Declawing Cats: The Need for a Definitive Joint Report

by Michael
(London UK)

Cat's pads damaged in use after declawing.

Cat's pads damaged in use after declawing.

The successes in California late last year when eight cities banned the declawing of cats was extremely welcome. But what was unwelcome was the constant wheeling out of the veterinarians' tired and clichéd argument that declawing saves the lives of cats by stopping cat owners relinquishing cats because of the damage caused by their claws. A very poor argument at best and plain wrong at worst: See Cat Declawing Myths and Truths.

But an argument nonetheless that city councilors had to sit through and ponder on. A lot of people might actually believe it. And I don't like to see the clear water of truth "muddied up" by false arguments.

How to beat this problem? Although there is a lot of fairly scientific research on declawing and cat relinquishment it is often not strictly scientific enough to eliminate argument. Also I don't know who funded it or who or which organization requested that it be carried out. If it was definitive there would be no argument.

The instructions or reasons for the research are important. This is because if a person who is pro cat declawing instructs a scientist to conduct research, he or she is likely to instruct a person who thinks in the same way. Or they will encourage, even in the slightest way, the author to produce findings that support the instructing organisation's desires and objectives. That cuts both ways. Anti-declawers like myself would hope that a report instigated by me would support my feelings that declawing of cats does not save cat's lives. In fact in the long term I say it destroys cats by supporting the wrong basis for the cat/human companionship.

The way around this is to adopt what happens in court rooms across the world when an expert's opinion is required as it frequently is (and often causes controversy).

Often the opposing parties in legal battles agree to jointly instruct a single respected expert and to be bound by the findings. Alternatively, they instruct their own but then their own experts formulate a final report based on common ground.

I am thinking more of the former. If the AVMA and us (people who hate declawing) could agree on an expert to prepare a definitive report it would cut out of the equation a lot of muddying argument.

People who oppose declawing know it is wrong. It is obviously wrong but we can't use that as an argument as it is based on morality and morality is somewhat subjective (or so some people think). We must "pin down" the veterinarians by sound argument to the point that there is no where for the vets to go but accept the plain truth.

I am prepared, through, PoC to fund such a report. Provided the expert is carefully selected, I propose that the outcome would help the debate and in fact lead to more bans on declawing as the arguments seen in council chambers in California would be history.

Michael Avatar

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Declawing Cats: The Need for a Definitive Joint Report

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Mar 09, 2012 you are all missing the point NEW

i love cats and animals in general. However, most "cat lovers" dont have kids. Cats are predators, if you have a toddler and a cat and you favor your cat you have issues. the people on here that get all bent out of shape about cats DONT HAVE KIDS i know everyone will respond and say I have kids oh i have kids. YOUR STILL MISSING THE POINT cats are predators, yes cats prowl on toddlers its NATURAL toddlers is little similar to the cat size cats are ANIMALS they will prey on your toddler. Kill kids? no of course not but pounce scare or whatever (the cat sees as play) HE's A CAT thats what CATS DO. i got on here looking up stuff about declawing, i am not going to have our cat declawed i hope that makes some cat lovers happy, i agree it seems to be a bit much, BUT DONT BE CONFUSED im not keeping the cat with claws in the house with my toddler when the cat attacks the kid (just playing bieng fiest HES A CAT) the cat is going outside! you guys gotta quit getting upsdet and DO something about what your passianote about not get all bent out of shape at each other I NOW HAVE AN OUTSIDE CAT he can hang out in the garage if he's cold. where's the cat expert in here that has never seen a cat prey on small children? ITS NATURAL ITS A CAT AN ANIMAL it does what cats do ITS A CAT mine is outside now and he will be happy when he gets used to chasing birds and climbing trees.

Jun 23, 2011 Protect children too
by: Anonymous

It would be nice indeed if as many people would defend the helpless unborn child. No one seems to think they have any rights.

Oct 02, 2010 To anonymous
by: Ruth

For a start we don't claim to be professional,we are simply ordinary people who not only love our own cats but love all cats worldwide and care about their welfare. We spend our own time educating ignorant people about the cruelty of declawing and the humane alternatives to ten amputations of a cat's last toe joints. We don't enjoy doing this but until declawing is banned we will go on doing it.
You obviousy haven't grasped that problems from declawing can occur at any time during a cat's life, that although you say your cats are fine now, it doesn't mean they always will be. Even if they are fortunate enough to escape all the other problems from the declawing they will be much more fortunate to escape the painful arthritis which almost all declawed cats develop in later life.
In case you haven't bothered reading up on this it's because they can't walk or exercise their muscles as cats need to by digging in their claws and their joints stiffen. I suggest you do read up on this and keep a very close eye on your declawed cats for any problems because this is something else you might not know, cats hide their pain! So be very sure yours aren't suffering in silence as many cats do.
If your clawed cat is scratching your furniture then you obviously don't have the right sort of scratching post or pad she prefers, or you haven't taken the time and trouble to gently and kindly redirect her to her own furniture.
Cats need to scratch, it is NOT bad behaviour, it is natural and necessary behaviour.
As for your remark about people sometimes having no option but to have a cat declawed, I take it you also don't know that someone can go out and get a kitten, not bother even buying a scratching post but instead arrange for him to be declawed.
ANY kitten or cat can be trained to use a scratching post or pad, those people who can't do that are not fit to have a cat in their homes.
You have a lot to learn anonymous so please go and do just that.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Oct 02, 2010 Anonymous
by: Maggie

To the cowardly fool who needs to grow a pair and show his own name, may I ask you to relieve us of our ignorance and show us scientific evidence that there's nothing wrong with declawing, despite the fact that it's considered as animal cruelty in 38 countries around the world and banned for that reason?

If you've got no scientific evidence, have a look around this website. You'll most definitely change your opinions after educating yourself.

Until then, go and insult someone else's intelligence. As YOU are the ignorant one, not us.

Oct 01, 2010 Ignorance
by: Anonymous

It seems like you're just attacking anyone who has a different stance than you and not even considering any other options. Perhaps these people have tried what you've said to no avail and have taken it as a last option.

Although I do not declaw my cats I have had declawed cats before who had no problems with their joints, muscles, or pads. They still went through the clawing motions but with no actual damage. I have also had cats (with claws) with several scratching posts around and they still tend to attack the furniture for their needs.

Before jumping down someone's throat perhaps you should consider their point of view. I have several declawed rescues (declawed before I got them) at the moment and they are all fat, happy, indoor cats with no medical problems. You cannot lump everyone together who does not share your point of view.

Also, the use of chat speak, such as 'lol', makes you seem very unprofessional.

Sep 25, 2010 Kirk it's you who is the idiot
by: CJ

Cats don't need us and they have far more brains than people like you have that's for sure.
You talk about safety and then you let a young cat be in danger from 3 year olds.It was the cat's safety in question because of your stupidity.No doubt the kid hurt it and deserved a warning scratch,it will make her think on next time that hurting animals doesn't pay.
As for your furniture being scratched,that's your fault too.If you are too lazy to teach your kitten to use a scratcher then it serves you right if it has to use something else.Don't you know cats have to scratch to have healthy muscles?No doubt the poor thing is incarcerated indoors with no means of expressing normal behaviour for a cat.Now you plan to have it detoed so 3 year olds can treat it any way they want to.
You are the lowest form of life,a deliberate animal abuser who thinks he is entitled to cripple cats to let them live under your stone with you.
No cat needs you matey,in fact given the choice they'd run a mile.

Sep 25, 2010 Kirk
by: Edward

Kirk man what were you thinking putting a young cat at risk among 3 year olds.You have probably traumatised that poor creature for life and plan to do so even more by having its toes hacked off.
I was born into a household of cats and never once got scratched and that was because my parents were responsible and I grew up appreciating animals have the right to be treated properly.
Cats arent wild beasts tearing up your furniture,thats a stupid excuse,just get yours some scratching posts and pads.
Or like others have said,let it go to a decent home as yours isnt the right place for a cat if you think hacking toes off is a good thing.

Sep 25, 2010 Give us some answers Clever Clogs
by: Fran

So come on Mr Clever Clogs,what did the brat do to the cat?
Cats don't scratch for no reason.
What in God's name was the cat left vulnerable at a party for,are you completely mad?
Or is it as someone else said,all about your furniture?
Why didn't you learn a thing or two about cats before subjecting one to the 'great honour'
of being allowed to live in your home?
Yes I agree best thing to do now instead of crippling that young cat is to find her a home with people who will appreciate her instead of allowing kids to abuse her and to plan to abuse her yourself.
You are an unspeakably cruel person and I hope one day you get your just deserts.

