An interview with a UK veterinarian about declawing

This is what declawing is
This is what declawing is. Image in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Intro: the page was first published in 2014. I have republished it today, Aug 2, 2022. It starts with a conversation between Ruth and a veterinarian with whom she worked.

Hello John, I hope you and your family are well. I don’t know if you remember me, we worked together way back in the 1980s for a while before you moved on. I’m contacting you now on behalf of Pictures of Cats (PoC) owned by Michael Broad, which as the name implies is a web site all about cats:

As you will see, it has numerous educational pages about cats and also the declawing of cats, which are mostly written by Michael himself, but also other writers contribute, including me. I also design posters for the site in the quest to educate about the cruelty of declawing and to ultimately help get it banned.

Would you agree to answer a few questions about a UK vets thoughts on the declawing of cats? It is of course banned in our country and as far as I know we have never declawed cats at all, but Michael would like the views of UK vets on this subject.

Ruth

Well hello Ruth, of course I remember you and how you guided this here vet when he was young and very green. I don’t mind answering some questions but I’d like my identity protected because of professional ethics. If that’s OK then go ahead and ask….

John

Interviewing a British veterinarian about the American declawing of cats
Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Q. Did you know the declawing of cats is still legal in the USA and Canada?
A. Yes I did and as it happens I was talking to a colleague about this the other day.

Q. Do you believe declawing is acceptable in some circumstances?
A. No way, never!

Q. Do you believe declawing is breaking the veterinarian’s sworn oath?
A. By God yes I do.

Q. Were you taught how to declaw a cat when you were studying veterinary medicine?
A. Why no, it wasn’t an option to declaw a cat. We were instructed of course on how to amputate a limb in the case of an incurable disease or an accident when the animal’s leg couldn’t be saved. As I see it there is no way to declaw a cat apart from the amputation of the last phalanx which can’t be called declawing at all.

Q.Do you know of the problems declawing can cause a cat?
A. I’d say there has to be both mental and physical trauma and the cat prone to serious complications later in life.

Q. Why do you think some vets continue to declaw cats?
A. Because it’s legal and pleases the client and I expect it brings in much revenue also.

Q. Have you heard of the Paw Project?
A. Yes I have.

Q. Have you heard of the Paw Project branches in various cities who are gathering hard scientific facts about the consequences of declawing?
A. My colleague mentioned something about that the other day, he’s a right internet buff, but I haven’t had time to look into it yet. To be honest because it doesn’t affect our country I don’t see there is much point. I’ve quite enough to contend with already running a busy practice. But take heart, I can’t envisage declawing staying legal for much longer.

Q. The Paw Project vets are x-raying the paws of declawed cats from animal/cat shelters because despite the excuse declawing vets make that declawing cats keeps them in their homes, it isn’t so. They are finding a high percent of those cats with bone fragments from botched declawing. Those cats live their lives in pain.
A. Shocking but not surprising because as I already said there is no way to declaw a cat, it’s physically impossible to amputate the claws alone.

Q. Would you come out publicly against USA vets who declaw?
A. No, sorry I don’t think any vet from any country would. It’s down to professional ethics again. But that doesn’t mean if I met up with an American vet who declaws I wouldn’t have a quiet word in his ear on how I feel about the subject.

Q. So you would like to see declawing banned worldwide?
A. God, yes for sure.

Q. Were you ever asked to declaw a cat before it was illegal in the UK?
A. Not at all in my so far 30+ years of practising, first as an employee and then with my own practice.

Q. Just one last question, do you think all UK vets are of the same mind as you?
A. I can’t speak for them of course but yes I’d guess so.

Thanks John, it was very kind of you to take the time to answer all these questions.
Ruth

That’s fine Ruth, if I can answer any more for Mr Broad or anyone please feel free to contact me again.
Keep in touch now, regards to your family.
John

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

P.S. I have found out that many British people import declawed cats from the US! That means that there are many Brits who would like their cats to be declawed. Shame on them.

I would like to add that many years ago I asked my veterinarian what he thought about American veterinarians declawing cats and he did not want to answer or discuss it. I find that very poor behaviour. It seems that he was scared that I would write about it on my website and that it would create problems for him. It seems that he knew that I had a popular website and that his words would be amplified and cause problems. So, this British vet did not have the strength of character to decry declawing which I think is a weakness because it desperately needs to stop.

Below are some pages on declawing. There are hundreds more 😎.

