Position Statement - Declawing of Cats
The San Francisco SPCA opposes feline onychectomy – the declawing of cats. The surgery is not performed at our facility, and we strongly advocate against the procedure, particularly when done solely for the convenience of the cat guardian. Our Cat Behavior Department provides cat guardians, veterinarians, clients and adopters with complete education about and alternatives to the procedure.
Scratching is a natural feline behavior, and with a little time and commitment, cats can be trained to use their claws in a manner that is normal for them, but that does not cause destruction. The provision of adequate scratching implements, regular nail trimming, and temporary synthetic nail caps, are all established preventive measures.
The San Francisco SPCA does not support efforts to prohibit feline onychectomy. Our mission is to save animals’ lives and we understand that, in some instances, this procedure may be the only way to prevent abandonment, relinquishment, or euthanasia. We are cognizant of the fact that, unlike the SF SPCA, a number of animal welfare agencies do not have the resources to address behavioral problems in shelter cats and the cat-owning public, thus making euthanasia an unavoidable option. This is an outcome that we always seek to avoid.