We Are No Longer Declawing Cats

June 28, 2015 / Cat's Meow / 52 Comments

The Village Cat Clinic has recently made the choice to stop performing declaws on cats. This has been a decision that our veterinarians and staff have contemplated for quite some time. Medicine has changed dramatically over the past several decades. Many procedures once common in both human beings and animals are no longer performed. We believe that not performing this procedure is the next step in advancing our medicine and patient care.

There are many downsides to declawing a cat.

  • Post-operative complications such as infection, wound breakdown, and post-operative pain are common
  • Long term pain due to arthritis, “phantom pain syndrome”, and tendon contracture can occur even with excellent surgical technique and pain management
  • Declawed cats bear weight differently than intact cats, leading to increased rates of arthritis at distant sites
  • Declawed cats may experience behaviour changes making them less confident, more prone to urinating outside the litter box, unable to properly express natural behaviours, and more likely to bite in some situations

Scratching is an essential behaviour to a happy, healthy cat. Cats are territorial and scratching is a way for them to mark their territory so they feel secure in their home. You cannot teach a cat not to scratch, but you can teach them to scratch only in appropriate places. Our goal is to make sure cats scratch WHERE you want them to and not to stop them from scratching. The staff and veterinarians at The Cat Clinic and Village Cat Clinic will be happy to provide advice and resources to prevent destructive scratching in your home.

There are also a variety of options to prevent cats from scratching that are non-surgical. These include nail trimming, “soft-paws” (gel caps which cover nails), synthetic facial pheromones, deterrents, and behavioural modification. Keeping a stimulating environment for your cat is also essential.

Remember that a declawed cat is not a “safer” cat. Declawed cats commonly are more defensive and may bite, which carries a higher risk of disease transmission than scratching. A dewormed, flea-free cat is incapable of causing “cat scratch fever”. We recommend all cats, even those kept indoors, be treated monthly during flea season with a topical parasiticide and be dewormed on a regular basis.

We at The Cat Clinic and Village Cat Clinic take the relationship you have with your cat very seriously. It is our belief that no longer declawing cats allows us to be leaders in feline medicine and surgery. If you have any questions about managing scratching or are having difficulty deciding whether or not to declaw your cat, please stop by our clinic and talk with our veterinary team. Declawing a cat is an amputation of their third digit and it is a major painful surgical procedure. Local nerve blocks, multimodal and lengthy at home post-surgical pain control are required and “laser declawing” is still an amputation and painful. Talk to us first, we are here to help the cats in our community.

Leave a comment

You are awesome! I hope more clinics follow in your footsteps.

Posted by Emi on July 5 2015 @ 11:17 am

Thank you sooo much for posting this! You're a sane voice among many crazies!

Posted by Anna J. Shelton on July 4 2015 @ 10:48 pm

Thank you for no longer doing this horrible amputation to cats, it is so unnecessary and harmful, thank you from all cats

Posted by cherie trounce on July 4 2015 @ 5:08 pm

Thank you on behalf of all cats that hereafter will be saved from this (procedure?), and for setting a good example for other clinics to follow. From Port Hueneme, California. U.S.A.

Posted by Albert Schepis on July 4 2015 @ 12:49 pm

Thank you so much for taking this stand for all kitty-kind!

Posted by Sunshine on July 4 2015 @ 11:26 am

I am so hopeful that other vets will follow suit! Congratulations on making a very responsible decision for our feline friends!!! ❤️

Posted by Stacie Regelman on July 2 2015 @ 10:34 pm

Thank You

Posted by Tricia on July 2 2015 @ 6:37 pm

Thank you so much for taking a stand on this important issue. Hope others follow your lead on ending declawing everywhere!

Posted by Diane Larkin on July 2 2015 @ 2:56 pm

Thank you so much for recognizing that this procedure is not benign, and for deciding to stop performing it. I wish more veterinarians would follow your lead. Your explanations and descriptions were perfect, and I will share your post far and wide.

Posted by Theresa Bridges on July 2 2015 @ 12:26 pm

Thank You!

Posted by Michaela on July 1 2015 @ 11:00 pm

Bravo for ending this torture!!!

Posted by Norah C. on July 1 2015 @ 1:24 pm

So happy you made the right choice! The hospital I work at made the decision two years ago and we do not regret it for one minute!

Posted by Susan Whittred, DVM on June 30 2015 @ 9:24 pm

Thank you for doing what's right for your kitty patients! I hope all vets someday stop this cruel practice. GOD BLESS YOU

Posted by debbie on June 30 2015 @ 11:39 am

I am so happy to read that you will no longer declaw cats! :)

Posted by S. Chipman on June 30 2015 @ 11:04 am

Thank you for standing up for the cats!

Posted by Anne on June 30 2015 @ 10:03 am

Thank you for no longer declawing! It takes courage to go against the status quo, Saving paws, one vet at a time!

Posted by Crystal and Mr. Bunnyfoot on June 30 2015 @ 9:11 am

I hope you have seen. on The Paw Project page, the wealth of support you have for this move.

Posted by Shirley Swaine on June 30 2015 @ 3:28 am

WOW!!! Good for you taking a stand against declawing!! Thank you.

Posted by Colleen kretowicz on June 30 2015 @ 12:07 am

Congratulations on choosing a more humane approach to caring for cats!

Posted by Judy on June 29 2015 @ 11:11 pm

Merci de travailler pour le bien de nos chats!

Posted by Marie-Noëlle Cloutier on June 29 2015 @ 10:53 pm

Excellent news! Way to go!

Posted by Emma on June 29 2015 @ 9:59 pm

Way to go! Thanks for doing this.

