Will Women Veterinarians Stop the Declawing of Cats In the USA?

female vets and declawingTraditionally, women are the nurturers and men are the hunters. It seems that those roles are cast in concrete. These roles go back to the beginning of homo sapiens. The roles are alive and well today. Perhaps men are deliberately ensuring that these specific roles remain in place because it suits them. It is still a man’s world and arguably men want to keep women down in the home, out of the way looking after the children while they get on with the job of bringing in the bread with less competition from women. As an aside…..certainly in places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan women is squashed socially by men through removing them from education. Muslim extremists (Boko Haram) in Africa hate the education of girls.

So the question is whether women are genetically programmed to be nurturers or whether men have just decided that they should be nurturers despite evolution tending to merge the roles.

If women are genetically programmed to be nurturers then you would be forgiven for thinking that it must be extremely difficult for a female veterinarian to declaw a domestic cat on the instructions of the cat’s owner and at the convenience of the cat’s owner without there being a shred of benefit in it for the domestic cat: quite the contrary, obviously, because the cat will suffer tremendously as a result and will have 10 lifelong amputations to deal with.

So, let’s for a minute make a presumption that because women are nurturers they find it very difficult to declaw cats or at least they find it much more difficult than men to carry out the operation. That would seem to be a reasonable presumption because nurturing means the following:

  • care for and encourage the growth or development of.
  • something that nourishes

“Care for” and “nourishes” are a phrase and the word which, as far as I’m concerned, are at the other end of the spectrum from what happens when a veterinarian removes the last phalange of the ten front toes of a domestic cat. There is a brutality about that operation and there’s nothing caring in it. The operation does not nourish the cat but damages the cat. Nourishment implies something is given while the operation take something away from the cat: the exact opposite.

And, in this article, I am equating the nurturing of a baby with the nurturing of a domestic cat and I think that is a very reasonable thing to do because many female cat owners regard their domestic cat companion to be a family member on an equal footing to their children.

Which brings me to another difficult question: why do women who are very good mothers to their children, ask a veterinarian to declaw their cat? This apparent conflict in behaviours may indicate that women are not genetically programmed to be nurturers but, as stated in the opening paragraph, they are subtly kept in the nurturing role by men who still run the world.

Despite that rather pessimistic outlook, at present in America, 50% of veterinarians are women while 80% of veterinary students are women. This implies that in the future more than 50% of veterinarians in America will be women which begs question whether there will be a slowing up of the declawing of cats in the future because of this changing demographic.

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Will Women Veterinarians Stop the Declawing of Cats In the USA? — 16 Comments

  1. When I hear that someone has a vet who declaws I always think ‘he’ and I don’t know why because a lot of female vets declaw too.
    I’ve just been reading today of a cat with behavioural problems from declawing, but her female vet denies the declawing caused them. It obviously did because the cat is in pain too when she jumps!
    I can’t think how any female vet can perform such cruel surgery, I can’t think how any female vet tech can assist either, there is no way I could ever have assisted with deliberately crippling a cat.
    Then again there are male vets who are anti declaw and look at Jackson Galaxy, he’s a real man and totally against it.
    To be honest I don’t think it matters if a person is male or female, either sex can have cold hearts when it comes to money over cats!

  2. I don’t think the sex of the vet matters today.
    And, I tend not to believe that there is a lot of genetic programming regarding nurturing.
    I think most of that is religion based.
    Women have become quite competitive here in the workforce. There are multitudes of well educated women choosing not to have children. If they do, they’re having them much later in life than what used to be the case. There’s also quite a bit of role reversal going on that can, probably, be attributed to the state of economy. If the husband is a builder, there is very little work for him while his wife, who may be a legal secretary, has a secure job and will become the bread winner.
    In any case, in the workforce, women are swept up into the greed and corruption that was once a mans’ world. Maybe more so, because they are still determined to prove themselves.
    Greed doesn’t discriminate .

    • Nice points, Dee. I had hoped that the nurturing woman would save the cat’s claws. I had hoped that she who is a mother Earth figure would put the brakes on the declawing of cats as more and more women joined the veterinary profession but alas you tell me no and although you paint a pessimistic picture I think you paint a realistic one as well.

      Men do want women to be nurturing and stay at home, in general, but in truth there is a gradual equality and women are taking on men’s roles and becoming more like men unfortunately because they are drinking more and smoking more and shortening their lives. And you may have noticed that the lifespan of men and women is gradually equalising whereas in the past men lived considerably shorter lives.

      Personally I think women should not try and be like men because it hurts them and in any case being a nurturing woman who is gentle etc. is a very valuable asset in society.

      I still believe that it must feel unnatural for a woman to remove the claws of the cat for no good reason. This must prick the conscience of many female veterinarians (and of course many male veterinarians).

  3. Michael,

    Sadly to say, since this is SUCH a lucrative procedure, with the growing number of women entering the field- thirsty to pay off their educational debts, will continue declawing cats. It is such a profit making bit of dirty, disgusting- far from humane procedure that DOES incredible harm to our cats that this will go on and on and on unless we can get legislation passed to ban it.

    This said there may be a few brave, courageous new veterinarians- both male and female who have decided that this surgery should NOT be done. Will they influence their colleagues? I doubt it sadly to say.

    • Today in The Times newspaper a well-known journalist Giles Coren stated that if what we do carries no empathy whatsoever and is only based upon money then it is pretty well worthless. On that basis the veterinarians who declaw for the sole reason to make more money are doing something which is worthless and if you’re doing something that is worthless you cannot gain satisfaction from it and therefore in declawing cats veterinarians are taking out of their work a lot of the inherent enjoyment that should be part of it. Making more money is no substitute for doing worthwhile work that is satisfying. I guess they forgot about that.

  4. Thank you, Michael, once again.

    The question is twofold, at the very least. Now. I am off on a tangent…

    Are men culturally becoming more sensitive to their own roles as caretakers? Is this way off-base, because of traditional roles in any given society? Why are some social circumstances more conducive to men being able to employ themselves in a role that is insensitive to their counterparts.

    • I think men are becoming more sensitive and women less sensitive perhaps. I probably believe that our roles are hard wired so whatever happens we will retain the same underlying motivations that we had millions of years ogo.

  5. I think ‘womens lib’ has gone too far and it’s quite frightening to us older people to see raw aggression in young females, they are trying to be like men!
    I’ll get shot down in flames by some women, but take being a soldier, women don’t have the physique to fight, I don’t think it’s fair on their male colleagues.
    I have always been brave when it’s for a cause, but those women here with the multitude of cats breeding even dress like men and I have no doubt whatsoever they could turn physically violent. They are anti social in many ways other than not having their cats neutered, but no one dares to challenge them.
    I’ve worked with both male and female vets and did find the women showed more emotion that the men but all were equally caring and I’m sure not a single one of them would have ever declawed a cat if they were asked to.

    • Thank you Ruth. I feel the same way as you about women trying to be men! It doesn’t work and it is a misguided objective. I agree that men can be equally caring to women. I just hoped that the innate nurturing ability of women because they are childbearing and they do give birth to children might express itself in their attitude towards the domestic cat when they are amputating parts of their toes, but sadly not.

  6. No Michael sadly not and it seems that increasingly more and more women are hurting, even murdering their own offspring then the poor little feline doesn’t stand a chance. Women are becoming more like men in a lot of respects and yes there’s this raw aggression and its frightening. Is it evolution or just a shift with modern times?

    • Women are becoming more like men in a lot of respects

      Well, I agree with that and it is a shame. The women’s lib movement must be partly to blame. Women should not try and be like men. Life is better for a woman doing what she is good at and I am all for equality and open choices for all but not shoe-horning women into male roles if they don’t want it. I feel some women are pressured into taking on male roles.

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