The Declawing Disconnect

Photo by a440 - this cat was declawed because he did this sort of thing. Why have a cat and why stop him doing what is natural?

Photo by a440 - this cat was declawed because he did this sort of thing. Why have a cat and why stop him doing what is natural?

I am going to coin a new phrase: declawing disconnect. What do I mean? These are just my thoughts no more. An attempt to go behind the act of declawing and into the minds of people who do it or request it without a care in the world. There is an astonishing polarisation of opinion on declawing. Some people simply don't see it as bad, as morally wrong, as causing pain. I will call these people the disconnected people (DP). The other people like me, I will call the connected people (CP). I am not passing judgment here, just making a comment as I see it. If all the DPs became CPs there would be no declawing. The DPs might have these characteristics or have some of these characteristics:

  • A belief that people are special and animals are separate, almost a different form of life. A belief that people are not a species of animal. An arrogance can flow from this mentality. If this is coupled with ignorance the combination is toxic.
  • They may not have heard of the theory of evolution of life or firmly do not believe it.
  • They may, through no fault of theirs, lack a proper education but this is not a prerequisite.
  • They do not feel the pleasures of nature and the landscape, things created by nature, but seek pleasure in all things human, ownership of personal possessions, a nice car, a nice house, well manicured lawn, better than the Joneses attitude etc..
  • A thorough distancing from the natural world and the pleasures it can bring in a subtle way.
  • A consumerist approach or a desire to make money.

These characteristics are essentially a distancing from our roots, nature. It is where we came from. If we are in touch with nature we can feel it. And if we can feel the beauty of nature we can feel the pain of declawing. And if we are consumed by consumerism we have lost touch with nature and the empathy that comes with that; the empathy with our fellow creatures. We lose what is needed to protect our fellow creature, our respect for them. Our wonder of them.

The disconnect is muddying up the dividing line between our inanimate possessions and animate possessions. Once we even begin to treat a companion cat as an inanimate object it is all over in respect of proper care for the cat. The CPs are:

  • Often well educated but this is far from a major characteristic.
  • Humble and perhaps have felt suffering themselves.
  • Less consumer orientated and find pleasure in simple things.

The DPs are not necessarily worse than the CPs, just different and there is a good deal of overlap. The world probably needs DPs. But cats don't.

More declawers will come from DPs. DPs are a product of modern life as is the increase in consumerism and our distancing from nature as we gradually concrete over nature and make the world ours.

I have not researched this point but I am sure that declawing did not exist in the USA before say about 1950. Can anyone tell me when the first declawing operation took place? Certainly when companion cats were barn cats it did not enter the head of the farmer to declaw the cat. That state of affairs was the first cat/human relationship and a more natural one.

It is a gradual sanitizing of what is natural that encourages becoming more distanced from nature. Keeping cats permanently indoors is closely related to declawing. And I am not saying that cats should be let out. I am just saying that one is connected to the other.

If I am correct, declawing will get worse in the USA, not better. So there has to be legislation, properly enforced to curb declawing. Through legislation it is possible to gradually change habits. The DPs will not become CPs but they can be forced to change their habits. And one of those habits is the obnoxious process of declawing. This could only happen under the declawing disconnect scenario.

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The Declawing Disconnect

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Feb 16, 2011 Just me
by: Leah (England)

This is just me; I'm of fairly average intelligence; I don't study politics or religion, maybe I should I don't know. It would probably be advantageous to be more politically aware.

I suppose I am someone with very simplistic needs; I need to have a job because I like to eat, pay the mortgage and feel secure. I don't want or need the latest gadgets; I prefer to be able to walk in my garden and smell freshly cut grass or the earthy smell of autumn. I like to be with people I love. I cherish the company of my two cats on a winter night by the fire.

I digressing, I know but what I'm trying to say is that as a simple person I also know right from wrong; I don't need to preach religion or politics to know that declawing can be nothing other than very very wrong.

Like Michael I don't intend to criticise one religion or another but all too often I hear someone say ‘I have God to thank for everything I’ve got’ but that usually seems to mean materialistic things; sadly including companion animals. It seems to be all mine, mine, mine and because its mine I’ll do exactly what I want with it. But what I don’t understand and I never will is how someone can say they are religious; they love God but they want to and think its ok to mutilate and alter one of Gods creatures!? Someone please explain to me because I think it’s hypocritical!! God gave cats their claws for many reasons; do you think he would be happy that his perfect creations were being horribly altered by man? No, I think not. But that’s just me; I have simplistic views.