Sep 25, 2010 To idiot Kirk
by: Rose

You really are the limit,planning to ruin a young cat's life by having its toe ends amputated just because of a warning scratch given to some precocious brat who was no doubt hurting the cat.
What was the poor cat doing in the misdt of a party?Three years olds have no concept of right from wrong but it seems you don't either.God what an example you are of how not to grow up.
I have kids,cats,and dogs,and each and every one learn from the beginning to respect one another.If anything was to go wrong between them it would be MY fault,I'm the adult and it's MY duty to ensure all my household are safe from harming each other.
You also say your furniture has been destroyed,is it a tiger you have in your house?There we have it though,it's not the kid being scratched you are justifying declawing for,it's your oh so precious furniture isn't it?
Are you so obsessed with kids you have neglected to provide a scratching post for your cat and to teach it how to use it?
You are obviously totally pig ignorant and should't be allowed to have a cat.
You will prove that more than ever if you pay a butchering vet to break his oath and put that little cat through agony.
For God's sake rehome the poor cat,no cat deserves to live with a cruel ignorant idiot like you.

Sep 25, 2010 To Kirk
by: Ruth

YES cats need to survive and be happy and to do that and live a pain free life they DO NOT need their toe ends amputated.
You think it's worth that for the 'honour' of living with you, a cat abuser ???? You need certifying.
So you had a childrens party and WHY was the cat left at risk amongst a mob of kids not old enough to know right from wrong ? What did the kid do to the cat ???? Oh yes, declaw the poor cat and let kids treat him as a living soft toy, pull his tail, lump him around like a toy, kick him, bash him off a wall....not that long ago a 3 year old in your country did just that, smashed a cat off a door and killed him !
What do you think we do in countries where declawing is banned and rightly so I may add? We supervise our kids, that's what we do, we teach them to respect animals and to treat them gently and kindly.
We don't hold kids parties and leave our cats in danger of being hurt by the kids, we PROTECT our pets the same as we do our kids.
It is YOUR duty to do the same and that is exactly what you will HAVE to do WHEN declawing is banned.
But of course you won't want a cat in your life then if it can't be adapted to how YOU think a cat should be, never mind the pain the cat suffers.
Well that's GOOD NEWS as no more cats will then have to live a miserable pain filled life with you, they will be living with people who TRULY love cats and know that cats are born with claws because they need them.
Go and whine somewhere else as we are NOT impressed with your ignorant and cruel rubbish.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Sep 25, 2010 Kirk - that is rubbish!
by: Barbara

No we don't forget safety at all Kirk, we all have fully clawed cats, we have children and we have nice furniture, but what we do is take responsibility for caring for all of those things and caring for our cats too without resorting to surgical mutilation. You say you had a children's party and a child narrowly missed injury, that is not the cat's fault that is your fault, whatever were you thinking of allowing a cat to be amongst a bunch of excited children at a party? A recipe for trouble that as any sensible adult would know. You neglected to care for children AND cat and then you come on here questioning our motives? Sheesh!
Cats don't really need us you know, yes they live with us, but they could just as easily, and happily, live without us, maybe not in luxury but perfectly adequately.
And no, actually we DON'T need them to be declawed. No cat is declawing in my country, England, or in 37 other countries. But we keep watch over our children, we teach them to respect animal life and not maul cats, and we certainly don't invite our cats to a noisy three year old's party.

So Kirk, the idiot is you sonny boy, you are too immature to be in charge of children and animals, you need urgent parenting lessons and I'd suggest instead of planning to declaw your "second" young cat you set about finding a safe home for him or her, somewhere that the new owners have some idea of how to care for animals and will not gallop off to the vet to declaw the cat rather than have to watch over their child.

Barbara avatar

Sep 25, 2010 Bugger off!
by: Maggie

My God, you pro declaw idiots really piss me off! But you, well, what a selfish peice of shit you've proved to be! I don't usually use bad language in my comments but you have really crossed the God damn line! You sick bastard! Who the hell do you think you are? I had a 3 year old hitting and squeezing my bloody cat the other day and he was as safe as he could possibly be. Your filthy little brats don't bloody justify the torture of cats!

38 countries declawing is banned in. Including mine. And how many children have I seen with their eyes raked out? NONE! Not even one! I see children all the bloody time! Don't insult our intelligence with your pathetic ignorance! Drop dead you stupid, ignorant, selfish prick!

Sep 24, 2010 Look at the big picture
by: Kirk

I have my second cat, a young cat. Only months old. You all state your argument but you forget the obvious. Safety. We had a chidrens party the other day and a three year old just narrowly missed her eye being scratched. That scared me to death. Never mind my furniture has been destroyed as well. The simple truth is this. Cats need us to survive and be happy. They don't get very far on their own, on the street. We save them. To keep them we NEED them declawed for safety. Anyone who thinks otherwise has taken their love for animals too far. Look at the big picture before you speak your mind. Idiots.

Aug 07, 2010 Get help
by: Edward

Man you need urgent psychiatric help if you think there is no reason to hate cat abusers.

Aug 07, 2010 To anonymous fool
by: Rose

I've got news for you.
Posting anonymous comments does not impress anyone.
Why Boohoo? should be ROFLOL.....we are having a laugh at your ridiculous claim that we are hippies because we care about cats.
But like Ruth,I'd far rather be a hippie than be a fool like you.

Aug 07, 2010 To anonymous
by: Kathryn

What a pathetic little person you must be Mr or Ms Anonymous,so filled with hatred because you know the opinions of the people here are RIGHT.

Well YOU sicken me with your hiding behind anonymous.We have every right to hate people who mutilate cats.
Are you one of those selfish lazy people yourself I wonder?

Why don't you grow up and learn that giving yourself thrills by anonymously spouting rubbish only proves you are either an ignorant fool or very immature.

Aug 07, 2010 To anonymous
by: Ruth

I'd far rather be a hippie than a CAT ABUSER or a TROLL
Anonymous,tell us which of those are you ???

Aug 07, 2010 To Anonymous
by: Barbara

There is nothing as sickening as someone who comes on here abusing people who care about cats and their welfare and calls themselves anonymous, you great big snivelling coward you can't even put your name to your opinion, so what credence should we pay you?
Speaking for myself I DO hate people who think declawing cats is OK, the same as I hate people who inflict any other form of cruelty on any animal (and that inludes human animals)
if that makes me a "f n hippie" then I am honoured to be one!
So, go away and waste your time trying to cause trouble elsewhere, or better still give some thought to trying to help someone or some animals yourself, it would make you a kinder and more tolerant person.

Barbara avatar

Aug 07, 2010 Anonymous
by: Maggie Sharp

Anonymous, WE sicken YOU? Is that so? How do you think we feel? People like you sicken US so much that you make us dispise the existence of man kind! Of course we hate those who declaw, they're mindless scum who care about themselves and their furniture more than their cat, their cat of which breathes, feels pain and emotion just like we humans do. People know what pain feels like, and yet they don't hesitate to put their cat through such horrendous torture, that it leaves the cat disabled, with no hope in hell of healing!

So, Anonymous, who is in the position to say who is more sickening? I think we are, as we are the ones putting a stop to the torture, whilst you are supporting it. You are disgusting, and should be incredibly ashamed of yourself, do your research on the cold hard facts of declawing. There are hundreds of them in black and white just on this website, then come back and share what you think about declawing and us, those 'f n hippies' who seem to sicken you so much.

Aug 06, 2010 f n hippies
by: Anonymous

Boo Hoo! You people sicken me with your insistence that your opinion gives you the right to say things like "I hate people who think declawing is ok"

Feb 11, 2010 Agree
by: Babz

It seems a good idea to be as discrete as we can, I'm sticking to the original plan and will email my data to Dr J weekly.

Barbara avatar

Feb 11, 2010 Yep!
by: Maggie Sharp

I agree, we all have each others' email addresses, so perhaps we should stick to emailing?

Feb 10, 2010 Not too loud!
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

Even though the information is publicly available, let's keep our findings off this list for now. I don't want to get too paranoid, but I also don't want to make things too easy for the "opposition."

Feb 10, 2010 Add to spreadsheet
by: Michael

Hi Guys, if people would like to add their data to the online spreadsheet that I prepared that's fine.

Just email me a spreadsheet attachment or the data and I'll do it.


subsitute [at] for @

Michael Avatar

Feb 10, 2010 Thank you Dr Hofve
by: Ruth

Thank you for explaining and for sorting us out lol
It feels really good to be doing something so constructive along with someone actually there and who knows what they are talking about.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 09, 2010 Volunteer slots all taken
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

Okay, I'll pick up Edmonton...perhaps it's only fitting, since I am one of the few people on the planet who has actually been there! 😉 (It's a beautiful city!)

So we're all covered! Many, many thanks to our volunteers!!!!

Feb 09, 2010 What are we proving?
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

I have a few thoughts about what this data will show. I don't want to put all my ideas out in this public venue, but here's one.

The number of declawed cats is estimated at around 25% of the total cats in the U.S. All things being equal, that same proportion of cats ought to show up in the shelter population. But just from the few numbers we have right now, clearly it doesn't.

We know from studies that twice as many declawed cats as clawed cats are relinquished to shelters, but less than 10% of cats put up for adoption are declawed. This implies that a large percentage of relinquished cats don't make it to the adoption process, meaning they were euthanized. So our data already supports statements from shelters that they euthanize about 80% of declawed cats that come in.

To make this point more graphically, I just put up a new page on my website:

Feb 09, 2010 I've made a start too
by: Babz

Thanks to it all being sorted out this morning I've been able to get mine done fairly easily. Poor, poor cats, each one of those statistics is a cat who has suffered the cruelty of declawing.

