Cats Claws Are No Big Deal in the UK

There have been quite a few articles lately about declawing (and here), but I just had to write one more. This is not to upset the wonderful Americans who are anti-declaw, it’s simply another attempt to help educate the pro-declaws. Cats claws are no big deal in the UK, so why are they such a big deal to so many people in the USA?

Accept a cat's claws

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

We all know that cats come with claws, so if a person doesn’t like it that cats have claws, why do they have a cat as a pet? It’s not compulsory to have a cat and it shouldn’t be an option to have a cat adapted for convenience sake.

True cat lovers love every part of their cat, including their claws. They are not lethal weapons to be looked upon with horror, they are a beautiful and necessary part of a cat.

Take two scenarios:

1. We get a new kitten in England, he has sharp little claws and hasn’t learned ‘claw manners’ yet so we get little scratches from him.
So what, there are far more hurts in life than a few scratches!

What do we do? We buy him a scratching post and teach him how to use it. When he comes along to scratch our feet or our furniture we gently lift him to his scratching post and show him how to use it. We praise him when he does, using his name a lot ‘Good boy Stripey’ He soon learns how satisfying it is to stretch up his scratching post for a good ‘work out’. We can, if we want to, trim the sharp ends off his claws but it’s not really necessary, we’ve had many kittens in our home and the scratching stage soon passes without interfering with the claws nature gave him.

2. Someone gets a new kitten in the USA, he has sharp little claws, they get a few scratches and immediately start trimming his claws because ‘everyone’ does it. Yes, I know in the USA cats are mostly kept indoors and don’t have access to trees and fences to help with their manicures, so I accept that kittens need to learn to have their claws trimmed, because it will be for life. But hopefully the kitten will be provided with a scratching post too for exercising his muscles and for the sheer pleasure of enjoying his claws, as is his right.

OK, but what about the people who see those tiny sharp claws as a threat, who without even trying to trim his claws and/or teach the kitten claw manners, arrange for him to be declawed! That little kitten’s essential toe ends and claws will be amputated and leave him disabled for life.

How can that be right?

Yes declawing vets encourage this major surgery and the AVMA condone it. In fact, they give totally the wrong idea when they say:

‘Cats with claws may pose increased risks of injury and morbidity for certain owners’ (proposed AVMA declaw policy statement)

The message they are conveying is:

‘CATS WITH CLAWS….oooh shock, horror, they are nasty dangerous things that need to be got rid of’. How do they think we manage in countries where declawing is banned? Well, we do manage and we manage nicely by accepting the fact that cats come with claws.

There are not two options ….. cats with claws and cats without claws. There should be no second option, cats are born with claws because they need them, they are part of a cat! Everyone needs to accept that fact.

If you don’t like claws, then don’t have a cat, it’s as simple as that!

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

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Cats Claws Are No Big Deal in the UK — 41 Comments

  1. Love your articles so much ruth. They are so great and i couldnt imagine seriously not having a cat that didnt have his/her claws. As it is now jasmin been practising all up legs but i dont mind as its love scratches 🙂 I tell her daily how thankfull she is cause over in america and other places what would happen to her sometimes i think she really understands. yes i talk to the cats im prob abit crazy but i talk to them just like they are a member of the house.

    • You are NOT crazy by talking to your cats and not the only person who talks to their cats (I do too!). That’s because they ARE members of the family/household. As a professional pet sitter, I talk to all my clients’ animals (even fish). ALL household pets develop a routine and habits/expectations. The know when we’re leaving for work and when we are soon to come home from work. I used to have saltwater fish tanks and had a fish that would come up to the glass when I would come home from work. He would not approach anyone else because that fish knew me but did not know anyone else. Yes, even fish recognize familiar faces and develop recognition behaviors toward familiar people!

      • Yea they just like family exactly i really feel like they understand more as they give you that look like they really understand Yea thanks for lovely comment. i know if they could talk imagine what they would say.

      • I talk to our cats and sing to them too. In fact I talk to every cat I meet and if I see one in a window I wave to him/her and blow a kiss too lol
        Our goldfish used to come to the side of the tank to see us and to see our cats too! They knew they were safe with a lid on their home.

