by Ruth

My inspiration for this article was a comment by an American lady on a debate on one of the anti-declaw Facebook groups.

She was against declawing because she knew it was cruel major surgery but was using soft paws on her cat, so she obviously didn’t think he had the right or the need to be allowed to scratch.
Although we know soft paws are far better than having a cat declawed, I would never force our cats to wear such things which stop their natural and necessary behaviour of scratching.

Her comment showed the difference in her attitude to the comments made by UK members who advised ditching the soft paws and buying her cat a scratching post.

differences in attitude to declawing in the USA and UK

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.

She wrote:

‘Wouldn’t you think in these days of advanced veterinary science that someone would invent a way of taking only the cats claws without the last toe joint?’

So, for all she doesn’t think the amputation of the cat’s toe ends is acceptable she obviously thinks removing ‘only’ the claws would be!

We hear it time after time ‘I feel so guilty, I really thought it was only the claws, I wish I hadn’t had it done to my cat’

This is the attitude that I and every other UK person I’ve spoken to about it, can’t understand.

Why do so many people in the USA think that if it was removing ‘only’ the claws, that it would be acceptable? Why do they happily hand over their cats to the vets thinking this? Yes the word declawing does sound like removing ‘only’ the claws and yes the vets who do the surgery don’t enlighten their clients that it’s much more, but what I can’t understand is why anyone would get a cat and want to have even ‘only’ the claws removed!

Would they get a puppy and when taking him for his inoculations or booking him in for neutering, if the vet suggested having his claws removed, agree without question?

I doubt it!

Yet puppies claws can do damage too and they have to be trimmed and people accept that.

So if they don’t like cats to have the natural claws they are born with and can’t be bothered to buy a scratching post and teach the kitten to use it and take care of his own claws, why can’t they trim his claws just as they do their own, their children’s and their dogs?

It can only be because they don’t think a cat is important enough and it’s much easier to have him declawed instead.

Do American people not shudder when they think of cats claws being removed? It doesn’t seem that all of them do. Yet in the UK we are horrified at the very thought of even taking ‘only’ the claws from cats, let alone their toe ends.

A person who did that to their cat if it was legal here would get no sympathy for feeling guilty, we would feel all our sympathy for the poor disabled cat.

People really shouldn’t have a cat if they haven’t the time or patience or common sense to realise that cats come with claws because they are beautiful, perfect little tools that every cat needs and has the right to keep.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Comments for

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 25, 2012 I cant make it out NEW
by: Edward

Yes man from what Ive read about declawing in America folk think its what they should do.
I cant make it out why they should think it when we dont think it here we know cats have claws man so if we dont like it we dont blame the cat and axe its toe ends off we dont get a cat.
Like I wrote once in another page its robbing cats of a home where they keep their claws like they are supposed to.

Feb 23, 2012 Ingrained attitudes NEW
by: Leah England

I read your article Ruth then all of the comments and loving my cats as I do I’ll never understand the mentality of people who want to hurt their cats.

Until 2 years ago I’d heard of de-clawing but it seemed something distant, something that might not even be reality and that’s all I knew. When I found out (thanks to you) I was angry, sad, tormented and I felt sick, physically sick that anyone could do this!! I started to tell others and they too had never even heard of it. It seemed incomprehensible to people that this was happening in a first world country. What I heard a lot was ‘why?’ ‘Why would they do that?’

You see no one could even think of a valid reason because to a mind that hasn’t been poisoned by the acceptance of it all the only thought is why would you do that to an innocent cat? The next question was ‘how do they defend themselves?’ however the prevailing thought was that Americans did this vile thing just because they could, because they personally preferred cats without claws. When I said the usual reasons were so that furniture could be protected or children could be free to maul and maim without a warning scratch or people who bled easily could protect themselves the
disbelief, shock and horror was plain to see.

Personally I believe that aspects of American society are to blame; having to keep cats in to keep them from harm for example but most of all I agree that people think that cats don’t feel pain as dogs do, that dogs are rated higher than cats, that dogs are more intelligent. I also firmly believe that some people in American feel that cats are a throw away item without feelings.

Feb 21, 2012 Struggle too NEW
by: Michael

I also struggle to figure out why British and American attitudes are so different on declawing. We come from the same place originally. I tried some theories. This is one. What is interesting is that some cities have banned it so there are many Americans who think like the British. That indicates to me that the attitudes can be changed. It is just a question of when and how soon.

Feb 20, 2012 Great article and poster NEW
by: mom of 5 clawed cats

Attitudes to cats sure do differ between the US and the UK and for the life of me I don’t understand why so?
People are people in both countries with the same emotions and cats are cats with the same feelings of pain.
So why does someone in the US think a cruel operation on a cat to take its claws is so great, their thinking completely opposite to a UK person who reacts with horror at the very idea?
Do the different countries see cats differently?
I don’t see how that can be when so many Americans feel as UK people do and want that abuse stopped.
I’ve puzzled over this but got no wiser.