Barbara avatar

Feb 09, 2010 Thank you Michael
by: Ruth

For rescuing this ancient mariner,I've got my first days statistics done now and it was much easier than I imagined.
I think I can also fit in starting emailing my share of the Australian Rescue Centres for signatures,now I've got new heart thanks to Dr Hofve and everyone else on here who cares as much as I do about USA and Canadian cats.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 09, 2010 I'm impressed !!!!
by: Ruth

Michael,that's brilliant !
You've lost me, I feel like an ancient mariner,haven't even got started yet and BP sky high with stress as fund raising event on Thursday preparations swallowing us up ......I thought we'd have had the same starting date for us all for this project.
With low percentages is it because as Susan said, some shelters don't even put declawed cats up for adoption ???? Do the ones that don't kill them keep them for their lifetime as unrehomeable do you think ? Therefore they wouldn't show up on for adoption lists would they ?

Feb 09, 2010 Pure Speculation
by: Michael

The objective of the survey that I proposed was to argue definitively against the vets argument that declawing saves cat's lives. To stop vets using that well worn and incorrect argument.

What if rescue centers euthanise more declaw cats than intact cats. I have no idea if this is true but if it was true the vets would love to hide that.

If it is true it would result in low Petfinder numbers for declawed cats (cats for adoption) and would hide the extent that declawing has in terms of it resulting in their deaths.

Sorry if this is wrong or seems unhelpful but I feel it needs to be raised.

Michael Avatar

Feb 09, 2010 Spreadsheet
by: Michael

Here is what I produced this morning in bed! It took about 20 mins:

Petfinder Anti-Declaw Survey - Miami, Winnipeg and Halifax

Question - Playing devils advocate please note:

What does this prove/establish to support our mission? It seems to me that the percentage of declawed cats for adoption is low.

Michael Avatar

Feb 09, 2010 My turn!
by: Michael

I'll take these:

Winnipeg, SK
Halifax, NS
Miami, FL

What I intend to do is create a Google Docs Spreadsheet that can be embedded and/or made into a webpage.

When I have some data I'll show it on this page. It might be a good idea to collate all the data that we collect on a webpage spreadheet so anyone can refer to it.

Also Google Docs allows people to collaborate in the preparation of a document or spreadsheet. This allows collaborators to update and amend the spreadsheet to keep it current and live.

It also encourages a community spirit. I'll post a comment when I have it prepared.

Michael Avatar

Feb 09, 2010 Our share
by: Ruth and Babz

Babz will take:
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA

I will take:
Anchorage, AK
Austin, TX
Toronto, ON

Leaving to do:
Edmonton, AB
Winnipeg, SK
Halifax, NS
Miami, FL

Due to the time difference and the fact that we are on our computers most days from 6am to 7pm(UK time) and Babz goes out to work too,we aren't here at the same time as USA people as it's our evening then so we'll just be starting our share this afternoon.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 08, 2010 Cities
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

All yours, Maggie & Michele!

Still available:
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Anchorage, AK
Austin, TX
Toronto, ON
Edmonton, AB
Winnipeg, SK
Halifax, NS
Miami, FL

Feb 08, 2010 I'll start too
by: Maggie Sharp

Are these cities taken yet? If not, I'll cover:
New Orleans, LA
St. Louis, MO
Cincinnati, OH

If someone else has taken these cities already, let me know... =)

Feb 08, 2010 I've started keeping Petfinder records
by: Anonymous

Just to let you know that I've started doing my Petfinder spreadsheet, and am covering the following areas;

New York, NY
Spokane, WA
Phoenix, AZ

I assume that we continue to do this daily until further notice?

Michele (UK)

Feb 08, 2010 Important detail
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

To get the correct sidebar listing the number of declawed cats, you have to use Petfinder's 'advanced search' function.


Feb 08, 2010 Marching Orders
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

All righty, here's the game plan. I've picked out several city centers that, among them, cover most of the U.S. and Canada.

For recording, if possible, please create either an Excel file, or a Word file with a table five columns wide. Columns will be: Location, date, total cats, declawed cats, and percentage. (See below if you need help with this.)

Petfinders makes it very easy to search. Just select "Cats," type in the city, select distance as 100 or 500 miles, and click "start over." At the top of the results page it will give you the number of matching pets, such as "1 - 25 of 5,857 matching pets." Record the number of matching pets. Then along the left border, scroll down to "Other Considerations" and it will say "Declawed" with a number in parentheses. Record that number.

Repeat the search for 100 miles and 500 miles distance, for each of your cities. There will be some overlap at 500 miles, which is why we need both.

If your math skills are at least as good as mine (which are terrible), calculate the percentage of declawed cats to all cats (just divide # declawed by # total). For the cities I've spot-checked, this is typically 3-5%.

Once you have your form set up, this entire process takes (literally) less than 10 minutes, so please check every day if you can. Missing a day here and there won't matter, but please give it your best. This is going to be a goldmine of data any way you look at it.

I'll take Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The other cities we need to cover are:

New York, NY
Spokane, WA
Phoenix, AZ
New Orleans, LA
St. Louis, MO
Cincinnati, OH
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Anchorage, AK
Austin, TX
Toronto, ON
Edmonton, AB
Winnipeg, SK
Halifax, NS

There aren't that many of us, so please pick 3 or 4 cities and we'll divvy them up. READY, SET ... GO!

If anyone wants to do a little extra-curricular homework, please look shelters in your chosen areas, to see if we can find a few that list declaw status for their cats. You may have to look at individual cats to get the info. Better still would be a shelter that lists lost-and-found cats and declaw status. Searches of individual shelters can also be done "backwards" through Petfinders (starting at the shelter's site), but it is a little more time-consuming to access the data. For my local shelters, the percentage of declawed cats tends to be higher--in the range of 10%. So this is important data if we can get it.

Every week or so, please email me with your data at jean -AT- yahoo -DOT- com. If you need a ready-made form, let me know and I'll send you one.

You guys rock! Hey, we ALL rock! 🙂

Feb 08, 2010 Count me in
by: Michael

Hi guys. First I agree about the dispassionate approach. We need to cut out the argument and actually pin the problem down. It seems slippery and there are brick walls.

But I will certainly do whatever is asked of me and to a high standard.

If a survey can be conducted as Jean Hofve, DVM says and I have no reason to believe it cannot, lets try it, make is as tight as possible as see where it takes us.

For the time being I will await instructions!

Michael Avatar

Feb 08, 2010 Our Laura
by: Ruth

I'm so glad one of our USA troops has volunteered, great to have you with us Laura

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 08, 2010 I volunteer!
by: Laura

I'll be happy to help with counting up the declawed cats on petfinder.

Feb 08, 2010 Me being nice
by: Ruth

You are right of course Dr Hofve, we don't want to be seen as 'crazy animal rights morons' (which I've actually been called in our own country for protesting about foie gras !)
It's very hard to be nice when I can't understand the mentality of vets who think it's acceptable to mutilate cats,surely they have to have a certain level of human decency to get into a vet college in the beginning ?
You trained as a vet yet you have kept your comapassion and stuck to your oath to harm no animal, so why can't they ?
I've only ever worked with and known UK vets and yes there are bad apples and money grabbers here too,but even they would never stoop so low as to deprive a cat of its very neccessary claws.
I'm willing to curb my anger and feeling of helplessness(at least in public lol) and put my all into this project !
Susan I agree with Babz that facebook is a bit of a dangerous place to recruit. I hardly go on there as I don't have time and am usually pestered with people wanting me to join in time wasting cyber games.But I am in all the anti declaw groups on there and have seen pro declaw groups ! If we got a 'spy' in our camp it would be fatal.
We will try to find some more recruits but if we can't then we will just have to do it ourselves!!If this was happening in our country they'd be queueing up !
I will do ANYTHING to stop the suffering of so many cats.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 08, 2010 It's hard to be polite
by: Babz

Good point, I can understand that if we go at them like raging loonies that is how they will regard us, but it's so hard to be polite to someone who you regard as an abuser of cats isn't it? At least doing this work on our computers we will be able to curse, swear, stick pins in effigies and rage at them in the privacy of our own homes (we could post photos)
The only thing that concerns me about asking on facebook for help is that some may volunteer and then not see it through, unless they are people already known to any of us I'd be scared to trust them because this seems so important. Am I wrong to feel this way? Is it better to be busier ourselves and know the job is being done as required or to trust that other people will keep their word and do the job to the best of their abilities?

Barbara avatar

Feb 07, 2010 Another little reality check
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

Hi all,

I'm thrilled that you guys are up for a little grunt work! 🙂 I'll get things figured out in the next day or two (it's snowing, so I won't get out much!).

