An American’s comment about declawing and other things

Introduction from Michael

This is a comment from Ann to the claw caps webpage so it is about declawing but provides some background information as well and refers to other incidents. I think it is interesting – thank you Ann for sharing – as a snapshot of American cat/human life in relation to declawing. I don’t know if it is typical but is probably fairly reflective of a segment of American society.

Sometimes l like to turn comments into articles if they provide some insights beyond the normal.

I have cleaned up the text as Ann had difficulty in getting the words down into the comment box. Ann refers to Marri a person who also commented on the same page.

The comment

Hi Marri, Let me tell you my story, then I will get to the point: we have had all rescue dogs and cats for about 30 years; from new born to terminally ill with leukaemia or FIV (feline immunodeficiency disease). At the time of writing our eldest kitty is 15 years old and still plays like a young kitten in all senses of the word.

Spaz came to us as an orphan – a very feral young kitten. I watched an elderly neighbor shoot Spaz’s mother point-blank in a wood pile.

I had Spaz declawed on the front only because it “was the thing to do” at the time. Next is 11-year-old Simon. He was abandoned by someone in a nearby neighborhood, adopted by a neighbor (he was a little kitten) and when the kids decided they didn’t like him so they put him out the door only to be shot by another neighbor.

I took him in and we got him neutered and the bullet taken out of him where it landed on his spine. He died on the operating table and they brought him back to life. I did not have him declawed at all. He’s been through enough. He hasn’t let me down either!!

Then comes Missy out of the corn field who made friends with Annie, our rescue therapy dog (another wonderful story for another time). We made a living space on our porch for Missy and all was well until a family of foxes moved in and started to kill the outside cats so we brought Missy in.

She provoked herself to be a dangerous boxer with a strong right hook. We had to declaw. Our vet suggested a new procedure of laser declaw, but there’s NO decapitation AT ALL!!! The nail and nailbed are the only things removed!! She doesn’t walk around with only 1/2 a foot!!!

Next is our Gideon, he was found in an engine as a wee tiny kitten. We adopted him after being uncommitted for a while after our Bobby passed over the Rainbow Bridge. We really wanted to adopt an older hard to adopt cat….we did NOT declaw Gideon. We decided to wait and see how he was; he is REALLY SMART.

We found these things worked: spending time with our cats, talking to them, real words, not baby talk, being PATIENT, training them well (we clicker train) and do not ever raise the voice!! Well, except to call for dinner or something FUN! Otherwise, if you need them in a dire emergency, they will run and hide ( same thing true for dogs!!)

Cats thrive on praise, pets, and permanence. They need stability. With a drastic change in the cat’s environment and/or life, including moving furniture, we need to add the word perception…we need to be especially sensitive to the needs of our cat.

Your cat Marri, I agree, did not mean to scratch you, whatever happened only he knows and if he meant it for wrong/evil/anger whatever, he WOULD NOT be curled against you at the same and dogs are not hypocrites, nor are they liars, it isn’t in them like it is human, that is what separates us.

Cat with loss of fur around neck due to flea collar

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Keep an eye on your precious boy, I know you will be fine. The rest of my story..remember Missy with strong right hook we had lasered in front? Five years later she has developed some kind of allergy to food, flea meds or all the above or SOMETHING!!

The vet is stumped, she has tried everything, and we are trying all we can, Missy has a bald neck and I’m even making a “cozy” for her to wear instead of e-collars all her life, the others are all too big. And, yes, she is on grain-free food. All the cats are inside only, shoes off when come in, etc…I will not laser-declaw her just so she won’t keep shredding her neck and ears, (flea meds orally) and causing infections. I wash her often, as per vet instructions. So we are trying the KITTY CAPS. Now, wouldn’t some of you nay-sayers think this is a better alternative (to declawing)??

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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37 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    The comment made me angry, the ignorance of “no decapitation”, the acceptance that declawing was the thing to do, even acknowledging that declawed cats walk around on half a foot. I’m sorry but I’m not impressed by this person at all, and even less for using the damned clicker training that reduces cats to mechanical automatons responding to a stupid noise. If declawing was banned it wouldn’t matter how ignorant cat “owners” were because they would be prevented by law from surgical abuse of their cats.