In terms of polls very often they appear to be carried out to prove a point and to prove that point they are carried on a section of society that are by their very nature are likely to lean one way rather than another.

Dec 18, 2010 Excellent and Insightful
by: Kathleen

I've just come across this article reposted on Facebook, and I will be reposting it again!! It is spot on and exactly right; I have often had similar musings myself. Thanks to the author for posting this.

Sep 25, 2010 We control the environment
by: JeDi

Hi, My cats annoyed me by climbing the curtains ... so I got a pull out climbing frame and triple glazing with internal blinds for the windows :o) Hello, people! We, the humans, control the home environment. If we want things to look a certain way we can make it happen without amputating our animals... again, animals that we have chosen to bring into our precious homes. Let the cat behave like a cat and give them the enrichment toys they need... or get a goldfish.

Oct 07, 2009 Yes I understand
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

I often think about how peoples and animals worlds are so different.I'm a real home bird and find it hard to imagine the rest of the world, a world abroad I'll never know and don't really want to know except by 'armchair travelling'
My world is my home with my widowed sister,we live together now, our beautiful cats,other family,friends and neighbours and the places we go around County Durham and North Yorkshire.
Our cats world is our home and garden and the trees and scrub land behind our house where they can happily snooze, climb trees, chase mice etc.They are happy in their world and I feel awful when we have to take them from it for a vets visit. They see some of our world and don't like it ! I think each of us see our own world differently to how anyone else does.Cats don't even know other countries exist.
Our goldfishes world is his tank,yet he must see another world with us in it,outside his world.
How strange life is !
As for declawing, I just can't get my head around anyone who loves cats, wanting to remove the very essence of the cat,how can they not see how cruel and how painful it is to cats ? They are deliberately disabled !!!

Oct 07, 2009 An Imperfect World
by: Anonymous

Dear Kattaddorra,
When I was young and would complain about this or that injustice or atrocity happening in the world a good friend of mine would say, "But we live in a sinful, fallen world" as if that settled it. I would invariably still protest. Today I see that we do live in a world in complete rebellion against God. I know it can be so hard to understand why bad things happen and why evil is allowed to continue, but I guess I look at it this way:

Most of what I do in a day, including typing this to you, is completely incomprehensible to Monty. I heard a story once of a philosopher who was kittenish with his kitten, but she never discussed philosophy with him. Everywhere the greater comes down to the lesser-- it doesn't happen the other way around. Just as Monty cannot completely understand my mind, so I cannot comprehend the mind of God. I sometimes wish so much that I could explain to Monty why he has to go the vet for a shot, but I can't. He just has to trust me that it really is necessary and for his own good.

The problem is that human beings don't always do what is for the good of others-- animals or other people. Declawing, as horrible as it is, is just a tiny example of a much larger problem. Some people don't believe in sin-- the older I get the more I can't deny it's in our natures. Even the best of us aren't living up to what we could be. We are all "disconnected people" to some degree.

I used to believe that nature itself was God when I was younger. Now that's not enough for me, though I do learn from nature. I now see Jesus as God coming down-- the greater to the lesser.

I'm glad that what I wrote touched you. I know some people get offended by religious faith, but I think that's mostly because a lot of Christians get hung up on expecting others to "make a decision for Jesus" which I believe is a lot of hooey. Every person's spiritual journey is different. I can see the world the way I do without expecting everyone else to see it exactly the same way. We all only understand in part anyway-- just as Monty only understands part of what he observes me do.

Oct 07, 2009 Reply to Ruth Y
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Hello Ruth, I just want to say that you have shown more maturity than those who treasure material possessions above the health and welfare of their pets.I'm so glad they didn't 'grind you down' So many people think because their family have always had their cats declawed, they should too,it's become a sort of family tradition blindly followed without thought.

I used to totally believe in God and 7 day creation, as my late mother brought us up as Christians but she suffered severe illneses and disablement for many years, eventually dying horribly of cancer.My sister and I have since then lost her husband,my brother in law, who was the kindest man you could meet, he died at only 57.We've lost much loved pets and friends too, and also our home because of bad people.

So my faith is quite wobbly now ! I never did think God is an actual 'person' I thought of 'Him' as Nature. I saw 'Him' in animals,birds, fish, trees, flowers etc etc.

My heart could burst with sorrow sometimes at the unfairness of this world,so many suffering people and animals and I can't understand how we are all the same human race when some people are so cruel to others and to animals.

Now your faith has touched me.