In fairness, though I know it is easy to get angry and want to blame vets, pet owners, etc., in the vast majority of cases declaws are done through ignorance. Certainly there is some *deliberate* ignorance on the part of vets, and because they are unaware of or fail to follow the AVMA guidelines regarding informed consent (I believe mostly they are unaware), clients are not told the truth about the surgery. However, it is not a conspiracy. Vets are very protective of their turf, and any threat of regulation or infringement on practice (or income) will cause a reaction similar to poking a cobra with a stick. Normal people who go through vet school are thoroughly indoctrinated by the time they graduate, and because they're so busy, they don't keep up on the literature, and when they go to continuing education they pick the seminars that are most likely to be "profitable" when they bring that info back home. Vets are trained in surgery, but not behavior--so it's only natural that they fall back on a surgery they've been told over and over is harmless and even benevolent, takes 10 minutes and "solves" the problem permanently. What's not to like about that? Americans are always looking for the "quick fix," it's a national character flaw.

It is important for us, especially, to take the "high road" and be as rational and unemotional as possible, at least in public. A big reason why the anti-declawing movement has not been so successful is because it's easy for the vets to characterize (and therefore dismiss) us as "crazy animal rights whack jobs" based on a few, shall we say "extremely passionate" comments made in public.

No matter how upset I get about this issue (and believe me, I am well and truly enraged!), my job is to present the science as dispassionately as I can. We were so successful in California largely because our side kept its cool. When the facts were laid before the legislators, they were almost universally on our side (well except a few who were bought and paid for by the opposition!). Getting a unanimous vote in a city like Los Angeles, well that's quite a feat.

The best antidote to our feelings of rage and helplessness is to take action. So we're going to do just that!!!

Feb 07, 2010 I hate people that declaw
by: Susan

If we need more people for this assignment, I think we need to broadcast it on Facebook where there are 1000's of members in the anti-declaw groups that will want to help, but that is Dr. Jean's call.
There are many people here fighting the fight, but it is a fight that is very difficult & one that can quickly lead to burn-out because of all the brick walls that need tearing down.
As soon as my work shifts change, I will get involved myself. I have already emailed the list of abandoned, relinquished, & injured declawed cats that I compiled from my rescue work that many of you have seen to different shelters in my area to show (or scream!) that DECLAWING DOES NOT KEEP CATS IN HOMES (dammit!!!), but it continues to fall on deaf ears, they simply are not ready for the truth about declawing - their immediate mission is to keep cats from getting killed in the shelters and they see declawing as a tool to do that (regardless if it kills them in the long run, they are only concerned with the here & now). But I believe it is absolutely necessary to compile the data and continue to shove it in their faces, I really do believe that there will eventually embrace it, see the light, obviously it cannot come soon enough as we all know there are millions of crippled cats suffering as we speak. But the tide IS turning, we are making progress. I thank of all our UK friends for helping to keep this movement progressing & spreading awareness across the internet!

Feb 07, 2010 It goes from bad to worse
by: Ruth

Susan, it's like some huge conspiracy to hide the truth about declawed cats.It's as if cats are disposable possessions, one doesn't suit so get rid of it and get another.It's easy enough after all. I can hardly believe anyone who calls themselves a cat lover can have that cat crippled then blame the cat for the problems THEY and a corrupt vet have caused it and take the cat to a kill shelter and without a qualm, leave it there to be killed.The cat's life over and not even counted because the poor creature had the misfortune to be 'given' a home by an idiot who shoudn't have been allowed anywhere near any cat.One man justified having his cat declawed by saying the cat was lucky he'd let 'it' share his home.When I said surely it was the cat's home too, he disagreed,he said 'the thing' had nothing of 'its' own and 'it' was lucky he allowed 'it' to share HIS home. As if cats have no rights !!!!!
Why was no notice take of those remarks by Bill Lombardi, I wonder ?
I can't believe millions of people in the USA are letting this go on !!!!
Where are all the compassionate people like Dr Hofve and Susan ????
Do all the people who bury their heads in the sand REALLY love cats ?????

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 07, 2010 Message from Rose
by: Edward

I dont know if you all know Rose is my sister man and a great fighter for animal rights.She has on occasion even been arrested for standing up for their rights but not since she had her twins as she is conscious of her responsibilities to them as well now.
She doesnt have her own computer right now and is devasted she cant help Dr Hofve.
We both feel we are letting the troops down but glad to see the ones who mean business are voluntereing.
We cant believe the people whose country its happening in werent first in the queue.
The best of luck with the study man.

Feb 07, 2010 Kill or No-Kill Shelters
by: Susan

Ruth - If the cats are killed at intake or not depends if the shelter is "no-kill" or not. If its a No-Kill shelter, they act as a sanctuary more or less and will keep all animals until they are adopted. But the "kill" shelters (like our county humane shelters) will kill any animal that doesn't pass the initial medical & behavioral test. I've actually even read on the Best Friends site that there are some shelters who automatically kill declawed cats since the likelihood of behavioral issues is so great - so you can see how wide the spectrum is here in America - we have shelters that declaw prior to adoption to make the cats "more adoptable", and then others that kill them because of the behavioral problems that develop - a very wide & infuriating range.

Have you read these comments from Bill Lombardi, a shelter director in the state of New Jersey?

***Published 2/1/03 on, "Eighty percent...that are surrendered that are declawed are euthanized because they have a behavioral problem…. Declawed cats frequently become biters and also stop using litter boxes… One or the other…,” said William Lombardi shelter director, Gloucester County, New Jersey.

***“Gloucester County Animal Shelter, says Lombardi, who’s been the director for three years and an animal control officer for 25, Cats with claws, he says, are always surrendered for human-related issues, mainly “moving and can’t take the cat with us.” Declawed cats, on the other hand, have behavior problems, and most who come in end up having to be euthanized. Even when Lombardi works with declawed cats and tries to place them in new homes, they often come back to the shelter for not using the litter box”....”Almost all of our hotline calls are declawed cats with litter box issues,” says Pat Rock of the Oshkosh Area Humane Society in Wisconsin.” "The Declaw Dilemma", Nancy Lawson

Feb 07, 2010 Shocking !
by: Ruth

Susan that is terrible that some declawed cats are killed on admission to Shelters ! Another way of hiding the truth of how many declawed cats develop problems !
I've heard many times how the AVMA don't count declawed cats as cats, that they are less than nothing and aren't even counted in laboratory experiments.In my opinion if they view declawed cats as nothing then surely the declawing of cats which turns them into nothing worth counting, is a crime against cats ????
Yes I remember someone on Michael's pages mentioning a Shelter,if we can't find her I hope she sees this !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 07, 2010 Can hopefully help later
by: Susan

Thanks Dr. Jean!!! Unfortunately I too have work commitments that will prevent me from taking on this assignment (instead of working 2 part-time jobs I am working a full-time and part-time right now) but I desperately want my city as one that is being examined. I also have my own petfinder page for the cat rescue network I run, so perhaps there is a way to run a report behind the scenes that I can look into.
Wasn't there a poster once on this site that worked in a shelter? I remember reading about the different declawed cats she saw in the cages. If we could get someone on the ground like that (a true anti-declaw advocate) to count the declawed cats at intake, and how many make it to the adoption cages, I think that info is very valuable as well. I have always heard that only 20-50% of declawed cats make it past intake, the others killed due to aggression or owner stated behavior problems. Does anyone remember that person, and/or how we could get in touch with her?

Feb 07, 2010 I wish I could help
by: Edward

My job is taking me all over the country at the moment man and I don't have regular access to a computer.Some weekends I'm home but not always.
I dont feel I should promise to help then let the team down.
Sorry but its best I say I hope.

Feb 07, 2010 Dr. Hofve, count me in as a volunteer
by: Anonymous

I'm in the UK, but more than happy to volunteer to help out with Dr. Hofve's suggestion to count the declawed cats on Petfinder.

I'm ready and waiting for your instructions.


Feb 07, 2010 I'll help!
by: Maggie Sharp

Dr Hofve, I'll volunteer if that's okay. I'm in Australia, and declawing is banned here, but I'd like to help get it banned in the USA and Canada too. If it's possible for me to help, count me in!!

Feb 07, 2010 I'll help!
by: Maggie Sharp

Dr Hofve, I'll volunteer if that's okay. I'm in Australia, and declawing is banned here, but I'd like to help get it banned in the USA and Canada too. If it's possible for me to help, count me in!

Feb 07, 2010 YES please!
by: babz

I want to volunteer for this and I want to thank Dr Hovfe for making it possible for those of us in the UK who are frustrated at the lack of opportunity to do something practical to help end this disgusting "tradition". Please put me on the list as 100% committed.

Barbara avatar

Feb 07, 2010 My thoughts
by: Ruth

I think you are an Earth Angel Dr Hofve ! That is a wonderful idea and I will gladly help with this.
If you can come up with a list, that would be good as it's such a struggle from another country,we are mostly in the dark as to what is best to do or where to do it or how.
I'll make sure all our troops read your message and post on here if they are willing to help so that you know exactly how many there are of us.
THANK YOU so much for taking us seriously and giving your time to organise this.
You have reminded me that not all USA vets are uncaring about cats !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 06, 2010 So we'll do it ourselves
by: Jean Hofve, DVM

Hi all! The other day I drove out to a large local shelter and looked at the cats. Declaw status is on the cage cards. There were 37 cats up for adoption; 3 were front-declawed, and 1 was 4-paw declawed. That's more than 10%.

