Conflicting attitude to cat declawing by Cat Fanciers’ Association and American Cat Fanciers Association

Keiger and Exotic Long Hair
Keiger and Exotic Long Hair. Photo credit: Jo Singer Photos of CFA All Breed Judge Teresa Keiger
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

On the evidence provided by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) they allow declawed cats to compete at cat shows but not cats who have suffered the tendonectomy operation.

There is a lot of disorganised and mashed information coming from American cat associations on cat declawing. Before I refer to that particular topic, you might have noticed that the Cat Fanciers’ Association have an apostrophe after the “Fanciers'” whereas the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) do not. The CFA are correct grammatically while the ACFA are incorrect. Looks careless to me but who am I to say? Perhaps unsurprising seeing as the ACFA accept declawing.

On declawing, the CFA are said by commentators such as Dr Bruce Fogle DVM in the UK to ban declawed cats from their cat shows. Great. But their website is confused on the topic. They provide a lengthy if wooly argument why cat declawing is bad and at the end, they have this sentence:

“At the October 1996 meeting the CFA Board of Directors also approved an addition to the show rules which disallows tendonectomy in show cats. The show rules also were modified to allow claw covers in the household pet class.”

Tendonectomy, strictly speaking, is not declawing. It is not the removal of the last phalange of the toe but the cutting of the tendon which is part of the mechanism to extend and operate the claw making it ineffective. Equally cruel. But strangely in those couple of sentences they don’t mention declawing which is ‘onychectomy’. Confusion?

To try and clear up the confusion I emailed the CFA chief executive:

Email to CFA
Email to CFA

At the moment I have no response, which is actually a response: they don’t want to deal with the question as it is embarrassing. On the information provided the CFA allows declawed cats to compete at cat shows.


I am told that the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) allow declawed cats and cats who’ve undergone the tendonectomy operation to compete at their cat shows. I have emailed them and Facebook messaged them for their reasons bearing in mind that the operation is known to be cruel and unnecessary. At present there has been no response and I don’t expect one because it is a tricky topic for them.

Email to ACFA corrected
Email to ACFA corrected. Yes , in haste I omitted a word.
FB message to ACFA
FB message to ACFA

Update: they allow declawed cats to participate at their cat shows:

ACFA response
ACFA response

I would expect them to understand that their policy is wrong but that they keep it in place to increase the number of cats eligible for their shows which makes them more successful. It is the same reason why cat declawing exists in the first place: money. I am being too cynical? Comment please.

The ACFA say this about themselves: “Originating in 1955, ACFA is known as the Fairest, Friendliest and most Fun feline association!”. Yes, that might be true but it applies to the human participants and not the cats especially the ones who’ve been declawed.

Below are some more articles on cat shows:

Patrick of Allington, a blue Persian wins first prize at a cat show at Holy Trinity Hall in central London in 1933

Prize-winning blue Persian cat carried like a sack of potatoes by owner

This is another interesting cat show photo from a different era. It shows a blue Persian cat of the traditional ...
Mrs AH Cattermole examines Sealeigh Grey Knight at the Crystal’s cat show at Olympia, London, in 1950.

1950 cat show judge with fag in mouth manhandles cat and looks like a butcher’s wife

This an image from times gone by. It is a photo of Mrs H. Cattermole, a cat show judge, judging ...
British Shorthair cat becomes first passenger of Moscow Metro's Shakespeare train

St Giles’ Fair Cat Show, Winchester 1598

Possibly the first cat show was held during the time of William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) ...
Ringtailed lemur

Cat show judge mistakes ring-tailed lemur for domestic cat!

This is a story from the early days of the cat fancy when things were not quite so sophisticated. At ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

1 thought on “Conflicting attitude to cat declawing by Cat Fanciers’ Association and American Cat Fanciers Association”

  1. “Too cynical”? Not at all. Much nicer than I feel about the subject. Shame on them all for promoting mutilation of living beings especially with profit in mind. Keep up the great work you do!

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