Declawing Cats News and Views

by Michael
(London, UK)

I love cat claws, please leave them by Marcin Wichary (Flickr)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I love cat claws, please leave them by Marcin Wichary (Flickr)

24th April 2010: I would like to discuss a couple of things to do with declawng cats, to keep abreast with what is going on. The first concerns HSUS.

Annie Bruce, the author of Cat Be Good, notified me and others of a redrafted position statement that HSUS has recently published on their website.

I forget what the earlier one said but it must have been 'qualified' meaning that it said that declawing shouldn't be done...but..a let out clause follows meaning they were not completely against it. A bit like the AVMA's statement perhaps but I am guessing.

Anyway the new one is much better. It is firm and unequivocal in its conclusion. Declawing they say is an unnecessary procedure. I hope they don't mind me quoting a couple of passages:

Declawing and tendonectomies should be reserved only for those rare cases in which a cat has a medical problem that would warrant such surgery, such as the need to remove cancerous nail bed tumors.

Declawing is an unnecessary surgery which provides no medical benefit to the cat. Educated pet parents can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily.

HSUS make it clear that there are no grounds that support declawing a cat other than the very rare cases when it is for the cat's benefit, which is obviously the way it should be. To do it for our benefit to save furniture is nothing short of outrageous. Yet many millions of people actually find a way of justifying it! They are kidding themselves.

I cannot see any 'get out clauses' (or weasel words) in the HSUS statement so well done to them. I believe that the author of the HSUS statement is Nancy Peterson. If so well done, I say.

Changing their position statement might seem a small thing. However, I believe that these small steps are important. The journey to stopping the declawing of cats either through a nationwide ban or by cat caretakers abandoning the idea through a change in culture and education, will be a long and slow one.

Every little thing helps us to creep towards that light in the distance. The light of enlightenment when the people of America realise that it is quite simply wrong.

Here is a link to the chapter Nancy co-authored on declawing. It’s one of the things that she has written that she is most proud of and it won a CWA award. Indoor Cats, Scratching, and the Debate over Declawing: When Normal Pet Behavior Becomes a Problem

Here is the link to HSUS declawing position statement: Declawing Cats: Far Worse Than A Manicure.


Yes, I have to bring up the dreaded AVMA again. I thought in my naivety that they actually had some authority. But no. They are simply a shop window or a public relations agency for the veterinarians of the USA.

They have no authority to regulate their veterinarians. If they had they would be obliged to step in and stop their vets being in blatant breach of their declaw guidelines, and worse still their oath, the very foundation upon which the entire profession is built.

How is it that this association has no authority? Why bother having the AVMA if all they are is impotent limp wristed promoters of animal abuse.

The AVMA is probably just a business. A business that supports the people who run the AVMA. It probably serves no other real purpose. Although they might say that their role is to help their members in their work. In short they are are 'representative body'.

Well, in my opinion they should be much more. It shows the disdain we have for our companion animals (despite professing to love them) when their is no control over the vets who abuse their position in society by performing unnecessary surgery on cats to their detriment.

Medical associations that govern doctors have a lot of powers. They can ban a doctor from working in the profession if misconduct has been found.

Is it not time that the same powers are bestowed upon the veterinarian associations? It would demonstrate a true concern for our companion animals rather than paying lip service to it.

An alternative route to banning declawing would be to create legislation that:

  • gave powers to the existing associations to regulate veterinarians and...
  • Placed an obligation upon the associations to regulate veterinarians to a defined standard

This would be a form of delegation from government to the veterinarians to self-regulate. If they failed to self-regulate properly the role would be taken over by government.

It is astonishing that the vets are in effect unregulated. Is this true? Am I missing something?

It is time for change.

Michael Avatar

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Aug 11, 2011 HSUS and Banfield
by: Anonymous

I do not understand why, if the HSUS has decided upon a concrete statement saying they are against declawing in any procedure that does not benefit the cat (as in cancer removal), they list first and foremost on their "Shelter Pages"/Cats BANFIELD, the sad excuse for a pet hospital, located inside of PetSmart Stores. Banfield is the notorious #1 Pimp noted in Declaw Hall Of Shame, and PROMOTES declawing to the degree that they even offer a spay/neuter & declaw package discount deal if you get it all done at once! So, I am writing to HSUS (which is a contradiction in itself) and asking them why. I cannot wait to see what their answer will be. *rolls eyes*

Feb 11, 2011 Let's call this what it really is - amputation
by: Carole Bush

I cannot belive that anyone with half a brain would consider this barbaric practice for their pet. To amputate for no other reason than your pet might scratch your things is beyond comprehension. If you are worried about your furniture don't have a cat in the first place. Stupid cruel ignorant people!