Oct 06, 2009 Last comment
by: Michael

Ruth Y, you are an asset to cats and when you want to be, funny too. Thanks for a very interesting and quality comment.

Oct 06, 2009 My Declawing Story
by: Ruth Y.

I've never believed in declawing cats and I especially am against it now that I know more about the procedure. I want to write about my experience with some friends of my husband who acted like I needed to grow up and do what needed to be done-- declaw my kitten. Their attitude was that I "had to" declaw the cat as soon as possible or all my furnishings, drapes and carpets would be ruined. I got the distinct impression that they felt I was being childish when I insisted that I really didn't care if Monty ruined my stuff. Being grown up (
for them) seems to be equated with having a lot of nice stuff and being willing to mutilate your pets to protect it.

I'm sure they don't realize that anyone could disagree, and for awhile I even felt that they were right. I must be really immature. My house is furnished in college dorm style furnishings, the curtains are hand me downs from a friend, haphazardly hung up, my carpets came with the house and are stained and torn in places. I started to feel that maybe they were right and I'm not living the way a forty year old woman should live. My sister's apartment upstairs even contains a couch we found on the side of the road, which we carried the four blocks back to our house. (We now have placed a three block maximum on discarded furniture which can be carried home.)

So what constitutes maturity? Working like crazy to buy more and more stuff which eventually all wears out anyway? Or is it caring about other living creatures? When you make your whole life about getting possessions your pet becomes just one more possession. I'd rather work part time and be home with Monty more. He's not my possession, he's my little friend, human or not.

I do disagree that you have to believe in evolution to be a CP, a connected person. I'm a seven day creationist, and I think it gives me more of a reason to treat other living creatures well. The earth is the Lord's and everything in it-- we can't just do anything we want toward animals or toward each other, without being accountable to God for what we have done. God loved our pets before we even knew them and He loves them more than we do. I've grown in my faith in God through knowing Monty. When he follows me around wherever I go in the house I think of Jesus saying, "I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also." That's Monty-- where I am, he wants to be also. I know that I should want to be with Jesus just like Monty wants to be with me.

I've never, ever learned a life lesson like that through acquiring or owning any material possession.

Aug 31, 2009 re:in awe
by: Ruth

What a lovely message Michael.Yes we are the CP siblings and one day we'll all celebrate together when declawing is banned worldwide !!
People in the future will look back in horror at how cats were treated in the USA and Canada in the 20th/21st centuries, just as we look back with horror at how they were burned as witches familiars etc in the past.

Aug 31, 2009 In Awe
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

I am in awe of your commitment and passion. Thanks for taking the time to say so much. We are a band of brothers and sisters. We are CPs and we know what it right. We are not in denial. We seek the truth and face down the wrongs. It is a harder life being a CP because we are more open to all that is around us and we feel more. The blind DP is cosy in his world of denial.

Aug 30, 2009 You got that right...
by: Declawing Destroys

legislation is the only way that this atrocity will end, education isn't working. There are simply too few vets, shelters, & animal welfare orgs educating the public, the grassroots Paw Project in CA is really the only US group that has taken a clear stand on this issue. I put alot of this "declaw disconnect" blame on the vets & animal welfare groups (including shelters). US vets have brainwashed humans into believing that declawing is something routine & what good parents do for their pet (the public thinks vets understand animal behavior, these people have studied medicine, not behavior!). Shelter screening processess may be no more than to ask "what color" when someones comes to adopt a cat. We even have shelters here in the US that will declaw their rescue cats prior to adoption that's what "the people want", forget about what is in the best interest for the animal! And animal welfare orgs are worthless, they all say "better declawed than dead" or it's "better to cripple than kill". A five minute conversation to cat parents about natural animal behavior could help close this disconnect gap & result in better understanding & better stewardship toward their pets. Excellent article! And declawing did emerge about 40 yrs ago, here is some history:
p.s. if declawing does get worse in the US, I'm packing my bags & moving to the UK! I really believe though that IT WILL BE BANNED in US!

Aug 30, 2009 Thank You
by: Anonymous

Thanks for sharing the facts about how declawing is so brutal and totally uncalled for. There is no reason in the world for it. Cat lovers, rather than cat owners would never have this surgery performed on their cats. It is totally unthinkable.

Your tireless work to finally have this procedure banned all around the world is stellar. My deepest thanks and admiration go out to you, Michael.

