cat Friendly Practice program. In accordance with International Cat Care policies and Cat Friendly Principles, ISFM insists surgical operations for the purpose of either modifying the appearance of the cat or for non-medical purposes (such as choosing to declaw) are not performed in their accredited clinics.
Commenting on the move Nathalie Dowgray, Head of ISFM said,
“ISFM is delighted this has now been achieved – it is an important step forward for feline welfare. AAFP’s Claw Friendly Educational Toolkit is a great resource for practices choosing to stop undertaking declawing. Both organisations will also work to educate owners around the world that scratching is a normal and essential feline behaviour, and that the procedure of declawing is definitely not cat friendly.”
iCatCare and ISFM have been clear that they consider declawing cats for anything other than genuine therapeutic medical reasons to be an act of mutilation and unethical. You can read the position statement in full here.
Although some might see scratching as purely destructive, it is a normal feline behaviour and is associated with territorial marking as well as conditioning of the claws and digits. Below you can find links to our advice about scratching behaviour and how best to use scratching posts.
You can find more information about AAFP and their Claw Friendly Educational Toolkit here