Saturday, 3 October 2009

Hurting babies

Here’s another proudly declawing practice, in Wisconsin this time run by a husband and wife who we’ll call the Woodentops and another butcher a.k.a Bonehead, on their website they make wonderful proclaimations, which I'm going to highlight in red, and discuss so here we go - “The decision to remove the claws is a personal decision.”
For whom? Not the cat! And really it shouldn’t be a personal decision, because wrong decisions are being made on a daily basis to deprive cats and kittens of a necessary part of their anatomy, this is why declawing needs to be banned by law, personal decision that is used unwisely should be taken away. And how much is personal decision and how much is auto-suggestion by vets/techs programmed to sell declawing as an add on to other surgical services? We've heard this week from someone who phoned to make an appointment for neutering only to be asked if they wanted to add declawing while they were at it. This is obviously a routine part of appointment making, and someone who isn't clued up about declawing, who in fact thinks it's a pussycat manicure, and who has to accept or refuse on the spot may well say "Oh yes please, I hadn't thought of that, thank you so much!"
It may be needed to protect your home or even family members from a scratching cat.
Protect your home? Protect your family members? Were they made to adopt a fearsome creature with huge, sharp, dagger-like pointy bits when what they really desired was something round and smooth? (a.k.a a goldfish). Is there any need for such drama? Particularly when you read on a bit and discover what age they recommend declawing…..
But first there’s this “In a particularly destructive cat, it can be life saving as many cats are turned over to a shelter because of that behavior.”
Completely disregarding the fact that many more cats are turned over to a shelter, and killed, having been declawed and having developed peeing, pooping and biting habits far worse than the scratching ever was. If ever the home and family members needed protecting maybe it’s AFTER declawing rather than before! But there again cats are disposable, take one cat, ruin it, don’t like the result, get rid of it and get another one. Also there is a more than equal chance that far from being life saving it can be life changing or even life ending
The following are possible complications of this surgery:
• Adverse reaction to anaesthetic
• Gangrene, which can lead to limb amputation
• Haemorrhaging
• Permanent nerve damage
• Persistent pain
• Reluctance to walk
• Scar tissue formation
• Sequestrum (bone chips), requiring additional surgery
• Skin disorders