However, it isn't terribly practical to drive all over. There are often multiple shelters in big cities; I can think of 6 or 7 around Denver and there are probably more. So I've been thinking about what we can do, *without* the help or cooperation of AVMA, shelters, etc. And especially, what can our wonderful friends outside the U.S. do, since physically counting cats is not possible.

Then I thought of Shelters all over the U.S. list their adoptable animals with them. And if you do an advanced search, you can pick out only the declawed cats.

So here's an idea: those who want to help should pick an area in the U.S. to search on. (I'll figure out a list of the ones likely to garner the best data, based on how many volunteers we have). And once a week or so (we can decide) we might want to count up the declawed cats compared to all cats available in that area.

This isn't a trivial task, though the way Petfinders search is constructed, it can be streamlined. If we can get a group of volunteers that will reliably check their sites, I think we can get some good data.

And it doesn't need to be restricted to Petfinders. We could pick a few big shelters that do list declaw status, and collect data that way.

What do you all think?

Feb 06, 2010 My thoughts
by: Ruth

I can understand how you feel Michael as I feel the same ! We get many stories of declawed cats in Rescue Shelters because of behavioural problems, so surely it would be in the best interest of the Shelters if declawing was banned. I've even heard of declawed cats being adopted then returned to the Shelter when the problems become obvious.Are records kept of these cats which are then destroyed as unrehomable ? I doubt it ! Do Shelters even warn potential adopters of the problems many declawed cats have ? Do people adopting a declawed cat not ask why the cat was in the Shelter in the first place ?
Surely more healthy unwanted clawed cats could be adopted out permanently but finding homes for declawed cats is stopping that. The excuse that the Shelters would be innundated with cats because people weren't allowed to have them declawed doesn't wash, because most people have kittens declawed, not older cats. So these people go out and get a kitten knowing full well they can have it declawed. If they couldn't have a kitten declawed, surely they wouldn't get a kitten ?
Only people who know cats need claws are worthy to have cats in their homes !Those who don't accept that cats have claws are bad people to have cats anyway !
Rescue Shelters in the USA will always be full of unwanted cats, they are here in the UK and in other countries too because some people think cats are disposable possessions and until there's a worldwide law that people have to pass a competence test to 'own' an animal the Shelters will continue being full.
I think the whole USA argument about if declawing didn't happen Shelters would be even fuller is a load of rubbish spread around by the AVMA and the greedy vets who declaw cats.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 06, 2010 Gone Quiet
by: Michael

Just for the record; the reason why I have gone quiet on this thread of comments is because I have learned from our American friends that the cat shelters (the vast majority at least it seems) would not be willing to cooperate in a study as I suggested.

This has shocked me and upset me. I am not completely clear as to why cat shelters whose mission is to help cats will not help cats through such a study. The positive impact on cats through the publication of such a study might be profound.

Yet the cat shelters would seem to prefer to plod along in the same old reactive way picking up the pieces rather than preventing relinquishment and euthanasia with proactive measures. This is disheartening.

It has hard enough to fight the vets but cat shelters too!

That is my view.

Michael Avatar

Feb 05, 2010 declawed by default
by: Barbara

Well that's one kitten that is surely going to be declawed before the pimp tries to find it another home, and all maybe because it scratched someone by accident when being picked up. Poor, poor cats and kitens, so muct at our mercy. It isn't fair that humans have the power of life or death, fully clawed or disabled, punishment or not over any animals. This world makes me so sad.

Barbara avatar

Feb 05, 2010 Poor kitten
by: Ruth

Hi Kathy, so that kitten will end up declawed by that 'butcher' for sure. He had no thought of trying to find out why she was so aggressive, no it will be so much simpler to chop her toe ends off.What about when she starts biting, I suppose he will extract her teeth !!
It makes me wonder what had been done to her before she came to you, as cats never forget !!
Another beautiful cat with spirit, will be disabled for life.
Most vets who declaw don't want to educate people, in fact they don't even tell them declawing is actually de-toeing so I can't see them agreeing to have educational pamphlets.
Education of as many people as possible is the only way forweard until we can get declawing banned.
See the remarks on our petition :
People all over the world are shocked and horrified that declawing is happening in the USA and Canada so why doesn't every person in those countries feel the same way ?
Some say when they had their cats mutilated they didn't know it was more than removing the claws, but even it it was,isn't that bad enough ??
Why are so many people so lethargic about this pre meditated abuse of cats ?
If everyone would spread the word and boycott pro declaw vets maybe declawing would soon be a thing of the past.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 04, 2010 education on this
by: kathy

If only the vet offices would have pamphlets available as to alternatives to declawing would help. I agree with Ruth that the answer to this is to educate the public on this subject. If they would have booths at pet expos on this subject would help like she said. Probaly the vets wouldnt offer alternatives, they would loose the almighty dollar. Im sorry to say I had to return my Savannah Kitten back to the breeder. Last Saturday upon picking her up she ripped the palm of my hand open and his suggestion was to have her declawed. She was a aggresive kitten. I tolerated it as much as I could. Mostly without any punishment or any reprimand because He kept trying to convince me that it was a characteristic of the Savannah Breed. I told him about the page on Pictures of Cats that has only praise for the gentleness of this Breed. Declawing definitly was not in my book. He exchanged her for another kitten who is loving and has not not shown any aggresion whatsoever. I believe EDUCATION of the public is the answer to declawing.

Feb 02, 2010 Working together
by: Ruth

I'm so pleased that you have joined the discussion Dr Hofve as you have clarified a lot of things for those of us feeling frustrated and sometimes also useless in the battle against declawing !
You have also given us some heart to continue our on-line education informing as many people as possible as to the truth about declawing.
Our UK troops are people with busy everyday lives,most working for a living and most doing voluntary work too,so we are limited to what we can do to help and until now we have had no real leadership or strategy.
Personally I would be glad to leave the studies and the organising of surveys etc to those who know how to do these things and will gladly back you up Michael if you take it on.I know most of our UK troops feel the same way.
Our USA troops have no real leadership either and I'd think would be glad to have some real direction.
This just started out as a simple longing to let people know how cruel declawing is and to gather signatures and remarks to eventually hopefully present to the AVMA to show the strength of feeling.I had no idea of all the complications of them being a trade organisation with no real power over Veterinarians.
It's all got above my head now ! I had a life before I found out declawing still happens and I can understand now how so many people have 'burned out' fighting this abuse.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 02, 2010 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks very much for all who have made comments particularly, if I may say so, Jean Hofve DVM. Your comment was very helpful to me to understand some basics and it was kind of you to visit.

Personally, I feel a huge need for the setting of an overall strategy and thereafter the coordination and management of the various passionate people and oragnisations who will carry it out.

I see great work but fragmented work. For example I hear that the Paw Project have a current strategy but I have no idea what it is. That is not a criticism but there are people out here who can help and these people should be in the loop, I feel. Perhaps the first thing to do is ask some questions about overall strategy and management.

I think a shelter survey as I suggest should be part of the overall strategy and I am concerned to hear that the vets have got their tentacles into the shelters too. Naively I had thought that cat shelters and rescue centers had the sole objective of helping cats unqualified by anything other than funding.

Any study results have to be beyond reproach and bullet proof so the methods have to be bullet proof too as Jean Hofve, DVM has stated.

And thank you so much Jean for your valued offer to help in a survey - fantastic. I just think we need first to knit this kind of survey into a wider strategy. In other words go backwards slightly before going forwards.

I have mentioned city legislators etc. I am surprised that the city councilors are not concerned about collecting data from rescue centers (perhaps they are?). It would help in creating legislation on cat ownership and feral cat controls. I am probably (almost certainly) barking up the wrong tree but could city and/or regional legislators create regulations that require cat rescue organisations to keep adequate data on the causes of relinquishment, the type of cat relinquished and the outcome for these cats? In other words take the choice from shelters and thereby take out of the equation the feeling that a survey might upset vets.

As I live in London, England if I was organising a survey I would have to go over to the USA and ask questions and meet people. But do people want that? I am keen to fit in and help but not to further fragment the declaw group set up.

I feel that I am able to do it. I am prepared to do it. I can't think of a more worthy task.

Michael Avatar

Feb 01, 2010 US Vet perspective
by: Jean Hofve, DVM (USA)

As a U.S. vet and long-time member of AVMA, I can assure you that the AVMA will not be the least bit interested in working with any of us. There’s no common ground; their goals and ours are diametrically opposed.

However, it’s no great loss, because AVMA has no enforcement power over their members, the vast majority of whom already blithely ignore the AVMA’s stated declaw policy. AVMA *is* a trade organization and little more.

Existing studies can be used to support either side, depending on how you read and interpret them. To do a study that could be even be considered for publication in a relevant journal would need to be done by veterinarians, board-certified behaviorists, or other credentialled professionals. Anything less would be ignored.

Paw Project is the most capable and best suited to coordinate anti-declaw activity. However, the massive (but effective!) efforts in California have depleted them of both funds and energy. To help relieve some of their burden, I started a Facebook cause (“Paw Savers”) to serve as a clearinghouse.

Public education is certainly necessary, and the internet is a great venue for that. I love that there is network of folks who work every day to expose the reality of declawing. It is a huge task, but we *must* keep chipping away at it. Ultimately, societal pressure will force the vets to change.

