UK, USA Special Relationship Strained By Declawing

The special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States is strained by the fact that a substantial section of society in America support the declawing of cats. Clearly, this only affects people who (a) are aware of the fact that some people do declaw their cats in America and (b) love or like cats and animals. That said, a very large part of society in both countries like animals and are sensitive towards the needs of animals. Therefore, the declawing of domestic cats in America is a substantial irritation and barrier to a successful relationship between British and American people.

I like America and in general I like American people. But as stated, when I think of the millions of cats that are put through the terrible process of declawing, by sensible and law-abiding American people, I become irritated and upset and ask myself why do they do this. To a European who is sensitive towards animals and animal rights it seems to me that a person who declaws their cat is unsophisticated and uncivilised. It is an uncivilised act. It is an unrefined form of behaviour. I hate to say that but I can’t avoid the conclusion.

The special relationship between the UK and the USA is probably based upon the simple fact that we are essentially the same people and we speak the same language (almost). The American people came from Europe over 400 years ago. We have the same DNA and the same background and therefore we should understand each other more easily.

But British people who are aware that cats are declawed in America don’t understand the mentality of Americans who do it. It makes me want to dislike the individual American people who request their veterinarian to declaw their cat. I have to dislike these people because it is so contrary to my fundamental way of thinking in respect of our relationship with animals and particularly the domestic cat. It seems brutally uncivilised to me and crude behaviour.

So what is civilised behaviour? What is sophisticated behaviour? I’m sure people have different points of view about that. For me, one aspect of civilised behaviour is to behave in a way which creates harmony in a community of people or a society of people and in the world at large. If there is harmony life is better and life is easier.

Living in harmony with others should, in a civilised society, include living in harmony with all creatures that inhabit the planet. This includes the domestic cat. If a person is to live in harmony with the domestic cat the person must respect the cat. People cannot live in harmony with either the human animal or the animal without respect for others. That must be a fundamental starting point.

When a cat owner has her cat declawed it is disrespectful of their cat. It is modifying, in a rather brutal way, a cat’s anatomy for the convenience of the owner. It is one-way traffic, the cat’s owner is doing exactly what he or she wishes with her cat at her convenience. I conclude, therefore, that this is uncivilised behaviour and it puts a strain as far as I’m concerned on my relationship with the American people because it goes to a fundamental cultural belief.

When you read articles or comments by people who support declawing you understand that there is no way you can present an argument to them that will change their mind. And vice versa, by the way. A pro-declaw person, no matter how hard they try, will never be able to convince an anti-declaw person that it is acceptable. We think completely differently. This strains our relationship because we both like cats, which should be a good starting point in a successful relationship.

If I am right that the act of declawing a cat is uncivilised behaviour, then how did this come about? I can only conclude that when the first Europeans landed in America they had to restart their lives afresh and in doing so they turned the clock back several hundred years and had to rebuild a fresh society. That was a knock back in terms of a developmental process towards civilised behaviour. Today, America is a very advanced society in very many areas such as technology but in some areas they are less advanced than Europeans. The evolution of the American people over the preceding 400 years has not been even. There is still an element of the wild West about the way some American people relate to wildlife. It is almost as if for a part of American society their relationship with animals is about 100 years behind their relationship with technology.

I’ll leave it there. I write this with respect for the American people. I hope the article is not disrespectful. I don’t believe it is because it is honest and I’m sure other Europeans and British people have similar feelings concerning other aspects of European and American life.

Note: I have not generalised. I refer to “some” Americans not “Americans”.

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UK, USA Special Relationship Strained By Declawing — 24 Comments

  1. Hi Michael!

    Great article, by the way. It is not in any way disrespectufl. It is simply the truth! I am finding that the only way that we will reach people is through education- education and more education. But it’s not only the folks that “own” these cats that think that declawing is ok. It’s the vets who make a fortune performing this surgery. They have also been “brainwashed” by the schools to which they attended as well.

    Unfortunately for many of the vets in the USA (who may have been inspired to become a vet because they love animals (more than humans)- but all too soon discover that veterinary clinics are a business- and they have to bring in the bucks. So why not offer declawing at the same time they are doing a really important surgery (neutering or spaying, at a discount price.

    Unfortunately the AVMA puts a “loophole” in their stand on declawing- “If all else fails”- not bothering to educate the vets that there are no “failures”- that they should be helping their clients by educating them how to clip nails- use cat trees, etc.

    They could make a lot more money educating their clients who would learn to trust them more- and then refer their friends to the practice. Selling cat trees and other beautiful products in their clinics would bring them in that all important $$$ and also keep their clients happy- and faithful. Just my humble opinion from someone who lives in the USA who feels strongly that declawing MUST be banned here.

    • Jo, thank you for supporting me. I am always worried about writing the sorts of articles – which am compelled to do because I find the whole thing hateful and upsetting – because I am frightened that I will upset a lot of Americans who will criticise me and stay away from the website. However, as mentioned when I sit down and then decide to write something out of my head the most outstanding topics and issues come to my mind and this must be almost at the top of the pile of subjects because it is so terribly wrong and unjustifiable. I have a deep hatred of it and it makes me dislike people. I do not want to dislike people but when they do this sort of thing what else can I think?