Posted by Rebecca Moffat on June 29 2015 @ 9:42 pm

Thank you for a wonderful decision and the braveness to stand up for the kitties"

Posted by Nancy on June 29 2015 @ 8:13 pm

Congratulations to all of you for making this fine, commendable and brave decision! It probably seemed like a tough move, but I hope, like me, that you will never look back. There are too many short and long term negative consequences to declawing that can no longer be ignored. All the best in your venture to move forward with education on natural scratching behaviour and how cats WITH claws can live in harmony with people!

Posted by Dr. Kelly St. Denis, DABVP (feline practice) on June 29 2015 @ 7:29 pm

Thank you from all the innocent kittens of the world. God bless you for realizing how awful detoeing is and refusing to mutilate kitties.

Posted by Katarina on June 29 2015 @ 7:10 pm

Thank you

Posted by Jan Switzer on June 29 2015 @ 4:47 pm

THANK YOU for making the right choice for kitties! I wish more vet practices would make the same choice, but you will help turn the tide and stop this horrible practice of depriving kitties of their fully-functioning paws. :)

Posted by Kathy on June 29 2015 @ 4:23 pm

THANK YOU FOR THIS! It is wonderful to see more and more veterinarians speaking up for those who cannot. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Posted by Leann Mellum on June 29 2015 @ 2:42 pm

I am so happy to see such an enlightened veterinary practice! I applaud you and the decision you have taken to stop declawing. If I lived in your country, I would most certainly use your practice.

Posted by Sharon Jones on June 29 2015 @ 2:26 pm

God bless you! And I hope that doesn't offend anyone....but I've been trying to get MY clinic to stop as well....some are just greedier than others....there are SSSOOOO many alternatives....thank you....thank you...thank you! I'm going to forward this to my clinic and MAYBE they'll get the message!

Posted by Linda Evans on June 29 2015 @ 2:21 pm

Thank you for no longer declawing! I work at a shelter and I can be the first to tell you declawing doesn't keep cats in homes and when released to a shelter a Declawed cat usualy has a harder time finding a home because of one of the mentioned above behavior problems. I am so glad to see the passion for wanting to do whats right outweighs the greed for money. You are setting a wonderful example, education goes a long way! Thanks again!!

Posted by Caitlin on June 29 2015 @ 2:15 pm

Thank you, if I lived closer I would come to you

Posted by Carol on June 29 2015 @ 1:34 pm

Hello, Thank you so much for not declawing cats anymore !!! You have made so many owners, cats, and animal lovers very happy. Your amazing !! Elizabeth Magee

Posted by Elizabeth Magee on June 29 2015 @ 1:08 pm

Thank you so much for your change in policy!

Posted by allison on June 29 2015 @ 12:49 pm

Thank-you!

Posted by Nicki on June 29 2015 @ 11:47 am

Thank you for choosing cats over furniture. You are true Veterinarians! Natascha Wille Salt Spring Island, BC

Posted by Natascha Wille on June 29 2015 @ 11:35 am

Thank you so much! I can't wait for more clinics to do the same and swear off declawing!

Posted by Melissa on June 29 2015 @ 11:31 am

Thank you so much for your decision to stop declawing cats. I app0laud your decision. I just wish more veterinarians would follow suite.

Posted by DuWayne Moberg on June 29 2015 @ 11:06 am

Awesome news! Thank you!

Posted by Mary Nowicki on June 29 2015 @ 10:53 am

Thank you for taking a stand against this barbaric practice. I hope there comes a day when it's outlawed entirely! I work in a shelter and it makes me sick when I hear prospective adopters say, ".....but my cat did just fine with the surgery and has never had any problems".

Posted by Marcia on June 29 2015 @ 10:53 am

This is wonderful news, thank you so much and may other clinics take a page out of your book. From London Ontario.

Posted by Molly (& Milly, Maybelline, Prince Harry & Darwin) on June 29 2015 @ 10:51 am

Thank you so much for changing your policies! Could you please convince your colleagues here in Clarksville, TN to do the same? Thank you in the name of catdom!

Posted by Angela Davis on June 29 2015 @ 10:42 am

Fantastic! Congratulations!

Posted by Marcia Till on June 29 2015 @ 10:25 am

Thank you for this decision!

Posted by Dawn Kuhns on June 29 2015 @ 10:13 am

THANK YOU on behalf of kitties everywhere! :)

Posted by Amanda on June 29 2015 @ 9:57 am

thank you -You are setting the standard for humane vets!!!

Posted by betty ray on June 29 2015 @ 9:50 am

Thank you for this decision. Thank you on behalf of all of the cats.

Posted by Tammi Hartung on June 29 2015 @ 7:49 am

Applause and best wishes sent from Germany. In Europe declawing is considered as animal abuse and therefore is illegal We're being very concerned about what's happening on 'the other side of the big pond'. Every vet / clinic making the choice to protect cats instead of abusing them will always have our fullest support. In the name of the cats: thanks for speaking up and leaving the mainstream. I'm wishing you loads of new clients and if asked I will happily recommend you to cat owners.

Posted by Sabine Titz on June 29 2015 @ 4:44 am

From the U.K. where we have never done this, thank you so much for ending this dreadful practice in your clinic.

Posted by Shirley J. Swaine on June 29 2015 @ 4:23 am

I'm from the U.S. and am so happy to see some practices taking such a positive step toward the end of declawing!

Posted by Kelly Rutan on June 29 2015 @ 2:15 am

Thank you for choosing to no longer Declaw cats! I greatly appreciate that you took the time to educate clients on why it is you have made this choice.

Posted by Stella Navarro on June 28 2015 @ 10:15 pm

Thank you for not declawing cats.

Posted by Janine on June 28 2015 @ 8:35 pm