As far as tables, leaflets etc., local ordinances would apply. Malls, stores and other private property usually prohibit solicitation of any kind. Booths at pet-related events cost money and require volunteers to man them. We’d need a coordinated strategy.

A shelter survey is one path accessible to non-vets. Vets rely heavily on the “saving cats’ homes” excuse for maintaining the practice of declawing. Most shelters already have an intake form, and in larger shelters it is already computerized. Unfortunately, even though it could easily be done, most shelters do not track declaw status of cats—*nor do they want to*, because they (literally) can't afford to alienate the vets. Getting cooperation from shelters—even those who are philosphically against declawing—will be difficult.

However, some data could be acquired another way. U.S. volunteers could visit local shelters regularly and physically count cats—both clawed and declawed, so that proportions can be ascertained. Most of the shelters I’ve visited do include declawing info on cage cards. Of course, this would miss all the cats who were relinquished and not put up for adoption. Personally, I am willing to collect the data and write it up and try to get it meaningfully published.

Nick Dodman may have other ideas in terms of studies or surveys, being in the academic world, although he is a slippery fish and doesn't like to be pinned down. He is reliably anti-declawing, so we may be able to get at least a little bit of support. However, he is also extremely busy, and (in my experience) not likely to be all that much help.

Feb 01, 2010 Let's get declawing banned any way we can
by: Anonymous

It's great that people are suggesting ways we can take the anti-declawing campaign to the next level. Michael's offer of funding is a very generous one, so we need to be sure to utilise it well.

I do agree that all those against declawing should unite as one body as this will be more effective than lots of separate groups.

I like Jane's suggestion that we should try to get Nick Dodman involved in some way. He's highly respected, and hasn't been afraid to voice his opposition to declawing. Should we also consider contacting the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association to join our efforts? Last year they launched an education campaign regarding mutilations performed on pets. Their web site has details of the outreach programme and there are free educational leaflets and flyers about declawing for anyone who'd like to receive them.

However, we do it, let's make 2010 the year when we really knock the AVMA for six with our continued efforts to get declawing banned. It might be a David and Goliath battle, but we are not going to be brushed aside as a mere nuisance.

Michele (UK)

Feb 01, 2010 Agree but questions
by: Michael

Hi Susan, I am pleased you like the idea in principle. A good start. I very much believe that we need to all pull together and the Paw Project is the key player as I understand it in the USA. I am very keen to work with and indeed under the Paw Project if that is possible.

I believe that we need to harness all the existing resources as best as possible to expedite the process. Only I am not sure what or where the resources are.

I think the important thing is this: Keep the study strictly manageable, clear, focused and sound. This has to be a series of battles that wins the war. It must be prepared well enough so that the results cannot be questioned. And the AVMA or local government must be approached first in plain language and publicly. I am desperate to get a joint instruction but fear that it may not be obtained.

The selected rescue centers who participate must be beyond reproach.

The purpose is to pin down the vets so they can wriggle no more.

Education of cat owners is a much wider and separate objective and will take time (decades, I think). But it should be running now I would have thought.

Note: Until now I have thought it OK to discuss this in public on this site but there may come a time, I believe when it is better to do all discussions in private.

I have some questions, I hope you don't mind:

Please confirm that the Paw Project is the lead player against declawing and if not who is?

Why are some shelters keen for declawing to remain while others aren't? I am not clear on that.

Can we name some key rescue centers that would participate in a study? Ideally in one state.

Is is possible to bypass rescue center staff and put in place an independent person at the rescue center who could supervise the completion of a questionnaire? I am not sure if we can do this on computers (i.e. input data straight into computers).

How many website/organisations are there that are involved in the fight against declawing? Is there a list? If so where is it?


I think we could approach the AVMA as soon as possible and local government as they may be able to progress the matter (unlikely though). But I think we need to know where we stand. I am happy to contact people but it might be better if someone from the USA does this. Some Americans when they hear a Brit voice just think we are "foreign". I think the first contact should be a meeting and/or telephone.

I am coming over to the USA in March or thereabouts (to see Kathrin an Martin Stucki at A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma) and could meet up with people to help organise this.

There is more to discuss..

Michael Avatar

Jan 31, 2010 Yes
by: Edward

Micheal you have my backing too man.
Susan thanks for answering that question as now we know its legal we need our thinking caps on how to get people interested in doing it.

Jan 31, 2010 Thank you Susan
by: Ruth

So as educational tables are allowed, what we need is to find people to do this in every city in every state. It would be the sort of thing young people could do, starting at their schools,just as Zach is doing.
But how to find these young people like him, willing to do it ?
Your ideas about a mission statement, a group with a name and Michael as president, are brilliant !
I think all of us would back you up on this Michael !!!

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 31, 2010 I agree!
by: Susan

Michael, I think your ideas are brilliant about data collection centers, this type of proof IS needed to squash once & for all that declawing is NOT saving lives.

What I believe is needed too is for us to officially form a group, with a name, mission statement, website (or link on this site since I nominate you as President) so they know we are a force and not just some individuals. We can get all the small anti-declaw groups to join that feel like they are out here alone spinning their wheels, eager to prove that declawing kills more cats than it saves.

When I have asked in the past for rescues & shelters to record declaw status, I've been turned down (
for a variety of resons, many that I have already mentioned). But being asked by an organized group may get a better response, the gov't even better. Of course, as I said before, there are many shelters that don't want declawing to go away, so my fear is that they will manipulate the data. They are more concerned about their adoption vs euthanasia numbers. Many other shelters though are eager for solid data like this & I believe would be more than willing to participate.

We could also start lobbying for all shelter software to be updated to include declaw status and specific reasons why relinquished (i.e. if it's "property damage" is that from urine or claws because, not knowing if the cats has claws or not, it's spun/assumed to be claw damage). Dogs, ferrets, & rabbits are declawed too so declaw status should be recorded for those species as well.

I'm interested to see the AVMA's response!

Ruth, it is allowed as far as I know to set up education tables, do peaceful protests, and circulate literature. It upsets me too that this isn't being done across the country, esp when rescue groups set up tables and have 3 tons of spay/neuter info, but nothing about declawing. I'm always suggesting that folks set up campaigns in their cities like we have done, but, again, there is resistance to do so, perhaps it's fear, fighting the vets is frustrating. Again, it's like fighting the tobacco companies. My hope is to take our small campaign from city to state-wide since we are in the Midwest Agribusiness and animals are seen as property & commodities - the ignorance and denial is layers deep, fueled by the vets, so a great deal of education is needed.

Jan 31, 2010 Great ideas
by: Edward

Im with you Micheal man, you have the know how to do this and youve said youll put your money where your mouth is. I cant see any problem stopping you going ahead with what you suggest.It needs a brain and it strikes me youve got one.
I wrote to the AVMA once to ask why declawing was going on but they ignored me but I probably didnt word it right.
It doesnt stop others like Everycat who has a brain and a different plan too. Or the Paw Project from whatever it is they are planning next.
The more the better I say.
Im also wanting to know if people can go on the streets in America to tell people stuff and if yes why are they not doing it ?

Jan 31, 2010 Study
by: Hi Susan

Thanks for your valued input. I love the Paw Project by the way. It deserves a lot of credit.

On the basis that the vets' greatest defense is that declawing saves cats' lives, would it be possible to ask some key rescue centers to start compiling information now on the number of declawed and intact cats that are euthanised and why? To start building up fresh current data.

Bearing in mind the large numbers of euthanised cats a significant study shouldn't take that long. I am very surprised that there is no such study in existence as it would seem to me (I am not an expert) to be a great way to help to resolve this - or am I missing something?. It would seem that a simple questionnaire for people to complete when they relinquish their cat would be a good start. It should be one that cross checks for veracity of answer and worded extremely carefully (professionally prepared).

In fact even the government could become involved and make it a requirement as feral cat populations and irresponsible relinquishment are a public matter. Why don't local authorities take this simple step?

Are the rescue centers obstructive? If we asked 3 key rescue centers to compile data and if they were paid for the extra work would they refuse? And if so why?

I would suggest that key rescue centers could become "data collection centers" as well. And they could issue reports to all concerned parties on an ongoing basis. I have a feeling that if key rescue centers issued ongoing reports of this type it would have a massive impact. The reports could become a part of the rescue process and become embedded into the fabric of rescue.

We could ask the AVMA publicly to agree a joint letter of instruction to an author to oversee this or in the alternative to the key rescue centers and if they refused that in itself would be a big argument against them. It would begin to break down their defense.

On the basis that the AVMA refused we could publish a letter of instruction and ask the AVMA to comment. And then proceed alone.

Yes, we know the truth but have to expose it. I feel that we need to take some sensible tangible steps and confront the vets.