      They could make a lot more money educating their clients who would learn to trust them more

      As you say, the veterinarians are shortsighted and they are thinking short-term. They are looking for the quick buck to pay their overheads and earn a decent salary and they feed on the ignorance of the cat owners who should know better. If they changed course and thought about making money in a more moral and humane way, building business slowly through trust not only would they feel better they would be better. They can stop pretending that they were doing the right thing. Any decent veterinarian must struggle on a day-to-day basis with what they are doing if they participate in declawing cats. What kind of miserable life is a veterinarian living if he dislikes declawing but still does it?

      • Michael,

        If a veterinarian dislikes it so much they either “grow a pair” and refuse to do it in spite of losing a client. The vets that are hugely anti-declaw don’t want those clients anyway if they still insist after being fully educated. At least mine feels that way.

        The vets are as brainwashed as the clients that want it many times. They feel that if the AVMA says “last resort”- then it must be SOMEWHAT ok- and take that as permission to do it. They also are richly rewarded financially for this procedure.

        I don’t think there are many veterinarians who “struggle” with this decision- it’s rather black and white!

  2. This article is far from disrespectful, it is true and honest!
    How could a British cat lover like or respect anyone who believes it is acceptable to pay a vet to mutilate their cat? Even non cat lovers here who hear of this are shocked at the cruelty even before they know declawing is not ‘simply removing the claws’ When they hear it is actually ten amputations they are aghast at how any vet can legally abuse cats this way for money.
    Yes I know that most Americans blame those vets for not telling the truth about what major surgery declawing is. But cat owners, NOT caretakers because caretakers care enough to find out what any vet intends to do to their cat before leaving him to go through any procedure, must take responsibility and stop bleating that ‘they didn’t know what it meant’ Why didn’t they ask?
    Sorry but I deeply hate not only declawing vets but also the people who hand their cat over to those butchers. Would they leave their child for surgery without asking exactly what it entailed? Would they go themselves for surgery without knowing how it would affect them? Of course not. So they shouldn’t do just that to their innocent cat!

    • I know that it upsets you as much as it upsets me. When I sit down quietly and decide to write something out of my head this sort of subject comes up. It comes up because it is hateful and it hurts. Every minute of every day there’s probably a kitten being mutilated, legally by a respected professional. The whole thing is deeply upsetting and I struggle and struggle again to understand how and why America can accept it. Sometimes I feel like screaming or strangling someone. When I write these articles I worry that it will upset someone badly and they will criticise me but at the end of the day I am compelled to express what is in my heart as honestly as I can.

      • If telling the truth and standing up for what is right upsets someone then I’m sorry but they deserve to be upset! It’s burying their heads in the sand that allows this abuse to go on, just as it does all animal abuse.
        I admire you Michael for speaking out, PoC has saved many cats claws because you are not afraid to tell the truth here!

  3. No disagreement here.
    It’s true that many vets minimize or downright lie about what will be done to a cat he intends to declaw.
    But, as Ruth AKA pointed out, it is the complete responsibilty of the caretaker to know what will be done to their cat and the backlashes that will result. If the vet is unclear with them, they need to go and educate themselves before pursuing anything.
    The days of “blind faith” with our vets, docs, lawyers, accountants are over.

    • Surely clients must sign a consent form before leaving their cat for surgery, I wouldn’t sign and leave one of our cats without asking questions. I can’t understand anyone even thinking a cat can be happy without claws, so I can’t feel sympathy with those who say they didn’t know what declawing meant.

    • How did you guys end up in this mess with declawing? It is one of the most extraordinary aberrations because America is full of cat loving people. How could they end up doing something which is a complete contradiction to what they profess to feel about their cats?

      • If I had to guess, Michael, I would say that it had it’s beginnings in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s when the advocacy for maintaining cats indoors fulltime began. I assume that people became annoyed with the natural cat behavior and didn’t know how to deal with it any other way. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like scratching posts or even real cat toys for diversion during that time. There wasn’t even cat litter that I know of. People, me included, had cardboard boxes filled with sand.

        • Good point, Dee. I’m sure that the trend to keep cats in full-time encouraged declawing because people believe they did not need their claws any more (a completely incorrect idea of course). And there is a greater need in America to keep domestic cats inside because of the extra dangers from wildlife in America. Of course, these factors can never excuse declawing.

  4. R, I’m not sure whether a consent form is needed or not; but, I’ll bet that a payment agreement is drafted and signed!

    Ignorance runs rampant here when it comes to animals. Actually, maybe it’s selective ignorance. The less they find out, the less guilt they’ll feel, because being informed carries responsibility with it.

    You know that I have to rant on too about this ignorance…

    That people would take an animal to a shelter REALLY believing that they will be adopted out when the kill rate is 80%, blows my mind. I have to believe that they just don’t WANT to know that the animal will be killed within 72 hours. And, each time I hear a city council member or county commissioner tell me that the shelter provides a necessary public service, I want to shake that sh-t out of their heads like an etch-a-sketch!