May 17, 2010 Straight from the horse's mouth
by: Ruth

We have permission to quote this written by a vet tech who we will not of course identify as she is in the precarious position of working for a clinic in which one vet declaws. She hates the procedure but feels she can do more good by ensuring the welfare of her patients by being there on the spot and she can also help educate people as to the cruelty of declawing.
She says:
'Even with our supposedly superior methods of pain control, we still routinely have declawed cats tearing off their bandages and thrashing in pain upon awakening from the operation. It was the sheer amount of pain control medication that we give these cats that first clued me in to how truly odious this procedure is.
Typical pain control protocol for a declaw at the clinic where I work includes both pre- and post-operative injections, nerve-block injections in the paws, oral meloxicam to go home with, and the application of a transdermal fentanyl patch- this last of which is such a strong opiod-based painkiller that, when used in human medicine, I have heard it is typically only prescribed for the terminally ill’

This demonstrates just how much agony cats suffer from declawing and we already know that some vets not only declaw, but give clients the choice of pain medication by paying extra ! The thought of how many cats are suffering from this senseless abuse is heart breaking.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

May 14, 2010 Thank you Chris
by: Ruth

We will do this and pass it around for more support.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

May 13, 2010 California Declaw Bans Need Your Support - May 2010
by: Chris

Please support AB 2743 -
- this important bill will prohibit California landlords from requiring tenants declaw their cats or debark their dogs

Marin County has passed a resolution calling for a statewide declaw ban. Your continued support is needed to help end the inhumane practice of feline declawing. Please write to state representatives and urge their support of a statewide ban on declawing. PLEASE e-mail the lawmakers and tell them in a short and polite message that you support a ban on declawing. C

See the Paw Project for more info -

Thank you.

Apr 30, 2010 Like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

According to Wikipedia HSUS is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world with 10.6 million members, so it's obviously not just a bunch of crazy cat people like us. 🙂
Their statement is quite clear and virtually rules out declawing in any case. Also note the prominent text box in the middle saying

"If performed on a human being, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle."

This horrible truth usually shocks people the most and HSUS does not beat about the bush anymore. I think this is one more sign that public opinion is slowly turning.

Finn Frode avatar

Apr 28, 2010 Thank you
by: Michael

Firstly, thanks to the very useful comments. Although you wouldn't know it as they are so quiet, I believe that it is the State Veterinary Boards who regulate the vets.

There is a list of the State Veterinary Boards here:

- Update 10th May 2010: this link is broken so is no longer a link

I am trying to get confirmation about whether they govern the vets on all issues to do with their practice.

Tracey Unwin pointed me in the right direction when she referred to the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine's decision on the negligent and cruel work of a vet.

I'll get back on this later.

Michael Avatar

Apr 27, 2010 Fundamental
by: Tracey (UK)

Just when I thought I'd heard it all here we have a vet that has been performing surgery on animals without anaesthetic.

He de-clawed a cat without anaesthetic or pain medication! How on earth can someone be allowed to practice after he's done this once let alone numerous times? What is the man thinking?! He cannot possibly be in his right mind surely? This is basic stuff how can he get it wrong? Does he enjoy inflicting pain?

I would love to get my hands on him really I would.

The vet association responsible for suspending his licence basically states that just because he inflicted the most awful pain imaginable doesn't mean he should lose his livelihood. Why the hell not?! He should be working in an abbatoir not in a vets practice! He's a butcher!

I've found this document on google;

Perhaps we should all email the vets association?

If this was the UK there would be uproar.

Apr 24, 2010 we need to expose the AVMA!
by: Susan

Michael - It is my understanding too that the AVMA is strictly a trade group that is only interested in the vets financial interests & providing insurance to vets, not necessarily interested in the welfare of the animals. But, the public at large doesn't know this & considers them as "the leading authority on animals" and goes to them for the answers on issues and reads & believes what they report on their website (which is info cherry picked for their own benefit). The good news is that there are groups trying to expose the AVMA's weak & inhumane positions on animal welfare issues via YouTube's and websites, but we need to get the word out on a large scale! Thanks for writing about it and spreading the news!

Regarding who is overseeing the vets & reporting bad vets - I'm told that it is the individual states veterinary associations that have the authority to discipline, the AVMA has no power. But, it's a long process to get a vets license revoked or suspended - check out this article of a Minnesota vet whose license was finally suspended and all of the animals that had to suffer before the State intervened. This vet said "THEY DON'T FEEL PAIN" so did surgeries WITHOUT anesthesia. Animals screaming in pain, not being treated, dying after surgery, having leg amputated after de-clawing are just a few complaints :

Apr 24, 2010 Thanks Ruth
by: Michael

Thanks Ruth for reminding me how the previous HSUS statement was qualified with the 'last resort' comment.

Apr 24, 2010 Good news about the HSUS
by: Ruth

The previous HSUS statement said that declawing should be only be done as a last resort.
The new statement is saying it should only be done for medical reasons for the cat, for incurable problems such as cancer, in any of the cats toes.
This cuts out all the other excuses called last resort,such as condoning it being done for the sake of immunocompromised people.
The old HSUS statement could be twisted to cover any situation, which is why it is still the policy of the AVMA. They need to make a new statement too, saying declawing should only be done for medical reasons for the cat.
With the AVMA's present policy, vets can justify it as a last resort by saying it was a choice between declawing or euthanising the cat.
But this still doesn't explain how vets can advertise neuter/declaw packages or give discount vouchers for declawing kittens.It isn't any sort of last resort when someone can arrange to have a kitten declawed, before even taking it home.
How can this be allowed? Why do the AVMA turn a blind eye to it? What use are they?
Yet every head vet of every state I wrote to, refered me back to the AVMA policy.Is the AVMA just a figurehead?
I don't pretend to even start understanding the politics of all this but I am very happy that the HSUS has at last come solidly down on the side of anti declawing. I know our American friends such as Annie have fought for this for a long time.
The tide is turning, but too slowly.
Someone needs to stand up to the AVMA and ask them just what they ARE there for.I don't think anyone in the UK will get an answer,as so far we haven't !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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