Michael Avatar

Jan 31, 2010 Can someone from the USA please answer this
by: Ruth

I've asked this question countless times in various places on-line and I've noticed others asking it too but no one ever answers.
Is it allowed in the USA for ordinary people like us to set up a stall in places where lots of people go, such as shopping precincts etc ?
We do this here for various campaigns and get lots of pubilicty and lots of interest in our campaign.It's not asking for money or for help, it's educating people who don't know about whatever abuse which is going on.It's spreading the word as they then tell others.
Some posters stuck around the table,some information leaflets,one or two people to answer questions,that's all it takes to spread the word.
So is it allowed in America ? If it is why aren't young fit people passionate about getting declawing stopped doing this ?There must be someone in each state who cares about the never ending mutilation of cats, surely ?
If it was our country we would be doing this,making sure every town in ever county was covered eventually!
Yes the Paw Project do wonders,but they'd get much more support if only more people knew about them.
Yes reports are badly needed but they take time,how many more cats have to suffer in that time ?
Yes we in the UK are frustrated, as if we were over there we'd be making sure everyone knew the truth !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 30, 2010 Frustration=part 2
by: Susan

I understand why UK folks are so frustrated, and wonder why more Americans aren't screaming their guts about this - me too. I'm sad to say it's because so many here still consider declawing as a "necessary evil" to get a cat a home, so there is a great deal of resistance to tell the truth about it from the veterinary, rescue, and animal welfare/protection communities, hence why so many are uneducated. Since approx 70% of cats in U.S. shelters are euthanized due to overpopulation, the attitude is that "a crippled cat is better than a dead cat" so don't say no to that option. Although the research shows that 1 in every 3 cats declawed develops behavioral issues (which the AVMA doesn't consider statistically enough to matter) -- the torture/mutilation is sadly worth the risk to many -- if the cat has issues, "it's just a cat" and can easily be disposed of. Shelters rely on vets so many don't want to be instrumental in saying "the gig is up" with declawing. They stay quiet about it and cross their fingers that the cat they just handed over to an adopter who declaws won't be too severely maimed for life, or won't be relinquished back to the shelter with litterbox problems. That takes less time than an educating conversation & a signature promising the cat lives forever with their multi-functional claws, which we all know almost guarantees the cat will not be relinquished in the future with behavioral issues.

The grassroots efforts of the Paw Project have saved millions of American cat paws, and there are many, many millions more that need saving. Please support the Paw Project, they are truly the only group here taking a visible stand against declawing - they don't waiver with the "last resort" mentality that all the other animal welfare orgs do - they want to END declawing. We need to support them so they can continue their work. They are a very small non-profit that operates off public donations. Please tell people to make a donation so they can continue their billboard campaign and helping others to get legislation passed. They've helped to get declawing legally deemed "animal cruelty" in 8 CA cities, and also publicly documented in the ordinances that declawing creates cats that bite more & use their litterbox less causing them to be "a public health and safety risk" - - that is a HUGE victory! It's opened the doors now for others to follow. No one but the Paw Project has done anything like this for the cats in America, they aren't afraid to speak the TRUTH!

p.s. I cut alot out so I hope this still makes sense.

Jan 30, 2010 Frustration=part 1
by: Susan

Yes, it's frustrating, and I am really, really angry about it. Especially living with a cat who has permanent physical injuries from his knuckles being severed off, makes me want to throttle every declawing vet in America. But progress is happening, slowly the tide is turning. More people than ever before are listening.

I think the idea of a joint relinquishment study is interesting - to verify once and for all (what we already know) for the sake of those who need more evidence. But I really don't think that the AVMA will want or care to participate - they aren't seeking the truth about this. At least we can say we asked. And they refused. Dr. Hofve has done a brilliant job compiling and analyzing the declaw studies that they have spun in their behalf in her informative "Declawing and Science" article: .

The only shelter relinquishment survey I've found that claims they included declaw status is from 2000, however it does not break down the ratio of declawed vs clawed cats in the study, which is what needs to be done. It does state they found a whooping 43% of cats were relinquished due to litterbox problems (and we know why!):

Jan 30, 2010 A report is needed
by: Kathryn

I don't often post although a friend sends me links to everything that comes up about declawing. I don't feel qualified to say much because I'm still swotting up about it but can only take it in small doses as it's such a horrific cruel thing to do. My friend says it's pre meditated abuse and she's right.
I'm moved to post on this page because I can't believe Michael's offer to fund a report hasn't been immediately accepted.It is badly needed and there must surely be a person trusted by both sides to do it.The Paw Project ask for donations, this is the offer of a huge donation.He is even willing to mediate with the AVMA.
What is wrong with some people that they won't stand up and be counted ?
This is what it brings to mind for me:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

We have to speak out for cats because they can't speak for themselves.Something must be done before many more cats join the cats already suffering.

Jan 30, 2010 I'm frustrated too
by: Rose

I'm not in any way criticising the Paw Project as I have heard they do great work. But it's just struck me that their anonymous volunteer (how I hate anonymous posts) says they've been going 10 years. So may I ask some questions please ? Why do so many people still not know the truth about declawing ? Yes a few cities in California have banned this abuse but what about the rest of the American cats ? Why aren't anti declaw people out on every street in every state telling people the truth ? We would have been doing this long ago had it been in our country. A table, a few educational posters and leaflets costs little.Is this not allowed in America?
Because that anonymous person has posted, the Paw Project must know about Michael's generous offer,so why hasn't anyone at the very least thanked him even if they don't want to take up his offer ?
Offers of help are rarely come by, I'll be very disappointed and sad if this one is ignored.

Jan 30, 2010 So frustrated
by: Ruth

What is getting to me at present is why on earth anyone at all in the USA thinks declawing cats is acceptable.
Babz and I have been emailing lots of Rescue Centres in England, for the past few days,telling them a little bit about declawing and asking for them to sign and pass on our petition.
No one has refused ! Even though they don't know the full horror of the operation and the problems declawing can cause, the immediate reaction is yes we'll sign. What I'm trying to say is, the very thought of declawing a cat at all,even if it was simply removing the claws as the name of the operation implies, fills UK people with horror !The replies we've had are outraged that it's happening.
So do the USA pro declaws see cats differently to UK people ? You only have to look at the comments on the petition to know it sickens many people.
Can the petition help in a report ? Can the reaction of UK people help ?
I just feel frustrated that nothing seems to be happening.Yes the Paw Project have done wonders and saved lots of cats, but what about the rest of the USA cats suffering this mutilation now and in the future ? What about kittens doomed to a disabled life !
We MUST DO something !
I couldn't care less who does what as long as it's done and the last thing I want is any glory,because all that matters to me is the cats !!!!! We need to work together for THEM.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 30, 2010 Hi
by: Michael

Hi Everycat, thanks for your input.

Perhaps I wasn't clear. I don't mean to say that the science doesn't matter. What I think is vital is that the science and methods and instructions are agreed between AVMA and us beforehand and that the study binds us. That is the proposition and I have not heard that before

I also feel that the objectives of the report should be as focused as possible to limit misinterpretations and to focus on the known areas of dispute. The major one is referred to in the article that declawing saves lives (in terms of reducing euthanasia of cats after reliquishment)

The declawing of cats: a study on whether it reduces incidences of reliquishment and euthanasia

Perhaps the study could be simply on that single issue. It is after all the single most important argument that the vets make in support of declawing.

I am open to suggestion. I am just discussing things and I for one am not looking for glory 🙂

There is none in this.

Michael Avatar

Jan 29, 2010 Here we go again, Part 2
by: Everycat


....Teaming up with "experts" and the AVMA will do nothing but lead to more muddied, manipulated information which won't hold sway with anyone.

You cannot run one study that encompasses ALL of the factors that will show once and for all how disabling declawing is to not just the physical cat but its future as well. There will have to be several studies (scientific surveys) covering shelters, owners (including socio-economic factors, health issues, education), adopters, attitudes of shelter staff, relinquishers of cats - then we come to the world of vets - attitudes of undergraduate vets, how declawing is taught, employability factors for newly graduated vets, income expectations, hiring practices, practice ethos, client relationships, staff training, information giving et al.

Has everyone forgotten how the AVMA contort statistical theory? One of their self funded studies found that 30% of cats in the study showing some effect or other after declawing was not statistically significant - and YOU want to work with them? Oh do me a favour.

Independent work will carry more weight that work produced by a cabal.

Accounts of properly run scientific surveys published in respected scientific journals for peer review, without bias are the only way this will carry ANY weight at all. It isn't just the vets in the USA that need to be impressed or swayed. Vets communicate with other vets around the world - don't forget it was universities that first made real use of the web. Word gets around. Journals are read around the world. Even members of governments get to read them.

What I'm seeing here is some good people wanting to actually help cats and some people desperate to be seen to be working with the so called big players in this battle and garnering the kudos and the glory.

That's not going to get any cats saved and until the bias, the playground power play and this focus on who-gets-the-props ends, I'm outta here.

Jan 29, 2010 Here we go again. Part 1..
by: Everycat


First off, thank you Ed for your support, I really appreciate it.

The AVMA is a trade body. I wish people would quit thinking it exists to do anything other than protect the interests of its members.

Michael what do you mean by "report"? When I first suggested a study run over shelters in the USA to establish the behaviour of relinquished, declawed cats, your response was all about how essential it was that it was properly run and scientific. There was a lot else implied too, but we'll leave that for now. Now you appear to say that the science doesn't matter, it's alllllll about WHO agrees to work on this? WTF?