    • kylee says:

      Exactly Barbara I cant understand how they can sleep at night, how their Conscience doesn’t make them feel what they are doing is wrong?

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    From Paw Project Utah
    We have an ongoing study which currently comprises 100 cats. Yes, we have seen quite a few cats who are very painful due to big p3 fragments left over, however, we have seen even more declawed cats without P3 fragments (declawed via scalpel excision or laser) who are consistently the highest rating on our signs of pain scale (according to AAFP standards). While the scalpel and laser declaw techniques do require more time and surgical precision to perform, they are also fraught with complications. In fact, PPU and PPI are seeing a higher incidence of extremely painful osteomyelitis in P2 even years post op with cats declawed via the laser technique. Thermal injury to P2 itself and the surrounding tissue including vesselsand nerves is the suspected primary cause. Those vessels and nerves you speak of which you say you can see recede and shrink need to stay intact and viable immediately post op or the remaining P2 is compromised significantly setting it up for osteomyelitis. The laser and aggressive scalpel excision techniques do not allow for this to happen. With these preliminary findings, we will be fleshing out a better cohort group of owned declawed groups for our study. We will be sure to keep you informed once we have a strong enough P value to make blanket claims and have our boarded veterinary experts file their formal reports, however the trends we are seeing speak for themselves. Also, please be aware that the arthritic carpal pathology abnormal plantigrade stance, and paw pad abcesses from cushioning abnormal forces that ANY declawed cat experiences will occur with ANY declaw technique and ANY declaw procedure with ANY price tag.

  3. kylee says:

    I’m very disgusted how could any human do that to an animal?? Its disgusting what some vets do around the world. Its opened my eyes just really what goes on. I agree in part what marc is saying. I guess here in New Zealand things are so much different. I guess its always good to Question the Vets and ask Questions. Yes its always important to Empathize as you couldn’t be a cat lover if you have no Empathy or no Feelings at all. I do believe that one day there will be no Animals left esp wild ones. I’m totally against De clawing still dont understand why it happens, even how people do it just to protect their furniture which i think is stupid!!. So I’ve said my peace i can just not imagine having a cat that was declawed even claw clips. Just leave them alone, they need all their bits.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      You are a true cat lover Kylee, caring about ALL cats.
      Here in England if we mention declawing to people, even those who don’t particularly like cats, they are shocked and horrified and can’t believe anyone would want to take a cat’s claws away. Is it the same in NZ?
      Will any of your vets tell you their views on it? I think you are the only person in our PoC family from your country.

      • kylee says:

        Hi there, I could ask them next time i go see them. Yes, i do feel very disgusted that around the world many people have horrible situitons with their vets. Its really sad, I guess its the times we are living in really. I’ll definitely do my best to find out what their stance is when I go see them next. Jasmine, will need to go sometime soon just waiting till the bill down a little. I’ve included a photo of what Jasmine looks like now as shes 5 Months old I will resize the picture.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          Jasmine is gorgeous )

          • kylee says:

            Yea shes getting Beautiful everyday. Shes really getting older now. I just wanted to put it in there for those that dont see what she looks like from a kitten. I’m trying to get better at taking photos. Its a learning experience.

  4. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    A simple diagram of the truth about declawing

    • Thanks Ruth. Let’s hope it educates one American. Even that is worthwhile.

      • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

        It’s the ‘accepting without question’ that baffles me. Do the people who hand their cats over for declawing, hand their children over to surgeons without asking what the surgery will be and how it will affect the child?

  5. Marc says:

    I’m glad this lady saved a few cats from what seems to be typical trigger happy American neighbours for some areas. So that’s possibly a good thing.

