American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

Claw Counseling

Claw Counseling: Living in Harmony with Clawed Cats


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North American attitudes toward the procedure of declawing are shifting rapidly. As we move away from this procedure, it is increasingly important for veterinary teams to focus on educating clients about normal scratching behaviors in cats. Claw Counseling teaches clients how to live in harmony with their clawed cat. This presentation will review the natural scratching behavior of domestic cats with guidance on how to target this behavior to desirable surfaces. It will describe the goals behind Claw Counseling, providing the necessary information for veterinary practices to implement this program immediately. The benefits are mutual as the caregiver learns to understand the cat's behavior and needs, and the cat is allowed to express those behaviors in the most natural way.

Webinar Objectives:

  • Review the physical and emotional reasons that cats need to scratch.
  • Review the anatomy of the feline nail and how to care for them in all age groups.
  • Explore resource management and environmental enrichment as tools to guide scratching in cats.
  • Review the five pillars of a healthy feline environment and how to use these toward guiding desirable scratching.
  • Review approaches to trouble shooting so-called 'undesirable' scratching behaviors in cats.

Speaker Bio

Kelly A. St. Denis, MSc, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)

Dr. St. Denis is currently a full-time clinician at the Charing Cross Cat Clinic in Brantford, Ontario, which she opened in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and a Master of Science in Immunology. In 1999, she completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Ontario Veterinary College. Dr. St. Denis has been certified with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in the specialty of feline practice since 2013. Dr. St. Denis is a consultant for the feline medicine boards on VIN. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the AAFP since 2017 and sits on the Advisory Council for the AAFP Cat Friendly Practice® Program. Dr. St. Denis is proudly one of the six Canadian feline specialist members of Cat Healthy.

RACE Credits 

This program 249-34173 is approved by the AAVSB RACE to offer a total of 0.50 CE Credits (0.50 max) being available to any one veterinarian: and/or 0.50 Veterinary Technician CE Credits (0.50 max). This RACE approval is for the subject matter categories of: Category One: Scientific using the delivery method of Interactive-Distance. This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board's CE requirements. RACE does not "accredit" or "endorse" or "certify" any program or person, nor does RACE approval validate the content of the program."