Dr James F Gaines promotes the declawing of cats and his argument is that silly old housewives are wrong when they say that declawing is cruel. I think he is belittling and insulting women. The title of his article is “Old Spouse’s Tale: Declawing a Cat Is Cruel“. The word “spouse” means male of female but the phrase comes from “old wives’ tale” and therefore refers to women, in my opinion. The phrase means that a superstition has been handed down by wives over a long period without critical thought.
He says that people do not understand the big picture. He argues that cats do not need claws to defend themselves. He ignores all the other reasons why nature gave cats their claws. He only focuses on the claw as a means of defence and he writes that the major reason why declawing is acceptable is because it stops cats shredding your furniture. He ignores the fact that this is a non-therapeutic reason and therefore goes against the oath of the veterinarian.
The doctor is a dinosaur in veterinary terms. I think, too, he is a bit chauvinistic. He is an old school veterinarian. He has failed to move with the times and he has failed to recognise the immorality of declawing a cat. It is not our place to mutilate the domestic cat for our convenience. To do so is immoral and that should be obvious to him.
To suit his argument, Dr Gaines understates the post-operative complications that can occur after declawing. He implies that cats recover quite quickly and are back to their normal selves after the operation. He more or less implies that all cats return to full health and behave normally after about a couple of days. This is an old husbands’ tale! Many operations are botched and the complications are greater than he states. I calculated that in Utah over 300,000 declawed cats are in pain for an indeterminate time.
Interestingly, he cites an example of what he considers to be real cruelty with respect to the declawing of cats. He refers to a story concerning one of his clients. His client purchased some new furniture. They had a Persian cat, Fluffy, “with claws on all four feet”. The cat always used his scratching post and Fluffy had never scratched the old furniture.
When both of the cat’s owner’s were out of work, Fluffy shredded their new furniture, he writes. Specifically he states, “the front of the $3000 sofa was in shreds”. That seems to be an exaggeration to me.
The man of the house grabbed Fluffy by the scruff of his neck and threw him out of the front door halfway down the street. The intention was to throw away their cat. Obviously he was angry and that is understandable but who should he have been angry at?
The doctor writes that:
“I suggest that in order to preserve your household items and the sanctity of the family that you declaw the cat.”
This is openly, in an online newspaper, promoting the declawing of domestic cats in order to remove the possibility that the cat will scratch furniture. That must go against the core principles and the ethics of the veterinary profession.
The doctor also writes that those who object to declawing should be asked whether they will pay for the damaged furniture, carpets and wallpaper et cetera. That seems to be a silly idea to me.
The man who threw Fluffy out the front door should be angry with himself. If, as is the case, he valued his furniture over his cat then he either should not have bought new furniture or he should not have a domestic cat. For him, the two are incompatible and therefore it was his obligation to make a choice between the two. As an alternative he could have bought furniture which cats are less likely to scratch or trimmed his cat’s claws or bought more scratching posts or used claw caps…etc..
Clearly what the man wants is a modified version of the domestic cat. Anybody who wants a modified version of the domestic cat (i.e. without claws) should not have a domestic ca. That should be obvious to everybody.
People (vets mainly) argue that if declawing wasn’t allowed then there would be more cats abandoned to shelters and, therefore, declawing saves lives. This is a false argument. Initially there would be more abandoned cats if declawing was banned. And yes, they would be more cat deaths. However, in quite a short space of time that problem would be eliminated and there would be no declawed cats. There would be less cat owners and the only people who owned a cat would be those who truly cared about the cat and the integrity of the domestic cat. Therefore the standard of cat caretaking would rise quite markedly if declawing was banned.
I want to reiterate that point. If the only people who looked after domestic cats were those who respected the cat to the point where they respected the whole cat including the cat’s claws then across the board the standard of cat caretaking would rise. This would result in less cat abandonments in the long-term while at the same time the domestic cat would be respected and allowed to keep his claws and all the benefits that they bring to the cat. Nature put them there for a reason.