      • Yea thats what i think they are, although her claws are very sharp. razor sharp. Sometimes it does hurt but i know shes a kitty. Prob gonna have to get a new basket soon as shes outgrown it.

  2. Indeed, many people try to make cats into something they’re NOT (an animal WITHOUT claws). As your article said, “If you don’t like claws, don’t get a cat”. When I first moved here, my one cat was scratching the wood around the doorways (this is usually the fault of the owner when they don’t provide something for the cat to scratch on, which was the case here.). I now have several places where they can scratch and they have their own furniture. They never bother any household items anymore!

  3. Great article and poster as always Ruth. The thing that struck me about the AVMA quote was the words “cats with claws”, as though there was a choice of cats with claws or cats without claws and the sad thing of course is, because they are encouraging unscrupulous vets to declaw cats, in the USA there IS a choice. To me “cats with claws” sums up the whole problem because claws shouldn’t need to be mentioned, claws should be accepted as an integral and unremarkable part of a cat, they don’t say a tailed cat, an eared cat, an eyed cat and yet they are all necessary and integral body parts of a cat just as claws are.

    Claws are not disposable, declawing is NOT a harmless kitty manicure as the latest news from the Paw Project shows, declawing comes at a high cost TO THE CAT and it’s looking very much like no cat escapes pain and suffering from bits of shattered bone left behind by money grubbing veterinarians who couldn’t care less about the aftermath of declawing or the suffering of their patients as long as they can grease in with the client, assure them that declawing is the next best thing to the second coming and extract as many dollars as possible.

    This whole declawing fixation makes me feel physically sick, I really feel sorry for the people in the USA who are against declawing, they must feel so frustrated that their fellow countrymen are so ignorant and cruel.

    • You are SO right! I almost dropped a client of mine who decided to have her cats declawed. As you said, it did make me physically ill to think about it. I chose to not think about it and not mention to her. Believe me, it was difficult not to say something to her! (Prior to her declawing the cats, I did present her with options rather than having that done. However, she had her mind made up and I did not want to create a negative relationship between us so I dropped the subject. I can assure you if she was not my client, I would have taken a different path of action ;-). Thank you for your well-written post!

      • You did your best Margaret, you can’t force someone not to have their cats declawed while it’s still legal.

    • exactly me too i just cant believe they do that. I look at my cats and imagine if they had to go though that how horrible it would be. Id feel like a horrible person.

      • Because Kylee you are a true cat lover, you love cats as they come, you would never dream of crippling a cat for your own convenience.

        • it would break my heart and tear me apart to ever having to do that even if my vet told me i had to which they wouldnt anyway.

    • I feel the same Babz, it must be horrible for the people who hate declawing.
      The AVMA and declawing vets are just crowing that it’s still legal, I hope and pray The Paw Project vets can wipe the smirk off their faces!
      I wish someone with a declawed cat suffering from bone fragments would sue their vet!
      I expect right now those declawing vets who have read the Paw Project vets evidence are revising their consent for surgery forms to cover themselves if they botch the job!

  4. Another thing I forgot to mention, I don’t know of anyone in the UK who uses ‘claw caps’
    Yes they are far better than declawing and I can’t judge fairly how a cat feels because I haven’t seen a real cat wearing them, only pictures.
    But people posting those pictures of their cat, for example wearing ‘hot pink’ and the person saying ‘He just loves his coloured nail caps’
    Of course he doesn’t love them. he wants to use his claws as they were meant to be used, he doesn’t want brightly coloured ‘gloves’ on them.
    Like declawing, nail caps are for the convenience of the owner, not the cat.
    How do cats exercise when wearing them? They can’t dig their claws in to stretch. I read they are changed monthly, the claws clipped at the same time, does the cat have any time between wearing them to enjoy his claws a bit?
    Why are some people obsessed with claws?
    I’ve tried but failed to answer that question 🙁

  5. Has anyone proposed why there is this difference? That is the 64,000 dollar question. Why do Brits see claws differently to Yanks?