After surgery, the nails may grow back inside the paw, causing pain but remaining invisible to observers. Declawing results in a gradual weakening of leg, shoulder, and back muscles, and because of impaired balance caused by the procedure, declawed cats have to relearn to walk, much as a person would after losing his or her toes.
Now here’s the killer…remember that home and family that needed protecting??
Removing a cat’s claws can be done as early as 12 weeks if the kitten weighs at least 2 pounds. Or, you can trim back the nails carefully until your kitten is spayed or neutered as a temporary measure you understand? Or forever if you opt not to have the claws removed. Opt not to? NOT TO should be the norm not something you opt for. And here's a wild idea...why not leave the damn claws alone?
The picture at the top of this page is of a 12 week old kitten, look at those tiny paws and imagine this kitten hardly yet used to having left it’s mother being subject to general anaesthetic and multiple amputations, strong pain relief (hopefully), tight bandaging and post op confinement. Kittens are never still, they just want to play all day. This poor little 12 week old kitten is going to have its toes amputated, so no learning, play fighting, stalking practice or fun and games for him for a long while.
Moreover what about this statement from the AVMA “Animals must be provided water, food, proper handling, health care, and an environment appropriate to their care and use, with thoughtful consideration for their species-typical biology and behavior. (Bold type added by me)
Where pray is the "thoughtful consideration for their species typical behaviour?" Cats need to scratch. Cats claw to have fun and exercise, to maintain the condition of their nails, and to mark their territory—visually and with scent. They stretch by digging their claws in and pulling against their own claw-hold. Cats’ natural instinct to scratch serves both their physical and psychological needs (Peta again) Ergo deny them scratching = deny them thoughtful consideration, yes? Yes!
And what about their famous “Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s).”
Realistically how much attempt can have been made to prevent a 12 week old kitten using it’s claws destructively? A 12 week or 2lb kitten hasn’t got the strength in it’s paws and leg muscles to do destroy anything! (Yes they can and do make a mess of your feet and ankles with their tiny needles but hey they’re kittens, that is what those amongst us who comprehend that kittens are baby cats and that cats have claws realise and expect.) How could you decide to make an appointment, starve the kitten, put him in a carrier and deliver him to the surgery knowing that he is going to come out of there the next day hobbling on part-feet, on strong pain relief (hopefully) and lying around sore and confused? I know I couldn’t ever subject a cat to any unnecessary surgery, bad enough the surgery they have because of need and because of neutering, but elective cosmetic surgery for the owner’s convenience? Evil!
Zoonotic risk, which must account for a miniscule percent of cats declawed, is still totally unnecessary. It’s been said many times, and it’s true, that people with immunosuppressed conditions in countries where declawing is rightly banned as inhumane manage nicely by following hygienic and safe procedures, or they just don’t have, or hang around, cats. It’s this assumption that everyone has a right to own and adapt a cat that annoys me. Cats are not suitable pets for everyone, they’re not suitable pets for house-proud people who value couches and drapes so much that they’re willing, eager even, to pay to have the cat’s toes amputated. And in some cases cats are not suitable pets for people with certain illnesses, surely the best thing to do is accept that rather than take a perfect cat and make a Frankenstein’s monster out of it’s paws?
So back to the words of wisdom from the Woodentops and their sidekick Bonehead: Generally, it is easier on a cat if done when young as there is less weight on the paws during the recovery period. What is even easier is to take that 12 week old kitten and provide him with scratching equipment, a tall scratching post and a flat scratching pad and show him what to do, interaction with a kitten is nothing but pleasure and is part of the joy of cat owning, or cat parenting if you’d rather, helping your kitten to learn by play is such a lovely experience, I can’t bear to think that anyone would prefer to surgically mutilate a baby animal than spend time shaping the kitten for the years ahead together.
Declawing still can be done even in cats that are older, although they will rebound more slowly.
Here’s one definition of rebound: a reaction to a crisis or setback or frustration
And here’s another A return to health or well-being; a recovery
The first one sums it up for me, crisis? YES Setback? Oh yes! Frustration? A 12 week old kitten deprived of it’s claws, bandaged, confined, medicated? What do you think! Frustration with a capital F!
And of course an older cat will take longer to heal, if at all, mentally and physically. Methinks the word “ rebound” has been chosen in a very sly and crafty manner, “recover” or “convalesce” or “recuperate” all sound very medical. Think of the word rebound and I bet you have a mental image of something bouncing back…hence the implication that they bounce back to full health and vitality (albeit slower they say). The second definition of rebound can’t possibly apply in this case, a declawed cat is NEVER going to return to health or well-being or recover, how can he when at least ten important parts of him are missing?
If you choose to have your cat declawed, it is important that he or she remain indoors. While declawing will not change your cat’s personality, he or she will not have a natural defense
So, as we used to say… “What’s this then, Scotch mist? ”Furthermore, cats without claws have lost their first line of defense, and because of this, they live in a constant state of stress. Less able to protect themselves, they cannot fight off other animals, or escape quickly from a dangerous situation. They may also become biters because they no longer can use their claws as a warning. Groomers, veterinarians, and people who care for declawed cats in shelters find many of them to be nervous, irritable, and difficult to handle.Finally, declawed cats often stop using their litter boxes. Some apparently associate the pain they feel in their paws when trying to cover their waste with the litter box itself. They seek a less painful place for elimination, such as the carpet or bathtub. Even though there are effective ways to modify a cat's litter box behavior, it is a particularly difficult challenge because a declawed cat's aversion results from pain. SOURCE
This is only one of a zillion sites listing the personality changes that can, and do, happen to declawed cats, I mean if these people haven’t researched into this very real and documented complication of declawing how can they possibly judge themselves capable of not only declawing cats but of their aftercare? And the only thing they can possibly think of to warn their clients of is that cats will have a natural defence (and they can’t even spell the word properly)
Here are their self congratulatory credentials Our pets warm our hearts, comfort us in illness and are always good listeners. They are our friends, companions, and family.
My pets are like that, I think a lot of us would be worse of mentally and physically without the loving accepting presence of a purring cat, so having warmed our hearts, listened to us, befriended us, kept us company and been like kin to us, should our reward to these friends be OFF WITH THOSE TOES?
Knowing how important these animals are in your life, it is an honor to care for these important members of your family.
You would never have the honour of getting within a hundred yards of my important members I can tell you! Their importance is soon forgotten when $$$$$’s are in the offing for chopping off those toes.
We treat your pets like family and are committed to celebrating and protecting the human-animal bond.
So, the Woodentops offspring are declawed? Maybe all the family is declawed? Oh no, that’s right only the cats have been declawed, the lesser important “family”, the human animal bond? WHAT human animal bond?
We will care for your pet as if he or she was our own. We will treat all pets with dignity and respect.
I can’t even be bothered to comment on this, they don’t know the meaning of compassion, of dignity or of respect, no one who respects animal life could or would take money to remove healthy, vital parts of a cat. Respect Mammon maybe! (Oh, I did comment after all!)
We will act with truthfulness, honesty, responsibility and accountability.
Well we’ve already seen the lack of truth and honesty where they stated “While declawing will not change your cat’s personality…..”
We’ve seen a lack of responsibility in their offer to declaw kittens as young as 12 weeks before those kittens have control over their claws and before they have had any training or displayed any destructive tendencies.