Feb 20, 2012 Thank you NEW
by: Ruth

Thank you everyone !
I always think an article is only as good as its comments, so I’m very happy to see them coming in, good or bad.

Positive Cattitudes can you tell me please if vets advertise tail docking, ear cropping and debarking dogs as they do declawing cats ?
I realise they happen and I know people are trying to stop that too but I’ve not seen any vets offering discounts or packages on any of those procedures as they do for declawing.
They are all banned here in our country of course and I hated it when tail docking and ear cropping used to happen but neither is as cruel as declawing because it doesn’t affect a dog’s health or the way they walk or exercise.
Debarking is something else that was never done here, that is extremely cruel just as declawing cats is.
I have seen posts about dogs being declawed but not many and most Americans are shocked at that happening so why not at cats suffering the same !
It honestly does appear to us that cats over there are second class citizens to dogs to many people and we just can’t understand why.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 19, 2012 Great article, Ruth! NEW
by: Maggie

I was at training with my Kelpie, Rupert, yesterday, and I was talking to a woman who had a Smithfield cross. She said that when she started training her dog, he would jump up on her, and rake his claws down her arms. Sometimes when I ask Rupert to shake or drop, he’ll also rake his claws down my arms. It’s extremely painful, but I would never remove my dog’s claws!

Chilli, my cat, can’t do commands. If I told him to drop, shake or high five, he’d look at me like I was a nutcase. I get scratched by my dog all the time, I rarely get scratched by my cat. The whole “It’s okay to declaw a cat, but I would NEVER declaw my dog” thing, doesn’t make sense to me.

Even if it was a pain-free claw-only removal, it would still be extremely cruel. Removing the claws to stop scratching, makes as much sense as removing your finger tips so that you can’t type on a keyboard! (In the case of the American woman in the article, it might be a good idea!)

Feb 19, 2012 Custom made cats NEW
by: Michele S.

I think Jane A. hit the nail on the head when she said some people expect cats to be custom made.

Take a look at how North American breeders have totally changed the look of certain breeds to suit human whims. There are several breeds accepted in the USA (Munchkin, Scottish Fold, Pixie Bobs etc.)which are not recognised in the UK by the GCCF because of the health problems associated with their particular genetic mutation/defect. What happened to breeding for the “good” of the cat.

With the ever expanding number of “novelty” cat breeds being introduced, it’s not surprising that some people would think cats can be adapted to suit their requirements. That combined with vets keen to promote declawing, means too many people are ignorant that their cats are suffering physically and mentally.

It was heartwarming to read Positive Cattitudes’s comments that the truth about declawing is slowly getting through to people. I wholeheartedly agree with them that people should be better educated on the behavioural needs of their cat and provide suitable outlets for those behaviours.

I don’t think it is mere coincidence that when people were encouraged to begin keeping their cats indoors in the USA, that declawing became much more common.

We are lucky in the UK that vets (or at least the ones I’ve used) are keen to offer behavioural advice where appropriate. It seems to me that US vets are more comfortable with prescribing medication or surgery instead of suggesting behavioural solutions.

When I asked my vet recently why I was having difficulty finding information on declawing or any studies carried out by British vets. He simply said “You won’t find any because you don’t need studies or research to know it’s cruel”. What a shame more North American vets aren’t as honest.

Feb 19, 2012 Claws are basic NEW
by: Real cat lover

Claws are such a basic part of cats and that’s why I can’t understand either why some people think they aren’t needed.
You’d almost think they were horrible ugly dangerous things to be got rid of without delay.
It’s WRONG to be that way because if you love cats you love every part of them.
Surely the people declawing is offered to have a mind of their own which tells them how WRONG it is.
They shouldn’t HAVE to be educated!
No one in the UK has to be educated that cats come with claws for a purpose.
Ruth sure is right about declawing different attitudes.

Feb 19, 2012 education and solutions NEW
by: Positive Cattitudes

Hi! I am a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant in the US working very hard to educate about the realities of cat toe amputations (declawing). First of all, I no longer say ‘declaw’, I say ‘cat toe amputation’ A.K.A. ‘CTA”. That immediately helps change perspectives.

Unfortunately, there is A LOT of ignorance and naivety in most of the clients I work with, including rescue and shelter staff/volunteers, veterinarians, and regular cat parents. They don’t really know what cats need, far beyond just their claws. A vast majority don’t know cats really NEED to hunt, free food in a bowl is terrible for cats. So many feed inappropriate dry junk diets. So many don’t really understand the cat’s need for real vertical spaces, not just one medium sized cat perch. They don’t know that most cats really prefer moving water rather than stagnant water in a bowl. Or that they don’t like their whiskers to get squished trying to get a drink out of that tiny bowl!

I can go on all day about the misunderstanding of what cats really need to be happy and healthy. The great news is that the education efforts in the states ARE making a difference! Just in the past year, I have seen a huge leap in many areas that are important to cats (anti-declaw movement, environmental/mental enrichment, healthier diets, clicker training, etc and so on).

It is not always easy, but I have to say that the ‘converts’ are the cats most passionate allies. They so often feel betrayed ans mislead by their vets and ‘common knowledge’ that they want to tell EVERYONE what they learn about cat needs!

On the soft claws/paws, I really like them for immune compromised, elderly and similar family situations. Some of these people can not get even a tiny scratch and the nail caps can be a claw and cat saver! No they aren’t the answer always by any means, but keep them in the ‘tool box’ for when they are appropriate. 🙂

Now after those positive words, a negative:

Would they get a puppy and when taking him for his inoculations or booking him in for neutering, if the vet suggested having his claws removed, agree without question? >

Unfortunately, I am disgusted to say that in the U.S. this actually does happen. People cut off their dogs tails and ears, ‘debark’ them, and I have to say I know of a couple cases in which the dogs were ‘declawed’ to stop them from scratching hard wood floors. Obviously not on the level of CTA by any means, but still horrible!

BUT don’t give up on us Americans yet! Times, they are a changin’!

Feb 19, 2012 No one is forced to have a cat NEW
by: Jane A

Yes I’ve seen a lot of the same attitude from the USA and wondered why removing only the claws would be acceptable to some but removing the last toe joints is not.
If their choice of a pet in their home is a cat then they have chosen a pet with claws.
Why turn round and change that pet.
No one forces them to have a cat.
Yes I think some people would be happy to order a custom made pet, but to me a cat without claws isn’t a cat. It’s a sad and mutilated creature with the misfortune to be in the power of someone who doesn’t really like cats.

Feb 19, 2012 Give me some pliers NEW
by: Mrs M

Beautiful perfect little tools decribes a cat’s claws exactly!
Yes they are sharp tools but so are the nails of all living creatures, so if cats nails have to be removed to make them acceptable to some people, why not all living creatures nails?
Vets can’t take all the blame, a person who wants a cat without claws doesn’t love cats they only love a cat adapted to their specifications.
Well I get so angry I’d like to remove those peoples nails one by one with a pair of pliers so they can find out how living life adapted feels.

Feb 19, 2012 Education, Education, Education NEW
by: Kelly

I know we go over this all of the time, but the only way to to get people to understand the true nature of a cat, and in turn, why declawing is so cruel and inhumane, is through education.

The problem in the US ( and Canada as I have heard it) is that Vets ( you know..the ones that are SUPPOSED to be educating people) just are not doing it. It is again the almighty dollar speaking. Of course, if declawing were to be banned, in one years time, they wouldnt miss it. Oh sure, they may slap an added charge on some meds, maybe charge an extra $20-$30 for spays and neuters. I personally wouldnt mind that if it ends the pain and suffering.

My response to removing “just the claws” is the same as amputating the toes ….it is not acceptable, period.

Feb 19, 2012 Some attitudes stink! NEW
by: Barbara

It makes me shudder to think of veterinary science even trying to find yet another way to rob cats of their claws, what that selfish person never gave a thought to was all the cats used in veterinary experiments to perfect a marketable way to “remove only the claws”. When I think of the cats that must have been used in the past, first to perfect the way to chop off the toe ends and obviously (as it’s only recently that vets have admitted that cats feel pain) without pain relief, and then to perfect a way to burn off the toe ends, again likely without pain relief, it makes that red mist come over my eyes again!! The selfish, oafish, ignorant woman who wants “only” the claws removed cares nothing for the cat, any cat, she only cares about her own skin, furniture and convenience and it makes me sick! Great article and poster Ruth, as always.

Barbara avatar

Feb 19, 2012 I wonder? NEW
by: Rose

I’d be interested to know how many Americans who want declawing banned do think if it was “only” the claws it would be OK?

The “I thought it was only the claws” cry makes me feel sick,those claws are living feeling useful parts of the cat.
No I can’t get my head around the “only” at all either.

Feb 19, 2012 Strange NEW
by: Michael

Thanks Ruth. I think it is strange too. What this lady said is enlightening and it indicates that she likes cats except for the cat’s claws.

For me you either like the cat “as is” whole, or you don’t like the cat.

There is no room to modify a living creature in the same way you can customise a car or a computer.

She seems to want to buy a customized cat. That appears to be the attitude of the modern American towards the domestic cat.

I am bit surprised no one in America hasn’t set up a business called, “Customized Cats Inc.” Motto: “We give you what you want”.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo