American Cat Owner Living in UK Changes Opinion about Declawing

This is a story about an American and his wife living in England who has, in my opinion, lost or at least partially lost the indoctrination that is imbued into Americans that declawing is satisfactory and even a good idea. If you like, he has seen the light or his brain has been reprogrammed by the quaint English custom which says that declawing is illegal and which is banned under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Many other countries have banned it.

Beautiful claws
Beautiful claws
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The story proves that it is possible for Americans to change their minds once they are in a place and in an environment where they are able more clearly to see alternatives. In this instance the alternative was to adopt kittens and to trim their claws from an early age which proved fairly easy to do and which acclimatised the kittens to having their claws trimmed. It was simple as that, this American discovered. Why can’t this scenario be repeated more often in the USA?

The difficulties of trimming cat clawsThe difficulties of trimming cat claws

The American’s name is Judd Birdsall. He is the author of an article in the Huffington Post. He starts off the article by saying that when he walks through a British village the sees cats outside which he found surprising. He says that there are tens of millions of cats in the USA and lots of them live inside which is “as nature intended”. Not in my opinion. How can it be nature’s intention that the domestic cat lives inside? It is more “as humans intended”.

He was, quite justifiably, surprised by the fact that British people accept that their cat might be killed on the roads. I too find this surprising and, frankly, unjustifiably. People in Britain living in urban areas should be very concerned about their cat if he/she is now outdoor cat. The British are too laissez-faire about their cat being killed on the roads. I, for one, live in an apartment where I am quite a long way from any hazardous roads so feel quite confident that my cat is safe in that respect. I selected the apartment as suitable for me and my cat in equal measure.

Judd Birdsall was able to find a shelter in Britain which did not insist that he allows his cats to go outside. Some shelters do insist that their adopted cats are not kept inside which I too find rather surprising to be honest. He was therefore able to adopt a brother and sister kitten and he found, as mentioned, that he was able to trim their claws quite easily. In fact, it became a fun pastime which proves that it should be done far more often by far more people.

He decided to keep the cats indoors, American-style. But in a very un-American way, this person who is a dyed-in-the-wool cat declawer decided that it is possible not to declaw your cat and still live contentedly with him or her. Having trimmed the claws there is no danger of being scratched badly and in providing a proper scratching post he discovered that his furniture is safe as well.

He says, to quote:

“The only thing they have damaged [meaning his cats’ claws] is my American confidence in the goodness and necessity of declawing… I used to cling to declawing as just another quirky aspect of American exceptionalism. But I now see that it may not be an exceptionally good idea.”

He appears to have reluctantly agreed that you don’t need to declaw your cat and I hope that his article is read by very many Americans. There needs to be a lot of Americans who change their mind because he also quotes some figures about the popularity and ingrained approach to declawing in America.

A 2010 survey found that 59% of American pet owners believe that declawing is acceptable. While 32% of cat owners have declawed their cat or cats.

The same survey discovered that a 18% of cat owners would support the banning of declawing in America, while 60% would oppose a ban. In addition, 36% said they would strongly oppose a ban. These figures clearly indicate a massive entrenchment of the culture of declawing in America which supports my contention that it will be a very long time before it fades away in America and Canada if is not banned beforehand. It needs to be banned by one state such as NY and others might then follow in due course.

Mr Birdsall made no mention of the detrimental effect to health that the declawing operation may have.

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My thanks to Dr Jennifer Conrad DVM for finding the source article.

5 thoughts on “American Cat Owner Living in UK Changes Opinion about Declawing”

  1. “He was, quite justifiably, surprised by the fact that British people accept that their cat might be killed on the roads. I too find this surprising and, frankly, unjustifiably.”

    No he wasn’t “justifiably” surprised, and neither are you. A minuscule amount of cats are killed on British roads rather than the bogus and laughable “1 in 4” unsourced claim he put in the article. I find the ignorance of Americans like you unsurprising.

  2. Many in the US are opposed,but antiquated ideas from many vets hinder the progress of getting it banned. Same goes for TNR.In some places it has been banned. If your possessions mean more than a living being you need not have an animal companion,and you need to discover which is of more value,a life,or a couch? And they can be trained not to destroy the furniture. Or have a cat room. Buy second hand furniture. People worry too much about how it looks as opposed to the true value.

  3. I am entirely AGAINST declawing. Whenever anyone asks me how I feel about it, I tell them, “well, let’s start off by taking you to a surgeon and having the first knuckle of all of your fingers removed, and see what you think about it!!” The problem, mainly, in America, is that people are mis-informed. Most people I’ve talked with about it did not realize that it was actually an amputation.

    It’s good to know that this person finally came to his senses about declawing. 2 of my rescues were already front declawed when I got them, but I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER declaw ANY anipal!!

    Excellent article Michael!! ♥♥♥

    • Thanks Diane. The story proves that people can change their opinion. Too many unthinkingly declaw their cat as if it is a standard procedure. It isn’t. The vets need to do more to educate but they tend to do the opposite and subtly encourage it.


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