    Nice job Ruth. You are the No.1 anti-declaw advocate in the world after Dr Conrad. And I am in the top 5 😉

    • lol If I lived in the USA those vets who declaw would be sorry, I wouldn’t rest until every single one saw the error of his/her ways!
      It’s frustrating that we can only do so much from England, but one thing for sure I wouldn’t have been able to do much at all without PoC, THE no 1 cat site for education about all things feline, including declawing.

  6. And that is the way it should be- NO BIG DEAL. I can’t believe that crap the AVMA AND other organizations that are supposed to TAKE care of cats and not HARM them- spouts out. But follow the money, honey! That is what this is ALL about- with their stupid rationalizations and lies.

    I have another article coming out tomorrow. I am just STEAMED. Thanks for a terrific article, Ruth, as always.

  7. I do have to add that I do trim our boyz’ claws. They are indoor only cats- in a neighborhood where I can’t even let them out unsupervised on our screened-in porch. Too many roaming cats that gets Sir Hubble up the wall territorial and starts spraying around the windows, and all around the bedroom- so we do need to nip THAT in the bud.

    But I start all my kitties out as kittens and there is NO BIG DEAL to trimming them every two weeks or so. They think it’s no big deal either.

  8. Spot on truth! I feel like telling Mollie’s other vet when she was trying to defend why she declaws. Rentals for homes and/or apartments are now requiring cats be declawed. They want this because they don’t want their stuff tore up, don’t rent or allow cats! The vet said, “What about the people who are ill and have to get their cat declawed otherwise their health is at risk?” Give the cat up, simple, heartbreaking but simple. Excellent article Ruth!!!!!!

    • Thanks Tina, this is what puzzles me, the vet saying:
      ‘What about the people who are ill and have to get their cat declawed otherwise their health is at risk?’
      How does she think we manage in countries where declawing is banned? Our health certainly isn’t at risk, I’ve never in my life known anyone in poor health hurt by a cat. A declawed cat is more likely to bite and cat bites are serious and painful.
      But our own late mother was hurt by a neighbour’s dog, it jumped at her in her wheelchair and tore the skin on her arm with it’s filthy claws. Did anyone suggest the dog be declawed? Of course not, it was an accident, accidents happen! She had 4 cats at the time and received not one single scratch from them!
      It’s time declawing vets stopped making money out of crippling cats!

      • What baffles me is vets declawing because the owner has diabetes. To me that makes no sense or some type of autoimmune disease. It has been proven cats are great at helping people cope with illness and a clawed cat is much better at this than a declawed, crippled, hurting, manged cat who is suffering worse than their human from declawing! I just don’t get it and hate this procedure. I wish it would have never been introduced. I’d like to know the amount of money a vet gets from declawing per year vs. any other illness, check-up, or emergency. Let’s see where the money really comes from!

        • I have never heard of a vet declawing a cat because the cat’s owner has diabetes and I presume the vet says that the cat presents a health problem to the diabetic owner. I find that very peculiar as you state. It seems like another feeble excuse to de-claw another cat. People like to make excuses and fabricate reasons to de-claw their cats.

  9. I so agree Ruth. I have had many cats and i use a scratcher for them to claw on. Do i get scratched at times, yes but no big deal. Here in the states there are many coyotes so to have a cat out doors is to have it torn apart so best to keep a cat indoors. I have a close din patio an di have my cat go there during the day. I keep the door open a bit so she can come in and out of the house when she wants to. She sees birds and lizards and that is good stimulation and keeps her active chasing them.

    • You are obviously a great cat caretaker Ru. You provide a scratching post, don’t mind a few scratches yourself and you keep your cat safe yet stimulated and active.
      Why can’t everyone in the USA do the same?
      If we had coyotes in the UK we wouldn’t be able to let our cats go out alone but we certainly would never ever have had them declawed even when it was legal here.