    It’s also not as bad to declaw ‘because it’s the thing to do’ than it is to declaw because of a right hook or whatever. If you don’t know any better and everybody is doing something and you do it without finding out more then it’s typical human behaviour we are all guilty of, but probably with less harsh consequences. When it’s something as serious as this it is extremely careless to have an inherent trust in doctors and society. If you didn’t go out your way to find out more then I would call that careless.

    However, if you remove the claws, not because it’s the done thing, but because you don’t want scratching, that is a whole different kettle of fish. That is downright evil and wrong and no argument will ever come close to decent in contradiction. What people don’t realize is how bad it is, and how well cats hide pain. If they knew that and cared more about their cats wellbeing they would never do it, not ever.

    Furthermore, in the face of all the information about declawing, I find it incredible that it goes on.

    Let me tell you exactly what it is like. Precisely. When ISIS wants information I’m sure they commit awful acts of torture on people. The classic first step is to pull out their finger nails. Aftewwards they just start removing finger ends. People cave in. And 4 hours later, tell me, do you think they are still in pain? Methinks they probably are. So even if, like a cat, they were asleep when it was done, they will wake up in total agony, unable to walk or use their hands.

    So now lets say that there was a reason to do this, like having to remove people’s finger ends because, for example, they have stolen something. Sharia dictates that if you steal, you lose your whole hand actually. Well, it’s the same thing.

    IF you scratch we will remove your fingers.

    Humans are amazing aren’t they. They can justify almost anything. They are effing narcissists and we all deserve to die.

    • Marc says:

      The reason why we hear this kind of thing – this sort of ‘reason’ or ‘excuse’ or defence over declawing is simple.

      Those people have not actually tried to empathise. They have based their righteousness on the idea that cats are lucky to have them and a home, and they think it’s reasonable to do this to protect themselves and their home, sometimeas even claiming the declaw saved the cat because they could keep it.

      People who are tortured notoriously would rather die than be tortured. It’s worse being alive sometimes. It’s arrogant and assuming to presume otherwise of a cat. People trust their vets too much. They listen to people like us who are not vets and they choose the vets, in part because we are all brought up to respect and trust authority and expertise.

      Well what kind of world have the experts given us you stupid morons (to use a fave word of Jimbo) and why the hell do you blindly trust these dick vets in the face of so much opposing evidence?

      That was rhetorical. The reason is just because what the vet says suits them, so it’s much easier to ignore the reality and not bother to research other options or to learn exactly, in detail, what is being done, and what the chances are it will go wrong. Sure, then it’s well easy init. Just get on with the job and ignore what you don’t want to know.

      Ignorance is the key to our emotional retardation. It lets us do so much that is wrong and what’s so insideous about it is that we no longer see it as wrong, because we don’t know anything about it (because we ignored it) – and that’s why we as a species are a train wreck waiting to happen.

      • They have based their righteousness on the idea that cats are lucky to have them and a home, and they think it’s reasonable to do this to protect themselves and their home, sometimes even claiming the declaw saved the cat because they could keep it

        I agree. Some haven’t tried to empathise. My response to your other comment made this point. I think, I sense, that some American cat owners have an inflated view of their self-importance and very much look down upon the lowly domestic cat as an animal likely be where they are; domesticated and being looked after and as a consequence the human can do as they please with the cat including declawing and the occasional shooting with a hand gun.

        This is entirely alien to me and I believe to many Europeans who have a tendency to look upon their cat as more of an equal, a true family member.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      ‘Humans are amazing aren’t they. They can justify almost anything. They are effing narcissists and we all deserve to die’

      I couldn’t agree more Marc x

    • I was responding to Ruth by saying that Ann seems somewhat unconcerned about the whole declawing debate. She also seems unconcerned about cats being shot with handguns. It almost seems there is a background of brutality and violence within American society which makes it almost normal or unsurprising to brutalise domestic and stray cats in this way. Perhaps it is the fact that there are lots of guns in America and some Americans have the attitude that animals are secondary, very secondary to humans and that they are there to support people rather than be treated on an equal footing and a respectful way. To me it’s a very crude way of thinking. And as you say humans are amazing in their thinking and behaviour. It just seems so irrational, brutal and ignorant to me. It’s uncivilised. Sometimes I think humankind is reverting, going backwards. I think I’ve remarked on that before.

