British are increasingly adopting declawed cats from America

A PDSA report tells us that 5% of cat owners in the UK who acquired their cat from abroad (and I’m going to presume that this is North America) did so with the purpose of adopting a declawed cat.

“Alarmingly, 5% of cat owners who got their cat from abroad, equating to 31,000 cats, told us that they chose to get their pet from abroad because they wanted them to be declawed.” – PDSA Report.

They also say that the proportion of cats acquired from abroad has increased from 1% in 2021 to 5% in 2022. This represents 590,000 imported cats in 2022.

Increase in cats being shipped from abroad to the UK for adoption

Cat air travel
Cat air travel. An increasing number of domestic cats are being imported into the UK from abroad and a significant percentage are declawed. Many Brits want to acquire a declawed cat. Photo: Pixabay.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

UK animal shelters

The PDSA states that this increase in imported cats from abroad is mostly because of “an increase in cats being acquired from UK rescue centres that are rehoming pets from abroad (1% in August 2020, 1% in 2021 and 3% in 2022)”. I interpret that statement to mean that UK rescue centres are doing deals with rescue centres in other countries and their cats are being shipped from those countries to the UK. I find that extraordinary. Perhaps I have misinterpreted the information?


There’s also been an increase in rabbits acquired from abroad from 1% in 2021 to 3% in 2022 representing 31,000 imported rabbits. Is financially viable to ship rescue cats from North America and other countries?

Dogs – cropped ears

In general, when people were asked why they chose to get a companion animal from abroad 35% said that they had no preference where they came from and it just so happened that they came from abroad. However, 4% of dog owners who acquired their pet from abroad did so because they wanted a dog with cropped ears. This represents an estimated 26,000 dogs imported because their owners wanted the dog to have a cosmetic mutilation surgery which is illegal in the UK. Note: it does happen in the UK albeit illegally (see link below).

RELATED: Report that dog ear cropping increased by 621% over the last six years to 2020 in the UK.

UK citizens fearful of claws

And of course, this is exactly the same regarding declawed cats. Declawing is illegal in the UK. Clearly, there are some British people who want declawed cats. In fact, it is probably fair to say that 31,000 UK citizens want to live with a declawed cat. And the only way they can get one is to have him or her shipped out from North America where declawing is legal.

I suppose, that I should not be surprised because no matter where you live, there’s going to be a percentage of people who want to acquire a cat but they are frightened of claws and of being scratched. As far as I am concerned, they have no right to adopt a cat in the first place. Their behavior supports declawing from abroad. Not good.


And it is disgraceful that they are shipped from America. Flying cats that distance in itself causes potential health problems. And I can’t understand why British shelters are importing cats from other countries including from the North American continent.

Air travel with a cat
Air travel cat. Photo by Stephen Woods and published under a creative commons license from Flickr.

Below are some more articles on the complications of declawing.

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