The Paw Project

​​​​​​​Animal House Veterinary Clinic is proud to be one of the few veterinary clinics in Arizona who DO NOT perform any declaw nor tendonectomy surgeries on cats, we never have and never will!

There are alternatives to these procedures including; Soft Paws, Feliscratch, frequent nail trimming, and providing appropriate scratching areas. Cats scratch on surfaces as part of their natural behavior and to remove the sheaths that grow on the surface of their nails, not with the intention to ruin furniture. Frequent nail trimming can help prevent destruction and most cats can be taught to scratch on appropriate alternatives such as cardboard scratching boxes or scratching posts. It is important to provide both horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces and Feliscratch can be applied to these appropriate surfaces to encourage use of these areas rather than inappropriate surfaces (your furniture or carpet).

​​​​​​​“Soft Paws” are a rubber nail cap that can be easily applied to your kitties nails after trimming to prevent your kitty from scratching furniture, people, or other pets. We offer application of Soft Paws as an outpatient procedure or we are happy to teach you how to apply these so you can apply these on your own at home. Soft Paws generally stay in place for 6-8 weeks in most kitties depending on their activity and behavior. It is a well known fact that declawing may often lead to other inappropriate behaviors in cats, including inappropriate urination which is one of the most common reasons cats are relinquished to shelters.

The Paw Project’s mission is to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to rehabilitate cats that have been declawed.

The Paw Project educates the public about why declawing is inhumane. Many people, including animal lovers, do not realize that declawing is a surgical procedure in which the animal’s toes are amputated at the last joint. A portion of the bone, not just the nail, is removed. Declawing may result in permanent lameness, arthritis, and other long-term complications. The practice, although common in the United States, is actually illegal in many countries. Great Britain’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons goes so far as to declare declawing “unnecessary mutilation.”

In a misguided attempt to keep big cats such as lions and tigers, as pets, their owners have the animals declawed as cubs, believing that they will be protected against injury. Later, when the cats prove to be poor pets, weighing hundreds of pounds and eating 20 pounds of meat a day, they are often neglected, confiscated by animal regulatory officials, or abandoned. They often end up in animal compounds or sanctuaries.

The Paw Project actively advocates campaigns to legally ban declawing at the community and state level. Some of our legislative milestones:

  • In 2002, Dr. Conrad approached West Hollywood (California) City Council members and convinced them that declawing of all animals should be banned. The council adopted an anti-declawing ordinance soon after (April, 2003) and became the first city in all of North America to ban declawing.

  • In 2003, Dr. Conrad and the Paw Project team provided data about the debilitating effects of declawing to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which then changed its position on declawing of wild and exotic cats to no longer condone it. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association quickly followed suit.

  • In 2005, The Paw Project team led the successful campaign to legally ban declawing of wild or exotic cats throughout the entire state of California.

  • In 2006, The Paw Project team was able to convince the USDA, the governing body over animals that are exhibited, bred or sold, to stipulate a regulation in the Federal Animal Welfare Act, prohibiting licensees from declawing or defanging their animals.

  • In 2009, The Paw Project team led the successful campaigns to legally ban declawing of domestic cats in seven more California cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills and Culver City.

  • In 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1229 into law, the first ever state law in the US prohibiting landlords from requiring tenants to declaw or devocalize their animals. Senator Fran Pavley authored the bill, which the Paw Project co-sponsored with HSVMA.

  • In 2014, Rhode Island enacted a new law, similar to the 2012 California law, that prohibits landlords from requiring tenants to declaw or devocalize their animals.