Saturday, 9 May 2009

The fight against declawing

Last November (2008) while browsing a site called Yahoo Answers it was shockingly brought to the attention of my sister and myself that kittens and cats are still being routinely declawed in the USA (and Canada) and in fact there are certain veterinary practices that actively promote declawing included in packages with neutering and vaccination of kittens. We noticed that almost daily there were posts commenting on the after effects of declawing (onychectomy) there were people asking why their cats were toiletting outside of their litter boxes, why they were hiding away, biting, holding up paws etc etc etc and what emerged to my mind were two types of people. There are the ones who blindly follow either a family tradition of declawing pet cats and never give a thought to how it happens and what the cat thinks about it or they follow the advice of their veterinary surgeon, who let's face it charges quite a whack for what is after all cosmetic surgery. The other type are the ones who really don't care if it hurts, disfigures or disables the cat as long as A) their furniture is OK B) their kids can torment the cat without fear of getting a whack from a clawed paw in retaliation or C) they never get scratched themselves while performing their (un-neccessary) routing bath of their "kitty" (this makes me so angry...why can't they call them cats?)
Disturbed about so many toes being amputated we contacted the AVMA asking what their policy was, the reply was that each state of the USA made their own policy but the guidelines of the AVMA were that declawing should be performed as a last resort when all other means of eliminating inappropriate scratching had been tried or if the health of the owner could be compromised by a clawed cats ( e.g deficient immune system). So we contacted the chief executive of veterinary medicine in every state of the USA and the ones that bothered to reply referred us back to the AVMA statement. So it's a bit of a closed shop then? Too true!

In an attempt to do our bit to get declawing (deTOEing) relegated to history we started a group called the Claws Connection and a petition to the AVMA calling for a ban on the declawing of cats Through the group and through continuous answering of the questions on Y/A we have made some good friends and we call ourselves The Troops and we try as often as possible to educate people about the horrors and sheer non necessity of declawing cats, offer advice on solving problems that may have led people to consider declawing and provide links to sites that give good sound veterinary advice. Amongst our troops is author and cat behaviourist Annie Bruce who has written the book Cat Be Good and has two websites Good Cats Wear Black and Cat Be Good both packed full of good advice.

But what a struggle it is to spread the word, if we lived in the USA we'd be out there on the streets with posters & petition but living in England and being not quite over the hill but rapidly approaching the summit from whence it's all downhill we can only rely on the pen being mightier than the sword (or in modern speak the keyboard being mightier than the sword or the pen). We need thousands more signatures before we present it to the AVMA and we need people in the USA who are against declawing, and yes there are many many people against it, to get out there and shout about the horrors of it, to visit and lobby vets to stop doing it and to get it in the media in any old way they can.

Cats have the right to their claws, why on earth should anyone be able to decide to remove their cat's toes?


  1. Very good article,well thought out and written, and it tells the truth about the cruel procedure of declawing cats. It is totally unneccessary to take a perfectly healthy cat and have it crippled by one of the money grabbing vets who still do this operation, knowing full well how wrong it is.
    Anyone who doesn't like it that cats have claws, don't get a cat ! It's as simple as that ! Ruth

  2. Hi Babz,

    Very good thought Babz. Yeah! we should get away from any declawing of cat. This money grabbing veterinary should be ban in our list or country list.Ban forever this unethical activity. What should we call a cat without their claw?...


  3. Hi Babz,

    Thanks for creating this blog and helping to spread the truth about declaw surgery... a procedure that needs to be banned throughout the whole world. It is my fervant wish that all the veterinarians who have taken an oath to "do no harm" will wake up and keep their promise.