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    ‘Spaz came to us as an orphan – a very feral young kitten.I had Spaz declawed on the front only because it “was the thing to do” at the time’

    The thing to do at the time? To have a very young feral kitten declawed! A kitten born wild! He was put through supposedly last resort surgery for serious scratching behaviour AFTER all other ways to train a cat where to scratch has failed. He didn’t even have a chance to learn to use a scratching post! Words fail me!!!!
    The vet who crippled that little kitten should be struck off!

    • It is the casualness with which she writes this which is telling. It is just done as if it’s normal but we know that. We know that this is the attitude of many people who declawed their cats. Ruth, this idea is so deeply entrenched in the culture that in some ways I find it difficult to blame people in America. It is hard to blame an individual person. It is better to blame the entire culture, the nation but individuals are simply raised the idea and indoctrinated with it.

  7. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    ‘Our vet suggested a new procedure of laser declaw, but there’s NO decapitation AT ALL!!! The nail and nailbed are the only things removed!! She doesn’t walk around with only 1/2 a foot!!!’

    This person obviously doesn’t know that the nail bed IS BONE, the claw cells are IN the bone and if that bone is not removed the claws will grow back crookedly. The poor cat IS walking around with part of her paws missing and no doubt will suffer in the future, if she is not suffering in silence already. Laser declawing is no different to any other method it amputates the toe ends by burning them off rather than cutting them off.

    • She probably has been misinformed by the veterinarian. As we know some veterinarians misinform their clients about declawing. However, her comment highlights the lack of knowledge of what the declawing process entails by a significant percentage of American citizens.

  8. dmricciardi says:

    I agree Michael. . this article was both good and bad. . . you know my stance on declawing, and I stand by it. . .

    • To a European is has a very strong flavour of American small town way of life which is why I found it interesting. I may wrong in that assessment.

      • dmricciardi says:

        No, actually, at one time, this was a way of thinking here in the US. I’m hoping that this gets changed — and pronto!!!!!!

      • Dee (Florida) says:

        Some of Ann’s comments aren’t depictive of typical America. She sounds to be living in a rural area (barns, cornfields). Regardless of any laws, there are places that seem to live by their own “codes”, where shooting a cat or dog or watching someone shooting, seems acceptable to some. It doesn’t sound as if she condoned the shooting; but, she didn’t do anything about it either. That wouldn’t happen in most of America.

        She doesn’t take a strong stance on declawing.
        She got sucked into the vet’s “new and improved” version for declawing. She’s another example of someone who has blind faith in authoritative figures.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      The ignorance of pro declaws astounds me! You know how cruel declawing is dm and so do I and many others, so what I can’t understand is the mentality of those who don’t know, OR who do know and put their kittens/cats through it anyway and ruin their lives.
      We HAVE to get declawing banned to stop this!

      • dmricciardi says:

        indeed, Ruth. . .declawing is declawing — no matter how it’s done. . .

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          It worries me how many more people this person has told about the ‘new procedure of laser declaw’
          We have to set the record straight to stop anyone else believing it!
          I checked this so called ‘new’ method with Dr Jean Hofve a while back to make sure and she told me there is no ‘new’ method, it’s just a way for declaw vets to sell more declawing.

      • The thing is, Ruth, I don’t believe (I am not sure though) that this lady is actually pro-declawing. I don’t think she’s either for it or against it. Although at the end of her comment she hints of the fact that she dislikes it and sees the alternative of a claw cap has a good thing. Although I sense that she still might believe in declawing (ambivalence). Once again this is because it is deeply ingrained in the culture of America.

      • I am going to do a short post today based upon what my veterinarian told me about declawing America. I had the chance to talk to him yesterday when I took Charlie to the vet. I interviewed him off-camera and informally to get his views on declawing. It’s rather depressing I have to say.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          I’m glad you got your vet to talk anyway Michael, I’ll look forward to your article. As you know only one vet out of the many I contacted agreed to do it. We’ve been to our own vets a few times lately but I was too worried about our boyz to bring up the subject.
          How is Charlie? Nothing seriously wrong I hope.

  9. My thanks to Ann for letting me publish her article. For me, and I stress this is a personal view, what Ann has written is both good and bad. The good side of it is that she shows an insight into how to care for a cat well except I don’t particularly agree with clicker training a cat.

    As for declawing, she has, it seems to me, decided to stop declawing cats but I don’t like the way that Ann declawed Missy because she had a ‘right hook’. I presume this to mean that she used to scratch her but that is because of the caretaker not the cat in my opinion.

    I’m intrigued by the cat shootings. The way they are described indicates to me that they go on all the time and nobody does anything about it. What I mean is nobody reported it to the police as a crime which by the way what I would expect because of the large number of guns in America and the propensity to use them on something and cats are an obvious target.

    Another aspect of the comment that I find a bit odd is Missy’s lack of hair around her neck (see the picture). This to me is obviously caused by the flea collar and therefore I do not see why the vet was perplexed by it. Perhaps I have missed the point. Personally I would have stopped using the flea collar ages ago and ensured my house was as near as possible flea free and applied a product like Frontline Spot Treatment for a while.

    Finally, I like the comment that Ann makes about declawing being the thing to do at the time. She uses the past tense which indicates to me that there has been a change in mentality albeit a small one both for cat owners and veterinarians I hope.

    • Marc says:

      Michael I believe every neighbourhood in Toronto, and probably all Canada and further, has a group of at least 4 or 5 emotionally stunted kids in it who at some point have caught and tortured at least one cat. That’s just how it goes over there. I believe the reason for this is very bad education. Crappy high schools. Nobody learns anything.

      I think it really is normal to hear about this happening and I think everyone in Toronto has probably at some point in their life had somebody tell them or found out about a cat being tortured or killed in their area or circle of acquaintances or their school or institution. It’s a normal phenomena in Toronto. And they don’t have guns their either.

      So I have no doubt at all that in some parts of the US it is just part of everyday life to have people around you who would do such terrible things without a second thought. You have to be emotionally stable and strong to handle that sort of thing if it goes on in front of you.

      Personally I have always taken it upon myself to get retribution my own way because I have no faith in the law there, nor did I trust any cop to do his job. I’ve filled people engines with caster sugar before for poisoning a cat with anti freeze. My neighbour spent his whole life building this crazy sculture of a house. One day I saw him throw a rock at MY cat.

      Next time he was on holiday I literally tore down about 20 or 30 years of his hard work (he used to cut pool cues into thousands of slices and build these sculptures out of the little round bits – whole tree sized ornate things, it was probably about the most physical destruction I have ever inflicted. He nearly had a heart attack. After that he never slept I swear. He would be out patrolling the bloody alleyway the whole night. And whenever he went back inside I would make a little noise to get him all nervous again. The best part, he thought I liked him and I was naive and stupid. Playing dumb gets you anywhere because people will not suspect wrong intention.

      There is one even better part. I was living in little portugal, surrounded by people from tiny villages in portugal who wanted it to be portugal and all nice and clean and totally fascist, but after my little smash up and the car incident. and a few other incidents involving other gang kids who were living in my building, the value of all their houses dropped because of the crime. Of course being ignorant some of them will never even know the real reason for everything. They probably think there’s crazy vandalists all around stalking their houses. It feeds their ignorant attitudes tenfold because they react in all the wrong ways.

      It’s bad to seek out revenge and these things did not make me feel better, they just stoked my anger. But looking back on it now I am glad I did it. I’m happy if they suffer, and that is the god honest truth of the matter. It gives me actual emotional pleasure to see bad people suffer and watch them get all angry and behave pig the pigeffers they are. If they want to be fascist pigs, so let them, why not help them even. They need reasons to be agressive just like the western countries need terrorism to legitimize their behaviour. If they don’t get it from one place they will just find it in another.

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