NEWS AND COMMENT: I have a feeling that the obnoxious declawing veterinarians of America are in retreat. And the average cat caregiver, not even animal advocates, are making their voices heard because they now thoroughly understand that the declawing of cats is unnecessary and cruel. It is described as barbaric by people like me and somebody much better than me, Dr. Bruce Fogle, the celebrated author/veterinarian in the UK.
Over the years, people like me have written about cat declawing and lambasted it (there are hundreds of anti-declawing pages on this site). Rightly so because it is utterly unforgivable to partially amputate the 10 toes of a kitten for non-therapeutic reasons. How can a veterinarian do that for the convenience of the kitten’s owner? These vets have to be immoral to do it. Strong words, yes. But strong words are needed and unjustified. Declawing is a horrid aberration in the US. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It should never have been started.
RELATED: Origin of Cat Declawing
After that lengthy introduction (because declawing always gets my blood boiling) I am pleased to announce that the US state of Maryland may become, God willing, the second state in America which bans declawing. The legislature of that state is not prepared to wait for their veterinarians to desist voluntarily in mutilating kittens’ paws. If the bill passes Maryland will follow NY state as the second to prohibit declawing.
A bill has been introduced by Maryland state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery). In the photograph you see her holding a black kitten. In the Maryland debate, it is pleasing to hear that some veterinarians oppose declawing. Others try and justify the unjustifiable by saying that it is up to the cat’s owner in conjunction with the veterinarian to make a decision about declawing. This is a false argument because veterinarians who declaw sometimes encourage it. They do not provide unbiased and objective advice. Their advice is coloured by the need to make money. They chase the buck because they feel underappreciated and underpaid.
You cannot rely on declawing veterinarians to think about cat welfare. This is an obvious statement because they demonstrate this attitude to the world by declawing cats for non-therapeutic purposes.
Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, the Maryland state director for the Humane Society of the United States, makes a good point when she argues that “there is no guarantee that any vet is upholding any of the standards” of ethical behaviour when it comes to declawing.
The Humane Society carried out an informal phone survey of veterinarians in Maryland. Of the 30 veterinarians who responded 40% said that they perform declawing surgeries for non-therapeutic reasons. This means that they are doing the op to protect the furniture of the cat’s owner. And Jennifer said that she was shocked by the response of animal lovers on social media.
What she is stating is that there is a movement out there on social media by ordinary people against declawing. She said that when the society writes a Facebook post they might receive 1000 views but a post of a cat clawing a scratching post reached 11,000 people. People want to see cat owners use scratching posts and better cat caregiving to deal with the rare possibility of being scratched by their care.
It is very easy to avoid being scratched by your cat. It requires common sense and a little bit of intelligence. It requires understanding your cat and their behaviour. It is only the ignorant cat owners who want to de-claw their cats.
It is not only general ignorance but specific ignorance of the declawing operation which facilitates this barbaric procedure. Del. Lorig Charkoudian (D-Montgomery), the House sponsor, said that when people learn about declawing it changes their perspective. She said: “When people wrap their head around it, the idea that we would mutilate to protect a furniture item is abhorrent to people”.
The Washington Post tells me that the Maryland declawing bill is the second major animal rights legislation of that state in recent years. In 2008 the state became the second behind California to ban retail sales of puppies and kittens.
Daniel Bays, also of the Humane Society states that society in general cannot wait for the veterinary profession to stop declawing voluntarily which is why this bill has been introduced and which many people would hope to see enacted and turned into a statute.