Aug 30, 2009 Possession versus compassion
by: Barbara

This is a really good blog you have it exactly right with the DP?s and CP?s. DP?s are all about rights, possessions and self care, they think nothing of subduing nature and changing a cat from a perfectly formed free spirit to a house bound disabled ornament. This is because DP?s are not prepared to compromise on what they think they deserve. They deserve perfect furniture but are not prepared to put any thought into the type of furniture that is suitable for a household with a cat, nor to providing the cat with his/her own scratching post and teaching the cat how to use it.

They deserve for it to be possible for them to handle the cat, play with the cat and live alongside the cat with never the possibility of an accidental scratch, they are not prepared for this even though they have chosen to adopt a cat. Neither are they are prepared to teach their children respect for animals from a very early age instead they have the animal disarmed so that junior can play as roughly as he/she likes without fear of reprisals. They are not prepared to allow cats the freedom to express their natural behaviour e.g climbing and stropping, evidence is the cat in the picture punished for normal cat behaviour by the amputation of healthy, precious and necessary toes and claws. DP?s have the right to prevent all this by paying someone to declaw their cat regardless of the physical and mental consequences to their cat, which they sometimes don?t even recognise as capable of feeling pain and confusion and grief for lost body parts following this major procedure.

CP?s on the other hand realise they are sharing their lives and homes with creatures that have already had to adapt tremendously to fit in with our lifestyles, the compromise has all been on the part of cats, and CP?s, of which I am proud to include myself as one, have sympathy and empathy for cats and other creatures, realising that although (most) domestic cats have a secure life with guaranteed food, care and shelter this also leaves them vulnerable to the whims of the ?owner?, in effect it?s pot luck for a cat where he/she ends up whether they will be treated with kindness or treated as a possession. CP?s give thought to the comfort of their companion animals and realise they deserve a full life with play, love and the chance to express themselves as the individuals they are.

We are all animals and we all have inbuilt traits, sadly humans have taken it upon themselves to choose which parts of cats and dogs and other animals they require and which parts they want removed, this to me is sinful.

Declawing must end, if DP?s will not stop asking for this dreadful procedure by choice then they have to be stopped by legislation otherwise all the juniors brought up alongside declawed cats will think this is the only way to go and so the tradition will be bred into future generations.

Aug 30, 2009 My thoughts
by: Ruth

A brilliant article, very deep and well written !I'm most definately a CP as I feel the pain and bewilderment of all abused animals,birds and fish, also the many cats suffering declawing every day 4,000 miles or so from where I live. I've tried but there is no way I can understand or tolerate DPs who don't give a thought to the cat's needs,neither mental nor physical.You are right, DPs ARE all about material possessions,they don't see the beauty in a cat's claws,the pleasure the cat gets from enjoying having them, which is of course their birthright, to have those claws,they are born with them because they need them.DPS see only perfect possessions to boast about.They see a cat as an adaptable creature to be mutilated to suit them, then to sit like a valuable ornament,nothing to do, not a whisker out of place.I accept that in the world now it's too dangerous to let a cat outdoors in some places, but in that case, I think they should be provided with some sort of outdoor run, so they can enjoy the sun, grass, watching birds,feeling fresh air instead of all this through glass.
I read that declawing started because of public pressure in the USA in the 1950s,when people started keeping cats indoors.They not only took their freedom, they wanted to take their very essence.They wanted cats but not real cats, they wanted their idea of how a cat should be, not how a cat is.They still do !I've tried to find the person who first thought up declawing,with no success, I shudder to think of the cats experimented on to TRY to perfect the operation.They will never find perfection as is proved by the number of cats suffering from botched jobs, some have lost their paws completely, some have died !Those firmly embedded claws were never meant to be removed !There will be mad scientists right now experimenting to be the first to breed a clawless cat !!These are definately DPs !!!!And it's the fault of the everyday DPs who demand demand demand and who worship at the shrine of possessions and value them more than living, feeling, beautiful creatures who we should be honoured to have custody of.Also the fault of the AVMA who don't tighten up their policy that declawing should be a last resort procedure and of course the vets who will still declaw cats have to share the blame.So many DPs !!!
Hopefully declawing won't get worse, West Hollywood showed the way with a ban, hopefully San Francisco will follow and vote for a ban, they have until 1/1/2010.More people are realising how cruel declawing is,a group of us have saved 55 cats by education on Yahoo Answers. Education about the horror of declawing is badly needed in USA and Canadian schools!!!
I really can't understand how declawing, banned or considered extremely inhumane in 38 countries so far, can be acceptable to anyone at all !


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