Criticising Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer of Biscayne Times

by Michael
(London, UK)

Declawing cats is back on the PoC menu! I am going to take the unusual step of criticising a journalist, Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer, about her narrow minded and unenlightened views on declawing cats. Before I do that I would like to praise PetSmart. PetSmart have an adopt-a-pet section in their stores (these are abandoned, unwanted cats etc.). I am not sure if this section is in all their stores as I live in England.

Anyway it is a nice idea and facility but what is even nicer is that they refuse to allow an adoption if the customer says on the application form that they intend to declaw. In other words they are very much against declawing. PetSmart is a very large business so this is great news for all sensible, decent and reasonable people – people who hate declawing. I will presume by the way that most Americans already realise what I have just discovered!

Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer writing for Biscayne Times (see the article) says she accompanied her mother-in-law to PetSmart to help her adopt a new cat. Her mother-in-law selected a cat she fell in love with, a Siamese mix, but when she returned to collect the cat she was refused adoption point blank for the reason mentioned – she had declared that she would declaw the cat.

Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer got annoyed and argued the case with several PetSmart employees, from junior to senior, that they were wrong. Her argument was that it is more important to re-home the abandoned cat in a declawed state than risk not being re-homed the cat at all. It is the same old tired argument that vets who declaw wheel out when defending this obnoxious practice. They say if you don’t declaw the cat it will be abandoned by the “owner” – the other side of the same coin.

Sorry Lynn, you are plain wrong. What you are saying is that you have to do a bad thing (declawing) to rectify another bad thing (cat abandonment). The old adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” comes to mind. It means that a wrongful action is not a morally appropriate way to correct or cancel a previous wrongful action.

We have an obligation to resolve the problem of unwanted cats at source and independently of the declawing problem. We need to address poor and irresponsible cat “ownership” at root to beat that problem. To declaw cats to facilitate the re-homing of an abandoned cat only exacerbates the problem and compounds it.

Sorry Lynn you got this one wrong and you should not be threatening staff at PetSmart with articles on the internet criticising them. They deserve praise. What is very strange is that you say you are an animal lover. Sorry, you are not.

Comments for
Criticising Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer of Biscayne Times

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 23, 2011 Here’s my contribution
by: Leah UK

Hi Jim

I live in the UK where we don’t (and shouldn’t ever) de-claw cats.

May I suggest that your reporter Shari Lynn indulge in a little more research before she throws her toys out of the pram like some spoiled brat because she wasn’t allowed to mutilate a defenceless kitten.

Her behaviour and attitude sickens many Europeans (yes all over Europe de-clawing is banned).

Please take the time to educate your reporter with some of the factual comments in the link below;

NB; not for the sqeamish you will note references to ‘bone and knuckle being burned or guillotined off’, agonising pain etc.

Aug 16, 2011 At least she didn’t try to deceive
by: Anonymous

One of my (former) friends adopted two sweet kittens with help from me and a few other friends with cats from PetSmart. To clarify, if PetSmart in the US operates in any way like the ones here in Canada, PetSmart only hosts the adoption shelter and does not actually have anything to do with the adoption service.

Anyways, my former friend actually told the cat adoption volunteer at PetSmart that she wouldn’t declaw them… then went ahead and had them declawed a month after her adoption while they were spayed. She decided not to tell us and we only found out because another friend found out when he visited the kittens and had the gall to tell us that it was her business because they were HER cats. I should have known seeing how paranoid she was about her furniture and discouraged her from even thinking about adopting a cat (or any animal, for that matter.

So… long story short, at least the journalist’s mother was honest about her intention to declaw and not being sneaky about it.

What I don’t understand is this – why does Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer think that she and her mother have a right to go against the wishes of the adoption center? That’s just silly and not worth an article.

