More Than One Voice


By Ruth aka Kattaddorra

one voice ruth poster cat declawing

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

It seems hard to believe now, but just over five years ago I discovered that the declawing of cats was almost routine in some parts of the USA. It was a horrible shock, because even before this was banned in our country, our vets considered it unthinkable, knowing how essential a cat’s claws are to his health and fulfillment.

Now it feels as if I’ve known and been helping to educate and fighting for declawing to be banned, for ever.

I was browsing Yahoo Answers when I first saw on the cats’ questions page someone asking what she could do to help her newly declawed cat who was in pain. Most of the replies said she would be OK eventually as cats got over it pretty well. Someone even said that many vets didn’t give cats pain medication so that they wouldn’t attempt to jump around until their toe ends healed.

I could hardly believe it was legal or that no one commented how very cruel that surgery is.
I said to Barbara “It’s like the song ‘One Voice Singing in the Darkness’ I feel so alone in my horror at this legalised abuse of cats”.

and she replied: ‘But now we are two voices, I’ll join you Ruth’

We started an internet group called ‘The Claws Connection’ and soon we had lots of members from all over the world and ‘Just One Voice Singing in the darkness’ became many voices:

‘Shout it out and let it ring.
Just One Voice,
It takes that One Voice,
And everyone will sing’

We invaded Yahoo Answers and began our campaign to educate, meeting up with many more anti-declaw people, there were some after all. Our UK anti-declaw people were known as ‘the troops’

We then invaded Facebook and I started the group ‘The International Coalition Against Declawing’ which now has 256 members many of whom are actively educating others and more are joining us all the time. We have remained long distance friends with lots of people all over the world, in our shared cause.

The campaign grew and we ‘met’ people like Annie Bruce, the author of Cat be Good who had campaigned against declawing for so long it had taken its toll on her health. She was very pleased to hear other countries where declawing was banned were taking notice that America was lagging behind.

I started an online petition which eventually had over 4,000 signatures, many from famous people in the animal world, such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Jeremy Angel, Helmi Flick and J.M.Willis and many more, too numerous to list.

Eventually, sadly the petition was lost when the web site went down for good, but The Paw Project had used it at some of the Californian Cities fighting for a ban, as proof that so many people were against such cruel surgery, so it wasn’t entirely wasted.

But best of all I came across PoC and ‘met’ Michael, a great anti-declaw advocate and he and Babz and I and other visitors wrote many educational articles about declawing and I designed posters showing the horror of the cruel surgery.

Sebastian’s Diary was a great hit even though someone said it was too English. PoC has saved many cats claws.

Vet techs started telling people the truth about how cats suffer when waking up from declawing, they described how some threw themselves around the recovery cage opening their wounds and how some hunched in the corner, shocked and bewildered.

The AVMA turned a blind eye to all this even though their policy was that declawing should only be a last resort for serious scratching behaviour. They ignored the fact that far from this surgery being done as a last resort, kittens were being declawed along with neutering and they also ignored the fact that vets were advertising a neuter/declaw package or declawing with discount. They ignored all of that and they still do!

Now there are thousands of people enlightened to the truth that declawing isn’t ‘just removing the claws’ (bad enough) but the amputation of the cats last toe joints.

Sadly there are still people who don’t know this, nor the physical and/or mental consequences of declawing and while some vets have never declawed and some have stopped declawing, there are still many who are making many dollars from the suffering of cats.

There are also people who even knowing that declawing is cruel think their furniture is more important than a living creature’s health and welfare.

The vets who break their sworn oath to cause no animal to suffer and who profit from declawing cats, will not stop until declawing is banned. The anti-declaw movement is growing daily and we will not stop until declawing is banned.

The Paw Project are doing wonderful work, apparently the film they have made is very educational and is saving many more cats claws. We haven’t been able to see it in the UK yet.

So, the battle to educate and to work towards that happy day when declawing is banned worldwide, goes on…….

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Facebook Discussion

Comments

More Than One Voice — 30 Comments

  1. The topic of declawing cats is a difficult one to write about. Actually, I don’t really like writing about it because I feel I am criticising the whole of the United States. I am not. I am critical of the veterinary practice of declawing cats. That is all.

    I don’t have any choice. I have to write about it and publish articles on it because to me it is one of the cruellest things I have seen with respect to the domestic cat. I hate cruelty against animals.

    There is a big culture clash when it comes to declawing cats. I accept that. I do respect the views of other people. I just happen to strongly disagree with people who support declawing.