A report is nothing and will mean nothing if it is set up to establish something that is already agreed and considered reality. You cannot decide
the results that you want when you compile ANY study, you can only decide to establish if those things are truths by studying them in a wider context. They only become truths when the results are in and analysed and they show statistical significance.

Come up with something that is clearly not scientific, you will be laughed off the planet by every vet in existence. Science does not work like that. You set out to disprove what you are trying to prove. No respected scientific journal is going to publish anything (study or this "report") that sets out to do it the other way around. I can almost hear the editors laughing.

That's how it works..


Jan 29, 2010 Count me in however I can help!
by: Susan

I'd like to help however it is decided to proceed. I'm just so grateful for this website and network of advocates all fighting for animal protection. We all need webcams, or a "webinar", so we can virtually meet together!
This is such a difficult cruelty to fight since it's so culturally ingrained here as "routine veterinary cat care" - it's like telling the tobacco companies that nicotine is harmful!
The Paw Project has certainly done the most on American soil to educate the public and protect animals from this cruelty. They have brought this accepted cruelty into the limelight, gotten legislation passed, saving millions of cats from this needless torture - and animals everywhere thank them!
I look forward to working together with everyone on getting this atrocity eliminated - it will certainly take a village to do so! Thanks for your generous offer Michael! Mushu thanks you too!

Jan 29, 2010 My thoughts too
by: Ruth

We do need a meeting point for all USA and UK people who care, so that we know what is going on at all times and therefore can work together.
We most definately need a definitive report and the funding of it by Michael's web site would surely be a wonderful thing !
It would prove beyond doubt that declawing is of no benefit to cats at all, that it only benefits lazy people and greedy vets.
Edward is right, it's gone on too long and too many cats are suffering.
I haven't got the brain power to do such a project, it's above my head,but whoever leads the battle I'll gladly back them up.
Michael if you take on the task of contacting the AVMA it's fine by me because since my first correspondance with them I've had no more. Yet they must surely be aware of our troops and our petition.To them we are probably like litle gnats buzzing around them , they think they can swat us off .....
Young people need to be told about the Paw Project and the work they do because there is a terrible lot of ignorance about declawing.
Ed it's 92 cats saved now and since Michele posted a link to a map of every county in England and each counties rescue centres and we began emailing them county by county, our petition has really picked up again. 2320 signatures now and over half the country yet to email and ask. The comments are amazing too. If all these people know declawing is wrong, why don't those USA vets and the others who think it's acceptable know that too!
Something MUST be done !!!!

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 29, 2010 Sounds good to me
by: Barbara

I'll be the first to admit I'm a doer rather than a thinker so it's no good me volunteering for any of the heavy stuff, but I'm happy for Michael to take it on if he wishes to commit himself to it. It's going to be one hell of a job but well worth it if it achieves our JOINT AIM to get declawing banned!!

Barbara avatar

Jan 29, 2010 Edward
by: Michael

Well, I love what Edward says for the simple reason he has focused on the key issue, namely that this is about cats and we as humans have a duty to form a coherent team to beat the vets and educate people.

I am prepared to do anything to help cats. If someone wants to take the lead and use me and this website that is fine.

I seek no glory, kudos or praise. I just want to save the claws of cats.

I just have thoughts and present them on my site but if anyone wants to manage things that would be great.

Perhaps a meeting of some sort could be arranged to coordinate things.

I am pleased to see that Everycat has the means to do a report (fantastic) but we need to obtain joint instructions from us the anti-declawers and the vets associations. That means agreeing the wording of the instructions, agreeing the author of the report and agreeing to be bound by the report's findings. Those are the prerequisites and they are more important than simply doing another report. The whole reason for this is to finish the arguments for once and all.

There is little point in doing another report, without joint instructions, no matter how good and scientific because we know that the vets use tired groundless arguments to muddy things and in any case they can simply do another one that makes different conclusions - more argument - no progress.

The first thing to do is to ask the vet associations if they would agree in principle to a joint instruction. Is someone prepared to ask or would you authorise me to contact the AVMA?

I confess I am only now learning about the various organisations that fight declawing so forgive me if I get things wrong sometimes. Until now I wasn't sure about the country of origin of some the team, in fact. I didn't really think about it. I have never meet my "colleagues" and have no idea as to their strategy only that we hate declawing.

In conclusion, this sits can be used; both its funds and its space to fight this horrible practice - just ask. It means a lot to me.

Michael Avatar

Jan 29, 2010 Its about cats
by: Edward

Now I'm by no means an educated man but I'm going to try to put into words what I feel and I hope nobody takes it wrong.

There surely is a need for a definitive joint report and I for one think Micheal is a very generous man to offer funding for this. I'd not have a clue how to go about it man but there must be somebody who has.

It seems to me Everycat has volunteered and from what I know of her work shes got a brain on her. The AVMA won't agree on somebody, if they choose it would end up distorted and one sided as usual.

Yes anonymous, the Paw Project has done great stuff and I'm sure they still are but if we don't know what they are doing we can't help. If they are already doing a report then all us trying to help need to know that.

It seems to me man that some have lost sight of the fact that we all want the same thing, that is declawing stopped.

I'll get my head in my hands for this but I don't understand how its gone on so long but some people still don't know its cruel? Is it lack of education that most youngsters don't know?

How come other countries got involved to help? I know the fact that the people in the UK who teamed with the people of the USA have educated people and saved? cats. Sorry I don't know how many now but its a lot.

Sorry if I'm wrong but I think it shouldn't be about who does what and needs praise because at the end of the day we do it for cats and we don't want thanks we only want the heartbreaking cruelty stopped.

I could list the names of UK people I know sweating blood and tears for USA cats but they wouldn't want it, they don't need to be acknowledged as its for cats. I don't do much now because of my job I travel a lot but I get any stuff like this sent to me and I try to catch up and Ive got to say Micheal is not a man for giving up and letting it go on.

That's all Ive got to say man except there is no i in TEAM and who minds who does what as long as declawing gets banned.

Jan 28, 2010 Happy to
by: Michael

Hi, Please tell me what you would like me to do to acknowledge or help the wonderful Paw Project. I will do as asked provided it is reasonable 🙂

Michael Avatar

Jan 28, 2010 Please credit The Paw Project
by: Paw Project Volunteer

Your site is great, but please acknowledge the efforts of the Paw Project, the nonprofit organization that sponsored and/or led the support for all of these local California ordinances. The Paw Project ( was formed about 10 years ago and sponsored the West Hollywood declaw ban, the first anti-declaw ordinance in North America. It's volunteers have lobbied state and local lawmakers, arranged for legal experts to fight attempts to block or overturn anti-declaw laws, initiated educational campaigns against declawing, testified at public hearings, and introduced anti-declaw advertising campaigns. The Paw Project was founded by a veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Conrad. (I am proud to be a volunteer)

Jan 28, 2010 Experts Schmexperts!
by: Everycat

I agree, a proper study is required, but I don't agree that an "expert" is needed to carry it out. What does matter is that the study is carried out using sound scientific principles to provide irrefuatble evidence of the damage declawing does.

Anyone can do this, the problem is that the scope (population size) of the survey/study needs to be large enough to encompass not only all types of animal shelter, every state etc, it also needs to cover non-relinquished animals and incorporate a study of attiudes/income/education levels of the owners of non-relinquished animals to allow comparison.

The turncoat Gary Petronek who published studies in 1999 on declawing and relinquishment, recently stated that his work could not be considered indicative of the deleterious nature of declawing because it did not cover the populations (as described above) - therefore studies in isolation, that looked at relinquishment in shelters meant nothing. His attitude change seemed to coincide with the CVMA and VIN publishing articles backing their member vets who wanted the right to continue cashing in on mutilation. Someone probably funded Mr Petronek to spout that lot too.

This is why I don't believe that "experts" are the ones to be running such studies. Too many of them have other interests (publishing deals for books/ security of tenure for those in university posts/ peer pressure/employability/risk of losing clients/- I have thought about approaching university vet schools in the USA, but again, they all are subscribers to the AVMA (and we all know how lame they are at standing by their policies).

Some months ago, here, I offered to complile a properly run scientific study to run across shelters in the USA - I have compiled the questionaire, worked out the populations needed to create a statistically relevant set of results. I have not yet written up the rationale or the method, as work/life has a habit of getting very busy here without warning. My study would concentrate on relinquished animals in shelters. Participating shelters would be anonymous on publication and double blind (to me) for the purpose of compiling the results. The questionaire was written to establish "normal" behaviour within the shelter environment. Participants would complete the questionaires in a spreadsheet format and return them via email. If a shelter had no computer/software access then they could complete the questionaires on paper and mail them back (this is the part that would need some funding)

I was at the stage of looking for an academic sponsor to mentor me through this study and also to sponsor publication for peer review. I am naturally drawn to ethologists in the UK for this.

I'm up for taking this further, but my work is at a very early stage still.

Prof. Nick Dodman of Tufts might be someone who could help us out here, he MUST have hoardes of post grad students looking for dissertation subjects!!!

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