Aug 13, 2011 Disgraceful
by: Nadine

Sent: 8/13/2011 1:33:08 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Cat fight

Dear Jim Mullin,
The article you published by Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer was offensive and misleading and I do not understand how you, as a newsperson, could print it.
De clawing is cruel and Adopt-A-Stray’s policy is to not adopt to people who intend this for their cats. These cats are rescued, from a life on the street, or from a kill shelter, or from people who got tired of their pets after 10 years. Volunteers at Adopt-A-Stray take these cats, and dogs, vet them, neuter them, and foster them , until they are adopted.
Edie, is not an elderly volunteer. How disgraceful to describe her that way. She is a woman with a full life, and she has been rescuing for years, she runs Adopt-A-Stray . And she runs the rescue, not by attending parties and catering to the needs of spoiled uninformed people, but by being out in the neighborhood, feeding, vetting, and taking in strays and throw aways. Not just sometimes, but always, daily. When you adopt from a group like hers, you are not rescuing a cat, you are adopting a cat that she rescued, that she spent money and time, her time on, and of course she wants the cat to go to a good home.
So sorry that Kramer fell for a Siamese mix, but how little she knows when she writes, that kitten still does not have a home. That kitten will always have a home. It’s the black cats, the older cats, the over weights, the cats that have lived together for 15 years, and now their owners don’t need them anymore, those are the cats where it’s more difficult and yet., even these cats will find homes. How about a de clawed cat, dumped outside to try and fend for herself? Not pretty enough?
Petsmart’s policy, to welcome and encourage rescue groups, is commendable. I hope the company does not give Kramer, the time of day. And shame on you for giving her tantrum, legitimacy.
Nadine Litterman

Aug 13, 2011 Cat Fight (continued)
by: Anonymous

(Here are the final two paragraphs):

In your article, you also compare declawing to circumcision. Circumcision is also considered inhumane in many circles and was recently almost banned in San Francisco. But to suggest that because the woman who works at the pet store might have a husband that might be circumcised, something she nor her husband could possibly have had any control over, she should have no problem with handing you a kitten that you fully intend to mutilate and cripple? Simply ridiculous.

If your mother truly wants a declawed cat as a companion I suggest that you take her to visit a local shelter. They will have plenty of declawed cats that have been dumped by owners who did not want to deal with the problems that they themselves created. If you are lucky, you may even find a declawed cat that is non-aggressive and uses the litter box diligently. The staff at the shelter should be able to inform you about the temperament and litter box habits of any cat that interests you. Good luck.

Aug 13, 2011 Cat Fight
by: Chntl

Here’s the email response that I sent:

Mrs. Rothstein-Kramer,

You say in your article that you are an animal lover and informed on exactly what declawing a cat involves (because [you’ve] “…had cats since [you were] eight years old.?) but from reading your article it is painfully obvious that you are neither. Please educate yourself a little and enjoy this video of a cat being declawed using the guillotine method which happens to be the quickest method. Other methods include the scalpel method (more precise but also more time consuming) and the laser method which burns through the cat’s skin and bones, leaving 3rd degree burns (this is considered the most painful method).

If you watched the video, perhaps you’ll understand that it is not simply a matter of removing the cat’s claws but of amputating each toe at the first knuckle. The cat becomes an amputee, a cripple. It is impossible to imagine the excruciating pain that cats feel during and after this procedure, the most painful surgery that exists in veterinary practice today. So painful, in fact, that they test the effectiveness of newly developed painkiller medications on cats that have undergone this surgery.

It is very common for cats who have been declawed to develop behavioural problems such as excessive biting since their primary means of defense has been taken away and they feel vulnerable and constantly stressed. Another common issue with declawed cats is litter box avoidance. It can be very painful to dig in the litter after having 10 little phalanges amputated from one’s feet and kitty might prefer to do his business on the bath mat or in the middle of your bed. Many owners of declawed cats are unwilling to deal with the behavioural problems their decision has brought about and may decide to dump their cat at a shelter. Declawing results in more homeless cats — not fewer as you argue in your article.

And I can’t believe you compare the staff at the pet store to “pro-lifers who vehemently impose their beliefs on others.” No one at that pet store tried to tell what you can or can’t do with your own body. I’m sure that if you decided that amputating the the first phalanges of the fingers and toes attached to your body was the right thing for you, the pet store’s staff would fully support you in your decision. We are not talking about your rights over your own body and any fetuses that might be living inside it. We are talking about the well being of an animal, separate from you, who cannot speak up for herself and ask you not to mutilate her. (continued)

Aug 12, 2011 Thanks Pet Smart!
by: Linda

Maybe the cruel journalist should read a little more and write a little less. There is a wealth of information about declawing and the long term complications experienced by the cat. There is never a reason to declaw. There is however, a little effort involved to teach a cat to scratch on posts or pads provided for this purpose. It would have taken much less energy from her to do some research on why the shelter and PetSmart were saving this cat from her wrath. I hope the cat was able to get a real home with real cat lover. She should be ashamed.