    Ruth, I don’t know how we can explain the declawing and shelter insanity except to believe that people don’t WANT to know. If they can navigate their way to a vet office, they can navigate the internet and get informed.

    • I don’t know how you stay sane there Dee! I think you are right, a lot of people don’t want to know what happens to cats left at shelters, they can pretend to themselves that they are leaving them there to find a lovely home. Just like they can pretend their cat will be happier without their ‘nasty’ sharp claws as someone who had her cats declawed really did comment.

        • It wasn’t here on PoC Dee, it was one of the facebook anti declaw groups where sometimes pro declaws infiltrate to upset us, she got a dose of home truth and then banned.

  5. Michael a great article only those Americans that de-claw would disagree with you. In terms of shelters I couldn’t leave a cat at a shelter here where they don’t kill them never mind leaving them at one that does! Its also a question of responsibility when we take on any animal we have a responsibility to do right by that animal if you’re not prepared to do that then don’t adopt an animal.

    • I can’t leave my cat, Charlie, in a boarding cattery without worrying about him. I haven’t done it yet. As you say it’s about the sensitivity towards a cat’s emotions and feelings and treating them as feeling animals. A lot of people don’t do that. They simply do not relate to animals on the basis that they have real emotions, feel real pain and can be happy and sad.

      • I know Michael it gets me every time. I do leave my cats at a cattery but its one we’ve used for years and years. I do it because I feel they are safer there than left at home because with 2 of mine being house cats all it would take for the person feeding them would be a seconds lapse of concentration and one of them would be out the door and probably run over.

  6. Hi there, the thing i like about this website and you Michael is your honest and truthful. That’s the only way to go. Its so sad that things in usa and not the same in different areas in uk and in the world. i just would hate it if declawing wasnt illegal here. Im so pleased it is. This is a great article as always. Just wandering how far along my article was i havent seen it as yet i guess it be there soon.:) Hope everyone ok.

    • Hi Kylee, I’ll be publishing your article today. Sorry for the slight delay. Thank you for saying what you have. I do like to make statements that reflect what is real, what is really happening. I like to do this because there is so much fakery and falseness and misrepresentation in the world which causes untold misery and which keeps decent people poor.

  7. thanks michael. Yea im a person whos truthful and honest and prob too nice as well. often it gets me into trouble. Yea sometimes you’ve got to put those views out no matter how much it may offend. the cats here are all getting along now. Ozzie and jasmin are best friends now. They play and chase around the house together which is just so great.

  8. This is a weekend article I missed because I’m taking weekends for my cats and Gigi particularly.

    I think you can dislike and even hate – and even be angry, all the while without necessarily losing respect.

    You have said how you and all of us feel – clearly and in a balanced straight forward way.

    I mean – there is not a way to say it and make the truth of it any nicer. It’s bad. You can say you think it’s bad without being rude and you can not like people without being rude to them as well.

    Often the guilt associated with assumed expressio blame comes from from the fact that you know that telling the truth is going to subvert somebody’s reality and demand a reaction. People are over careful. Truth is truth. We are all entitled to express our own truths. Sometimes the truth is hard to take but one should feel good for pointing at a problem, not bad or guilty.

    And as we kow alot of this declawing is permitted by ignorance or lakc of knowledge on the subject. For the caretaker. The vet who makes it sound ok though, in my opinion, makes the world a much worse place and should be thrown in jail. This should be a prison sentence for knowingly torturing an animal. If it was necessary it wouldn’t be torture obviously.

    Those vets who do that – by god I’d love to see them all thrown in a pen together and see them squirm like the disgusting money hungry people they are. PEople need money, but many of us try not to hurt anyone obtaining it. It’s the people who cash in on the suffering of others that deserve the hell the have unleashed on countless innocent lives.

    AND to think that of all people to be willing to hurt an animal for a bit of cash, that vets would be the LAST ones willing to do it. Makes me think they becamse vets because they wanted the prestige and power but weren’t good enough to become huma doctors. Or something like that. Like lawyers and notaries. The vet is lesser. But still a doctor. Well why else did they become vets then? Not because they love animals. Anybody?

    • ‘Well why else did they become vets then? Not because they love animals. Anybody?’

      There is no answer to that Marc, vets who declaw cats certainly don’t love animals, they know full well that declawing causes suffering and I wonder if they don’t care about that because cats come below dogs in their estimation.
      I’ve seen comments about vets being shocked if anyone asks for their dog to be declawed, it’s a rare vet who would agree (although there are some declawed small dogs, the type carried around) If they are shocked and horrified at the thought of declawing dogs then why not cats? Dogs claws can cause a lot of damage.
      Cats suffering can be hidden away of course, a limping declawed dog out on a walk would be very noticeable and people full of sympathy for the dog and outrage at the owner. Who sees an indoor cat suffering? Only those who paid a vet to cause that suffering!

      • Wow – so well and exactly put Ruth. I totally agree. And the dog thing. I didn’t think about that before. I wonder how many vets are against debarking but not against declawing cats. Quite a few I suspect, which shows how deeply engrained the ‘cats are second class’ attitude is in people.

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