I’m being polite in the title. I could have said that they are a sham but I expect and hope that they do some good with respect to delivering good vet services to domestic cats but it is eroded by what I describe below. Their motto on their website states “Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats”. This is a misrepresentation.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) accredit veterinary practices where the declawing of cats is carried out for non-therapeutic purposes. In fact, some of their registered members have such a passion for declawing that if an employee veterinary technician speaks out about it and complains politely about it they are sacked summarily. The following is an example.
There is a veterinary practice in south-central United States which was awarded a gold certificate by the AAFP In 2012. With a gold certificate comes the words “has taken the optimum steps to become a cat friendly practice by creating a practice that values the feline patient’s distinct needs in both the physical environment of the practice and the way in which medical care is delivered”.
The cat-friendly veterinary clinic in question (which resolutely declaws cats for non-therapeutic purposes) state as their mission statement:
“The importance we place in all our efforts to educate both staff and clients is something that sets us apart as a veterinary practice…”.
Yet this special practice does not at any stage try and educate their clients about alternatives to declawing. They declaw cats on demand, no questions asked. I know this because one of their former vet techs speaks up about it on a Facebook page. She is the vet tech who was summarily sacked after having tried politely and persistently to get the practice to consider educating clients about the declawing of cats rather than doing it on demand. She became miserable in her thwarted efforts and eventually she posted some photographs of a recently declawed cat on Facebook (the photos are also on PoC). The practice concerned had a spy working on behalf of them who spotted the photographs and within 24 hours she was sacked. Also, she was threatened with a lawsuit unless she removed the photographs. Not only was she fired but her husband was as well.
A respected board-certified feline specialist at the clinic told her in a phone call that if she did not believe in declawing then she should work in a store bagging groceries instead and not work in a veterinary hospital. Charming.
This particular veterinary practice produced the same old cliches as to why they did it. They say that if they don’t declaw cats other practices will and they will do a worse job of it than they do. I don’t find that a very compelling argument, do you? They also say that unless they declaw cat owners will abandon their cats. I don’t find that a very compelling argument either. It’s about education and there’s no reason on God’s earth why they can’t run seminars to educate clients about declawing and what it actually is in order to prevent their clients from (a) demanding an operation which is very cruel and unnecessary or (b) abandoning their cats
It is ironic that at this same clinic the vets were more than willing to educate their clients about feline heartworm disease and how to treat it. This is because it allowed them to sell medication. Anything that prevented somebody requesting treatment or surgery was kept quiet about. This is about business and business is the priority.
This particular vet tech describes how the declawing operation is so vastly different to sterilising operations. There is far more pain after a declawing operation than after a sterilising operation. There are more complications. The veterinary technician concerned says there were lots of complications and infections but the clients were never told about these potential complications before they asked for a declawing operation. This is misleading the client. This vet tech says that many times the cats would thrash around in their cages after the operation vocalising loudly and tearing at the pressure bandages on their paws because they were in so much pain. Some declawed cats were traumatised she says. They became more defensive and harder to handle. All this gave her nightmares. And let’s not forget that this is one of the best hospitals with the most dedicated feline veterinary practitioners. What are the other veterinary practices like that were less good? You can only imagine.
Back to the title of this article. What I have written is correct because the AAFP is misleading the public in their motto. They are misrepresenting themselves because they allow practices to register with them who declaw cats for no other reason other than to enhance their profits. This is not being passionate about the care of cats. It is being passionate about making money at the expense of cats.
P.S. If I knew the name of the clinic I’d name and shame but I don’t have it.