Aug 12, 2011 Petsmart=Banfield=WTH?
by: Kathleen

I for one am very surprised to hear that Petsmart has a no-declaw clause in its adoption contracts, since the Banfield animal hospital chain, which is part of Petsmart, is cited all the time as being declaw pushers, with their discount coupons, package deals, and so on. If they actually have a no-declaw clause and enforce it, that’s fantastic, but it seems more than a little out of character for them. I’m confused.

Aug 12, 2011 Great
by: Michael

Right on Susan. Well done. It is common sense, I say. I am afraid that Shari Lynn is just another one of the narrow minded people who seek to justify declawing in any way they can.

And thanks to Soline who tells us how strange declawing is to Europeans. We just don’t understand how Americans can do this. That is not to criticise Americans. But it is an anomaly in the American way of life. It is a reflection, I feel, of the excessive consumerism of the USA. Sorry.

Aug 12, 2011 Thanks for this article!
by: Susan

I too wrote Biscayne Times when I read this article, was simply outraged a journalist would write a column whining that she wasn’t able to mutilate an animal. I was very impressed too that it said PetsMart stated they are opposed to de-clawing! Right On! They allow rescues to set up adoption events inside their stores, and house homeless cats from rescues across the country.

This is the letter I sent to Biscayne Times (

“Question to author Shari Lynn & her mother-in-law who was denied a kitten adoption by Adopt A Stray (“Cat Fight”).

Why can’t you keep the cats nails trimmed (blunt claws can’t snag fabric or flesh) or covered with Soft Paws, and provide appropriate places for the kitten to scratch? This kitten hasn’t even been given a chance to learn yet where & where not to scratch and already an invasive, painful, non-medical surgical procedure is being choosen “just in case” the cat scratches. Any vet who would declaw this kitten is in direct violation of the AVMA guidelines to only declaw AFTER all alternatives have been exhausted, & if every cat owner made an honest attempt with all the easy & effective alternatives, no cat would ever be declawed.

I applaud Adopt A Stray and also have a no-declawing clause for my rescue cats. If a person can’t treat their animals humanley, they shouldn’t have pets! Thank you for protecting cats from having their 3rd Phalanx finger bones needlessly removed, please keep up the great work! De-clawing is already illegal in 8 California cities and illegal or considered inhumane in 38 countries worldwide, and it will one day be banned here too.”

Aug 12, 2011 I sent this to Biscayne Times
by: Nan

“One of the many reasons shelters & rescues prohibit de-clawing is because of the lifetime of distress & phantom pain the cat lives with deprived of their knuckle bones & claw tools – this physical & emotional pain can & does manifest into behavioral problems including litterbox avoidance & biting. Every person in rescue has witnessed this kind of suffering & injustice – the family de-claws a cat to “save the furniture” then disposes the cat because they “ruined the furniture” with their urine since their painful paws can’t dig litter after de-clawing. Mrs. Rothstein-Kramer should be insisting her mother-in-law not have a cat that bites more (far more dangerous than a scratch) and one that doesn’t leave their waste around the house instead of fighting for their right to harm an animal. Clipping claws is kinder and wiser!”

Aug 12, 2011 declaw letter
by: Anonymous

This is what I wrote in:

Cat declawing is a very painful, unnecessary procedure that basically cripples the cat. As a journalist, you might want to learn about the facts. Cats walk on their toes, the first joint of which are amputated during a declawing. This causes changes in their posture, the way the cats carry themselves, and hold their weight. All of which in turn create painful problems with joints and muscles, many of which are not noticed by the owners or vets because cats are superb at disguising weakness. Phantom limb pain can also be an issue that goes noticed as can other problems such as atrophying paw pads, nail regrowth, and infections.