      • Hi Ruth,

        That is my name too. 😉 Many cat lovers here in the states do keep their cats in the house. I have one friend who has 5 cats and they go out in the closed in patio too but never out doors. I volunteer at a No KIll Shelter and i lecture those who tell me they have an out door cat. I also let the desk know they keep their cats out doors because then they will not let them adopt a cat. I think some people are just plain stupid and think well i have to let my cat out. It’s ok if there are no threats out there but we also have hawks and eagles here.
        I am cat lover and i spoil them. My cat Sophie ( Main Coon ) who had my heart died a year ago this past April. She was 18 yrs old when she died and i cried my eyes out. I miss her still and always will though i have another cat now. She is buried in my back yard with a nice plaque that says, Our Sophie and the date she died. I have a girl sitting on a bench watching over her. I have had Roxy 6 months and she is 1 year old. A cutie pie and so feisty .I have three scratchers around the house and her toys. I also play with her with toys. She is good with keeping her claws in but once in a while i get a scratch. It is no big deal to me. I would like to send you pictures of both cats but when i have tried to do that here it does not work. Are you on Face Book ?

        • Forgot to tell you Ruth. Many Vets in the states will not declaw cats so that is a plus. I am hoping it becomes a law here that cats cannot be declawed.

        • Hello Ruth, it’s nice to meet another namesake, we also have Ruth (Monty’s mom) here too 🙂
          Your country is very different to ours as we don’t have the predators and volume of traffic you do, so most of our cats can have their freedom.
          Anyway this is me:

          if you want to know more about how most cats live in England.
          I’m so sorry about Sophie, we’ve had cats for 40 years and no matter how many we have it’s always heartbreaking to lose one.
          I’d love to see photos of her and Roxy. Yes I’m on facebook Ruth Ockendon Laycock, if you can’t find me go to the anti declaw group I started ‘The International Coalition Against Declawing’ and ask to join and I’ll ‘friend’ you.
          I hope too that declawing will be banned, our vets would never do it even when it was legal here. Things are looking a bit more hopeful now than a few years back thanks to the Paw Project vets.

          • I sent you a message on FB, my name and pictures of my cats. I can’t find a friend request on your page so i gave you my name so you can send me one. 😉

            • Hi Ru. Thanks for that. That is nice of you. I am happy to be your friend. Can you upload one or two pictures of your cats to this site? The instructions are below the comment input box. Could you give me a link to the FB page where the friends request is? I don’t go to FB very often. I don’t really like it!

  10. Keep the articles coming Ruth. I believe your articles are helping. Honest, they do. It cannot be said enough times in enough ways. I can see why you in the UK are frustrated with we Americans. I cannot blame you. I’m just glad for the group of Vets, who have a louder voice, are starting to take charge of the battle. I do hope Ruth, that we will see more states and cities ban declawing in your lifetime. So you will know the good fight is working.

    Keep them coming, cool sister #1.

    • Thanks Dorothy, it seems to be the posters that help in the stop declawing battle. It astounded me being asked so many times on facebook if people could share them, now the Paw Project vets are using some of them too.
      I always put the links on facebook, to all PoC articles about declawing, whoever has written them, hoping to bring more visitors here, I think some come but don’t often comment, yet they share the posters.
      So I made my ‘declawing cats is cruel’ album public and keep adding to it.
      What a happy day it will be when I can delete the lot when declawing is banned 🙂
      lol cool sister will be hot hot hot that day 😉

  11. Ruth I could not agree more! I’ve always thought this yet no pro declawing American has ever replied when its come up in a debate. I wish someone would. Perhaps they know theres no answer, no believable, logical answer anyway?? What a debate that would be I do wish someone would come on and tell me why they can’t cope with cats claws and we can.

    • They never reply because there is no answer. People are the same all the world over, we cope with cats with claws, yet they can’t, it doesn’t make sense. They know cats have claws so why on earth get a cat if they don’t like it!
      They might as well say they can’t cope with any natural thing in life, as in this poster.
      The truth is it’s far too easy to get a cat declawed and it shouldn’t be!

    • They don’t want their furniture ruined but i have had cats and i use scratchers. Yes at times i catch my cat/cats staring to claw at my couch but i says no and they stop. They learn what they can and what they can’t claw. I started when i got Roxy at 6 months old. I would bring her to the scratcher when she started to claw on furniture. She’s pretty good now with that. One in a blue moon she starts on my couch and i say Roxy and she stops. 😉

  12. I tried to post pictures agin but it wont do it. I do not have a ” Browse ” button . I am not registered becuse it is not taking nay new people at this time. I can comment but pictures will not go.

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