51 thoughts on “An interview with a UK veterinarian about declawing”

  1. We certainly hope that American vets will come to their senses well before the next 10 years, but, just in case, we do have a backup plan. We plan to educate all North America citizens on the cruelties of declawing and the necessity unaltered claws for the cat’s well being. We hope to destroy demand and have cat people put their money only towards humane vets. We hope to make all vets realize that it’s more profitable to be kind and compassionate than to harm with a declaw. Check out #pawproject to join us. Our film is on Netflix UK, USA and Canada.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer. Thank you for commenting. I have always thought that American veterinarians could make more money if they stopped declawing. I believe that the greatest motivator for American veterinarians is money because they are in business and I totally respect that.

      There is peer pressure amongst veterinarians to continue to declaw and there is pressure from customers as well who are used to it and think it is normal. There are however millions of cat caretakers disagree with declawing and I’d like to see veterinarians tap into that market and explore new ways to make money but in a humane way.

      I don’t see why veterinarians can’t be involved in education. I don’t see why they can’t be involved in running seminars about cat caretaking and charging for it. There is a great need for education in cat caretaking in order to raise standards and remove the idea that declawing is acceptable. Educating cat owners would also reduce the number of unwanted domestic cats which results in mass euthanasia which devalues the life of a cat which in turn promotes abuse.

      We are great admirers of your work.

      Reply
      • What a Bummer dont have Netflix over here in New Zealand as would love to see that Movie/docu. Would that be on itunes?

        Reply
    • I have just read that AVMA document top to bottom and it indicates to me that the AVMA is under pressure to stop declawing but can’t because of a lack of authority and integrity so they tighten the rules very slightly. It is window dressing no more. AVMA is pathetic as far as I am concerned.

      Reply
      • I agree Michael, there is no mention of how wrong it is to declaw little kittens, no mention that vets must not advertise neuter/declaw packages or declawing with discount. Which means that the heartless money hungry declawing vets can go on doing this and encouraging people to have their kitten declawed, rather than advise them to take the time to teach the kitten to use a scratching post.
        Who is going to enforce vets to explain to their clients that declawing is major surgery? No one!
        That AVMA document written in a lily livered way is a waste of space 🙁

        Reply
  2. You contacted other vets, Ruthie, to request an interview, and they didn’t respond?

    Not sure of any of this, but it seems to suggest there’s some sort of affiliation between the AVMA and its British counterpart, a professional loyalty that impels them to draw their wagons into a circle when they feel under siege.

    Another possible explanation is that many people – unless they glory in fisticuffs – do not relish confrontation. There are enough stresses in life without creating friction where, with a modicum of diplomacy, it can be avoided.

    This is ostensibly off the subject, but the other day I was pulling up a few websites re ‘How to avoid neighbors who to avoid intrusive neighbors. Right now, in the height of the growing season, I’ve lost the use of 1,800 sq. ft. of veg. garden along the fence because it’s dicey to know how to maintain your right to privacy without antagonizing a neighbor who wants to know you more than you want to know him. To read these websites, even intelligent people will listen at their door and wait to venture outside until the coast is clear – i.e., the ‘neighbor’ isn’t out there to grab him in their steely clutches. They’ll resort to any and every ploy to avoid having to interact with people they don’t care for. But it’s paper-thin ice when you wish to be left in peace, and realize how easily asserting your right can trigger retaliation. You try that down here, and they’ll come after you hammer and tongs.

    It’s hard to believe, given the distance, but there may be a professional (as in ‘fraternal’) bond of loyalty between Amer. and UK veterinarians that – given Sartre’s observation that ‘Hell is other people’- the Eng. vets feel they’d be risking their necks to violate. Which increases our admiration for the vets in this country who have accepted the Paws Project studies, knowing that social ostracism, or other unforeseen repercussions, could be the price. Don’t know what it is in a metropolis, but in small rural towns such as this the vets know each other – they’re golfing buddies & belong to the same country club – and what if they join the ‘enemy camp?’ Again, I don’t know this, but would hazard a guess someone like Dr. Jean Hofve is fortitude incarnate.

    Reply
    • there’s some sort of affiliation between the AVMA and its British counterpart

      I agree. And I also agree that the American vets who speak out against declawing are very brave. I admire them tremendously. It is v.hard to do against one’s peers.

      Reply
    • Yes Sylvia, John was the only one who replied, it was very good of him I think and I also think he’d have loved to say more, but it’s those professionals stick together ethics stopped him.
      I know when I worked for vets they would never say anything against each other.
      Like Michael I think American vets speaking out against declawing are to be admired, especially the ones who have never declawed cats themselves. The declawing ones rolling in dollars from their legal abuse of cats must surely feel guilty that they’ve broken their sworn oath and caused cats to suffer. Or maybe not, maybe the blood money is more important than the cats they cripple.

      Reply

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