As a cat behavior professional, I have extensive experience working with the problems created and exacerbated by the unacceptable process of cutting of a creatures toes to save someone’s furniture. You call yourself an animal lover, however you refuse to even consider that your position on declaw may be skewed. A truely wise person is not afraid to reevaluate their position or belief as new evidence is presented. Certainly, the rescue could have approached the situation more effectively by educating you and your family on why they do not adopt out to people that intend to declaw rather than just saying ‘no’. However, based on your article, you were quite condescending and rude to them rather than being respectful and open to learning more about the situation.

Aug 12, 2011 I can’t believe declawing would be legal anywhere in the world
by: Soline

I am French and had never, ever heard about declawing until 2 months ago. It was the day I adopted my kitten and I had to sign a contract stating (among various other things) that I did not intend to have my Gahan declawed.

My reaction? It made me laugh! As in “who in their right mind would even consider such an atrocity?”. I am 32 years old and have never met a cat who has been declawed, neither have I heard anyone mentioning this operation.

It made me curious about this atrocious practice though and that’s how I first discovered this website. And I find it very difficult to believe that it would be legal in the USA, not to mention my surprise when I watched videos of vets talking about this act of mutilation as if it was a simple routine operation. I am appalled.

Declawing has been illegal in France for roughly ten years but it seems that it’s never been a common practice anyway. And that makes me very proud of my country.

Aug 12, 2011 Full marks for Petsmart
by: Barbara

I agree, well done to Petsmart, especially for sticking to their principles in the face of this woman’s aggression and refusing to allow her mother to adopt a cat with the full intention of crippling the poor creature, thank goodness that cat was saved from the pain and trauma of declawing. How shameful that she should write an article protesting at being stopped from disfiguring a cat! It’s beyond belief that anyone would state in public that they desire to amputate a cat’s toe ends, surely one should be ashamed and mortified to admit to this crime against cats.

Barbara avatar

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.

Aug 12, 2011 I have also emailed the Biscayne Times
by: Ruth

Petsmart are to be commended for refusing to adopt out a cat to someone who intends to have his toe ends amputated and to disable that cat for life. Declawing is painful major surgery and that is why it is banned in 39 civilised countries as animal abuse.It is a last resort operation for serious scratching problems, not to be done routinely !
Cats need their claws not only for self defence but for walking as a cat walks, for grooming, for playing and for exercise.Cats need to dig in their claws to stretch their leg, shoulder, back and stomach muscles. Declawing does not save cats homes, there are thousands of declawed cats in Rescue Shelters,that does not include the cats killed because they are unrehomable.
I’d suggest rather than ruining another cat’s life, that anyone who can’t be bothered to train their cat to a scratching post (which is VERY easy to do) adopts one already disabled.
Ruth (vet nurse)
International Coalition Against Declawing

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Aug 12, 2011 Ignorant journalist
by: Ruth

GOOD for Petsmart !! And good for you Michael exposing this ignorant journalist !
If Lynn is so desperate for a disabled cat then instead of ruining a healthy cats life she should adopt one of the thousands of declawed cats in Rescue Shelters.
Those cats have suffered the most painful surgery a cat can endure, for the convenience of people too lazy to learn about a cat’s needs and to teach the cat to use a scratching post.
Then even that adapted cat didn’t suit them and they ended up being relinquished with some made up excuse as to why.
There are thousands more cats who don’t even reach the adoption lists, they are KILLED because of behavioural problems caused by the declawing!
Declawing is cruel and unnecessary and anyone who thinks otherwise is not a fit person to have the privilege of a cat in their home.
Declawing does NOT save homes, it does just the opposite !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Aug 12, 2011 PetSmarts in Canada adopt too
by: Brandy

Both PetSmart and Pet Paradise in Canada have cats and dogs for adoption and are all shying away from carrying bred to sell animals. its a move I support. Both of my cats are rescue cats, but I just happened to rescue them myself, one from a friends farm where a mom had abandoned her kittens and then the other was from the back alley of my house. They are just as if not more beautiful than any pure bred cat and i wish society would let go of the idea and would just give homes to all the cats that already exists.

I can only hope that as we progress declawing becomes illegal here in Canada and the USA. there are other ways whether you just cut the nails or cut them and apply kittycaps/softpaws. It does not take long to train your animal to behave it just takes the effort that it appears so many people lack. Heres to hoping for change.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo