Some Veterinarians Are Ignorant of Cat Behavior

by Susan
(Ohio, USA)

Arthritic Mushu. Declawing didn't keep him in his 1st home & has caused significant urine damage in his 2nd.

Arthritic Mushu. Declawing didn't keep him in his 1st home & has caused significant urine damage in his 2nd.

I'm so grateful for your education on this issue! I am 100% in favor of BANNING this convenience surgery in my country, & cannot wait until it is so the quality of life can improve for our felines! If a human cannot accept, understand, & accommodate the natural and healthy behaviors of an animal, then they shouldn't live with one, period! I like what you said in an earlier comment that declawing is contributing to our "disposable pet" attitude/society & their worth to the guardian. Of course that's true when vets, along with some animal welfare orgs & shelters, think conveniently dismembering an animals healthy body parts is okay (or a "necessary evil") if kitty won't, or might not, use the post! It's time for all of us to start working toward the BETTERMENT of animals, and how they are viewed, accepted, & protected in our society.

I thought you might like these exceptional pieces by veterinarian Dr. Michael Fox:

"CONCERNING VETERINARIANS DE-CLAWING CATS" April 2007

Those purportedly caring veterinary experts who find themselves in the position of endorsing the de-clawing of cats must give the ethical reasons for de-clawing and not succumb to alleged emotional blackmail that people will get rid of their cats if they are not de-clawed. They should probably be advised against having cats in the first place. No statistics are needed to prove de-clawing causes suffering and is an unethical, money-making mutilation pandering to owner ignorance and convenience.

Cats in multi-cat homes do fine not de-clawed. Single cats, bored all day, often poorly socialized, with no suitable scratch post, training to use same, and rarely provided appropriate wild-play and social stimulation, develop many behavioral problems. With proper care and understanding---client education---most of these problems could have been prevented. But instead, because of a lack of proper counseling, or clients' refusal to accept what cats do and need, the final solution is either de-clawing or euthanasia.

Inappropriate de-clawing that could have been avoided by proper feline behavioral counseling and understanding is all too common. Worse is the routine de-clawing of young cats usually at the same time they are being spayed/castrated. Veterinarians doing this pandering service argue that de-clawing stops problems from developing later in life. That is absurd, and a false assumption that cats are likely to become a problem if their claws are not removed early in life.

The veterinary sector that condones feline de-clawing---that the Federal government has made illegal for big cats---is that sector that is admitting not defeat before clients' demands, but a profound ignorance of applied feline behavior and psychology, and of veterinary bioethics. As I have emphasized in many of my writings, there can be no firm foundation for veterinary bioethics, and thus no clear ethical decision making, when there is not a deep appreciation for the nature of animals that is science-based.

Ethics and ethology go hand in hand, and ethology affirms that part of the nature of being a cat is to have claws. It is therefore unethical to de-claw cats as an owner-convenience because it means the permanently elimination of an essential aspect of a cat's form, function, and ethos/behavior.

In the U.K., where de-clawing is not done, the British Veterinary Association's Animal Welfare Foundation is promoting what they call "the duty of care" since they equate progress in animal welfare with public recognition of what makes animals happy and contribute to their quality of life. This includes provision for animals' basic freedom to express normal behaviors. From this perspective, de-clawing is an abdication of this duty of care since the cat's quality of life is diminished by no longer being able to express those natural behaviors associated with being a normal cat with claws".

Michael W. Fox B.Vet.Med., Ph.D., D.Sc., M.R.C.V.S.

"Surely it is time for the United States to step up to the plate and emulate the European Union's 1987 Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals that prohibits, for non-medical purposes, ear cropping, tail docking, de-clawing, de-fanging and de-vocalizing of companion animals."

Dr. Michael W. Fox, D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Vet.Med., M.R.C.V.S

Susan

Comments for
Some Veterinarians Are Ignorant of Cat Behavior

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May 10, 2010 Mushu
by: Maggie Sharp

I thought I might mention that this article was made last year, and I often get sent a list with homeless Abys on it. Mushu is always on there.

I would have Mushu here with me in a second if I could. He shouldn't be homeless just because someone made him crippled. He is one beautiful Aby who deserves a loving home.


Jul 20, 2009 Thanks Susan
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Thanks you very much Susan. I hope you don't mind that I changed the title as it covers a new topic, the fact that some vets in the USA are not just declawing knowing it is wrong (unethical behavior) but are in fact ignorant of the subtle behavioral and psychological aspects concerning the use of a cat's claws, which leads to bad judgment and poor advice to the patient's keeper, the human.



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