    I want to thank Ruth for her tireless work in fighting to ban declawing. I’d like to thank all the others too. There are many who dislike it as much as Ruth and I.

    As Ruth states; the fight to stop it must go on indefinitely until it is over.

    • As always Ruth I applaud your efforts in stopping this horrific practice! You ,Babs and Michael are an inspiration to us all! My hats off to all of you!!!

      • Thanks Jan, we’ve sometimes been told that it’s not our business as it’s not our country, but it surely is the business of all cat lovers worldwide to help stop cats suffering if we can. Thank you for all you do for animals too x

        • The boundaries between countries have been removed by social media, forums and other websites on the internet. These websites, like PoC, have brought people from different countries together. Where a person physically lives becomes almost irrelevant.

          As a result, it does not make any difference if a cat is in the USA, India or Europe. We all have the right to express our views on cat welfare anywhere in the world.

        • Ruth you are great – thank you for everything you do for the little ones – they need you and us.

          Happy New Year.

          My train home is tonight! Actually in about 6-7 hours from now I am on the train and it’s a 12 hour journey through the night through Austria. There’s often alot of snow at this time of year and the train gets stopped and we take a bus but it’s looking ok right now so fingers crossed it will be a smooth journey.

          • Safe journey Marc, looking forward to you being around PoC more, we love you x
            I bet you can hardly wait to be back home to see those little furry faces 🙂

        • Animal cruelty is the business of everyone Ruth you are right and if you bury your head in the sand then you are letting it happen and in some respects agreeing that its ok. Harsh I know but thats how I see it.

    • Michael, I am in the US and I do not take as criticism of the country but of the cruel practice we allow on our cats. Every day we see where another declawed kitty has been dumped at a shelter. It is so disgusting that Americans love their furniture more than their feline pets. Please keep up the fight. The cats need you.

      • Cindy, how kind of you. What you say pleases me because I fear that Americans hate me. I just seek the truth and what is best for our cats. I am very impressed that you are American and dislike declawing as I do. Thanks for sharing your views and your support.

  2. Like you Michael, I don’t like writing about declawing because the very thought of this being done to many cats makes me feel quite ill, it feels like some sort of nightmare, too incredible to believe it really does happen.
    But once I knew that it truly does happen there was no way I could turn a blind eye and since then there is no way I can stop trying to help to stop it happening.
    There are many good Americans who hate declawing as much as we do and I really feel for them living in a country where it happens. I can’t understand how any one can think it’s acceptable to mutilate cats that way, especially vets who declaw, those people surely trained to help animals, not to cause them suffering.
    PoC is a very brave web site and not afraid to tell the truth, as horrible as that truth is!

  3. To Ruth and anyone who haven’t seen the paw project movie. It is available on DVD and available for rent or buy at ITunes, Amazon instant, U-verse, Dish, google play and you tube.

  4. Great poster and article Ruth. I can well remember the shock and horror we both felt when we realised that declawing was happening on such a huge scale in the USA, I’d heard of it vaguely but if I thought about it much I thought it was something that had been done in the past but long since discontinued in these more enlightened times. How wrong I was! As I looked into it and learned more from Ruth’s research I realised declawing was happening almost routinely to cats, as common as vaccination and neutering and in fact encouraged by vets to be done at the same time, and yet this was supposed to be a last resort surgery. It pretty much took over our leisure time for a long time, campaigning, updating the pages of and running the group on Ning which eventually folded, writing to celebrities hoping for high profile backing, infiltrating Yahoo Answers for which I temporarily lost my much loved email address when someone complained about me, and doing the data collection for Dr Hofve which included in Ruth’s study the shelter where Vincent was one of the number of declawed cats and because he lived in her mind from then on eventually led to Vincent and his friend Torti being rehomed in the sanctuary which is happening about now, we were trying to work it out and it has to be around 4-5 years ago that she first saw Vincent and included him in her numbers.
    How wonderful it was to meet up with people with the same views as us, to form a group of fighters on Facebook and to “come home” to POC the home of true cat lovers who will, and do, fight for the rights of cats the whole world over.
    In my opinion things have improved a bit, more and more people are against the cruelty that is declawing though there is a long way to go, I hope eventually it will be banned all over the USA and Canada and in every other country worldwide. Meanwhile I STILL can’t get my head round the fact that anyone would want, would choose to have, would pay to have, their cats healthy toe ends being surgically removed!

    • I am the same. When I first read about declawing (7 years ago) I couldn’t understand it. I was sure there was some reason for it that I hadn’t understood.

      Then it quickly dawned on me that there was no reason for declawing. I was shocked and angry. I still am.

      When I write about it my anger pours out of me, onto the page, as I am sure some people have noticed.

      • I know exactly how you feel Michael and I’m sure everyone else who hates declawing does too. There is no reason to mutilate cats this way, anyone who thinks there is must surely hate cats very much, including those vets who do it!
        It’s hard not to write about it with anger and it’s good to be angry and make others angry too, we need as much people power as we can get, to stop this cruelty.

      • Ruth just read your article which as always is brilliant and totally gets the point across. I don’t know if you remember but I found out about De-clawing for the first time when I stumbled on your petition. I signed then contacted you and offered my support. I was heart broken when I read about what was happening and told you how amazing I thought you were. That was 3 or more years ago and my views haven’t changed; you and Barbara are still amazing, phenominal even and you havent faltered, ever; you’ve just become stronger. I applaud you.

        I’ve just read the article and all the comments again from the link above. Three things jump out at me 1. I still can’t believe how realistic those pictures are and you still won’t let us into your secret about how you achieved it!! 2. Still in the face of all the blood, and gore followed by loads of comments about how horrific it all is a pro de-clawer STILL comes on and says ‘its not that bad’. 3. The AVMA still choose to ignore the facts and the information passed to them. They need to wake up and smell the blood. They can’t ignore forever that the anti de-claw movement is getting stronger……

        • I remember you coming along Leah and being so very upset about declawing and you’ve been a stalwart ‘troop’ since then thank you. A lot of our UK ‘troops’ have fallen by the wayside over the years and no more have come along, I suppose because it seems to be such a long hard depressing slog which even defeated poor Annie.
          But we few slog on supporting our American friends who are fighting this cruelty.
          The pictures are of my hands, I had to paint my nails red to show up better, we used tomato sauce for blood lol and Babz photo shopped the most gory pics without finger ends, to look realistic. We would have laughed if it hadn’t been such a serious subject and thinking about the cats who truly do suffer from the surgery and their lifetime afterwards.
          Reading about how some vets squirt medication into a cats mouth or eyes still makes me cringe, it’s like some nightmare because our vets would never treat a cat that way let alone do so to mutilate them.
          I will never stop feeling ill inside at the thought of declawing, I long for the day it’s stopped!

          • Me too I get so upset every time I read about it especailly the extreme cases and I get mad when I still hear of those who have read all the facts and still do it!! they then justify what they are about to do/have done with the usual crap. I just wish they would stop and I too can’t wait for the day when it is.

  5. Ruth, it’s very hard to “smile from the wrists down” when trying to educate folks about this mutilating surgery. You are so right- declawing is promoted by veterinarians along with neuter/spay- and even offer discounts for clients who have both procedures done at the same time.

    Veterinarians take an oath to “do no harm”- but to those of us who are vehemently opposed to this procedure know how harmful it is- and so many in this profession don’t educate their clients about what the surgery really entails and its risks.

    And what is truly sad here in the USA are the veterinarians who, afraid of losing clients if they refuse to declaw cats- clients who will find one that will- are reluctant to jump on board to help end this practice.

    I made a second donation to the Paw Project to get a second DVD of their extremely moving film so I could give a copy to my veterinarian. I think it’s a great idea for folks here in the USA to do the same thing.

    I am so glad that I found YOU and the others who feel the same way- together we can make a difference. Your work is remarkable. Blessings to all.

  6. Fabulous poster a touch of genius in fact and I’m proud to be one of the original UK tropps although I don’t have the time now to do as much as some of you.
    It makes me angry as well Micheal and it seems being nice doesn’t work for some folk who still have their cats toe ends axed off and if I went to America and met a declaw vet in the flesh I’d want an axe with me to show them what I think of them.Probably get kicked out of America but it’d be worth it

  7. Great poster again, Ruth. Michael said comments might disappear, but hopefully not this important post. It doesn’t matter about it being another country Ruth. Animals aren’t political. The world is one big place we all share. Fighting injustice and stupidity is the job of all humans. All over the globe. It is a dirty job, and someone has to do it. We are the right team for the job, such as we can be. Thanks for being the voice for cats. Thanks to Michael, Barbara, and all the other voices here at POC who speak out for a good cause. It is working. Slow as mud, but slogging along is better than nothing.

    • Thank you Dorothy, each and every person educating against declawing is a valuable part of the movement. I always remember when first I ‘met’ Annie Bruce and said what we were doing seemed to be very little. She said ‘Ruth you educate one person, even if that person only educates two more and they educate only two more each, eventually there will be thousands of people educating others and that’s how claws will be saved’
      She was right and so are you, it’s working but slow as mud. But we are making progress and The Paw Project film must surely be putting declaw vets to shame and I hope and pray that people are thinking twice about using their services so they get the message loud and clear that DECLAWING IS CRUEL.

  8. I had a quick browse of yahoo answers and could only find one declaw question, some one wanting to know when the cone could be removed from her newly declawed kittens head.
    She had a lot of replies, every single one telling her what a cruel thing she had done. Her excuse that she didn’t want her eyes scratched out fuelled the replies even more.
    So sad for that little kitten and for all the others still being declawed, I could sit and weep, but 5 years ago all the replies were never anti declaw so progress is being made, just not fast enough for us who hate it that any cats are still being mutilated.

  9. I only read a couple of the comments, but I so totally agree that cats NEED their claws! Any cat that could not climb a tree would be SO crippled! It would be such terrible damage to the poor cat’s psyche! Anyone that would do that to a cat would NOT care about the cat AT ALL! I can not have a cat now, but I will always love them! It is nothing but horribly cruel! Horrific is an appropriate word for anyone who would not have more sense & should be a star in movies about cruelty! Thank you all for working so hard to prevent this from EVER happening again. I truly didn’t know people were so cruel to cats! God, please save all cats from ever having it happen to them for the rest of time!

    • Hi Lora, thanks for visiting. A point worth making is that the people who declaw their cat don’t believe it is cruel. They think it is perfectly acceptable and so do the vets who do it. Strange isn’t it?

    • Thanks Lora, you are obviously a true cat lover, I’m sorry you can’t have a cat now.
      What amazes me is that all of us here know how cruel declawing is so why doesn’t everyone? How they can think it’s acceptable is quite beyond me.
      I think declaw vets DO know how cruel it is but they don’t care! Nor do the people who think their furniture is more important and like the people who think cats ‘scratch eyes out’ and stupid things like that, they shouldn’t be allowed to be anywhere near a cat let alone ‘own’ one.

  10. Ruth, I just saw this today as I have been away from the computer since Christmas and I am dealing with a sick kitty. Thankfully, she seems to be doing better now. What a wonderful article! I work for a vet here in the US (only 1 day a week) and she is against declawing. She feels it is an unneccesary procedure and will only do it if the cat will be dumped if not declawed since most of the shelters around here are not no kill. We educate folks on the procedure as well as training the cat to use scratch posts and using nail caps. We declaw a cat so infrequently that I actually can’t remember the last time we did it. We probably do 6 or less per year. I also have to say that she is wonderful about pain management. I worked for a different vet who did “routine” declaws and the poor cats suffered so dramatically afterward. The few cats that my current vet has done had no personality changes and did not wake up violently. We kept them in hospital for several days on pain meds and send them home with pain patches since many owners don’t like to medicate cats. While I am still against declawing and would never do it to my own kitties (though I have owned cats that were declawed by former owners), I have to say that I think the vet I work for has the best pain management protocol. That said, I would like to see it banned and I would surely like to see landlords/apartment houses, etc. be stopped from requiring it for their cat owning tenants.

    • Thanks Reno, I’m glad your cat is getting better, I’d rather be ill myself than one of ours!
      Yes declawing needs to be banned so that no cat ever has to live a disabled life, we in the UK look at it this way, it’s not just the surgery itself wrong, it’s taking essential parts from the cat and putting his future health in jeapordy. I’ve read about declawed cats suffering from painful arthritis as they age, it stands to reason they must.
      I worked full time for vets for many years and we only ever once had a client wanting her cat declawed before it was banned here, I’d never even heard of it but a shiver ran down my spine, I couldn’t even for a million pounds have let it happen, I’d have taken the cat home and hang the consequences. Thankfully the vets were as shocked and disgusted as I was and she was told no vet in the UK would be so cruel.
      Show your employer this video and hopefully like more vets are doing now she will refuse to ever declaw any cat again:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRMip0Nngp8&feature=youtu.be
      I love this man.
      Sorry but I can’t understand any vet breaking their oath to cause no animal to suffer, it’s awful you haven’t any no kill shelters but I think someone who would relinquish a cat if not declawed shouldn’t have had a cat in the first place and the fact that you have had cats who have been declawed by previous owners proves that declawing does not keep them in their homes.

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