Accountability? I think they are thinking of the accounts they send out that are due for payment, lots of lovely dosh

Finally they claim this
Always putting our best paw forward for you and your pets.

They are lucky to have a best paw, the kittens and cats that they have declawed have ruined paws!


  1. Awesome post, very good arguments , you hit it right on the target =]

  2. Babz that's aptly brutal and true - all the way through. Excellent work.

    It's testament to how little owners actually know about their cats that they swallow that schmaltzy garbage from Woodentops, Butcher et al. Anyone with the smallest care or knowledge of the needs of a cat would see straight through the malignant and deliberate misinformation spouted to clients by vets who declaw.

    It's time owners empowered themselves via education about their companion animals and quit swallowing the dollar consuming lies fed to them wholesale by declaw vets. If owners knew how they and their cats are being sold blatant money making mutilation, they might think twice before consenting to this butchery.

    I wish every owner who ever thought of declawing would read your blog.

    Jane xx

  3. Thanks for exposing these criminals. It's hard to even read about these 2 committing these acts of animal cruelty against these infants, and their mindless justifications for doing so are revolting. Just yesterday I saw a rescue marketing "declawed kittens", I don't think it's possible to see 2 sadder words together. I had a friend once that 4-paw de-clawed her 2 kittens when they were "big enough" according her vet; 3 pounds. She's not my friend anymore.

  4. Another brilliant write up about the cruelty of declawing.It doesn't bear thinking about how cats suffer and I really don't know how any vet, trained to help animals, can mutilate little kittens by amputating their toe ends and claws before they've had even a chance at life as it should be lived.
    How long are these vets going to go on filling their coffers by crippling cats day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year ? More and more people are finding out the truth about declawing but how many more cats will suffer before it is stopped ? Those 'Woodentops' and all other vets who declaw cats should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves !

  5. I agree - totally awesome post. It is all there. Thanks for the time and commitment to produce this. You are an asset to the vulnerable cat.

    The idea that vets in America and cat keepers can, together, make the correct decision on cat declawing in laughable (or sickening). One is greedy to exclusion of all else and the other is ignorant and vulnerable to the greedy arguments of the vet.

  6. Thank you for posting this very clearly written and presented blog.

    I just cannot understand why people who love their precious furniture ahead of the very important needs that cats have should get a stuffed toy to rest attractively on their bed.

    It just makes me sick to read about people that just go ahead and declaw their cats, and don't even understand what is entailed, thanks to the greedy veterinarians that peddle their wares to make money.

    Again, thank you for an exceptional piece.

  7. Yet another brilliant expose on vets who care so little for the welfare of cats, that they don't even attempt to educate owners on the many humane alternatives to declawing.