My Interview with Dr. Kirsten Doub, Director of Paw Project Utah

I recently had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Utah veterinarian Dr. Kristen Doub. She is a cat lover extraordinaire who is greatly concerned about feline health and their welfare. But what is extra-special about Dr. Doub’s practice is her unwillingness to declaw cats and the extraordinary research she is doing to prove that cats who are declawed are suffering immensely.

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

Doub received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. As a younger veterinarian she has already been discriminated against by senior vets and some staff at clinics in which she worked due to her refusal to declaw cats.

Fortunately for cats, this discrimination motivated her to open her own clinic; the Union Park Veterinary Hospital in Cottonwood Heights, Utah and to hire like-minded staff. Her hospital is right down the street from the “chop shops” where she set out to “out-compete” them by using better medicine and deep compassion.

In addition to refusing to declaw cats, she will not dock tails or do dewclaws on puppies who are awake, won’t debark them, or crop their ears.

Doub said,

“I wasn’t taught these things in school and I am not planning on starting the torture now to follow suit with the cowboys.“

Since Doub refuses to declaw cats, as a result she is sure she may lose some clients. However these are clients she doesn’t want in her practice. Her goal is to attract clients that treat their pets as family members; and asking her to declaw their cats just to preserve furniture certainly does not fit into that equation. Instead she offers free nail trims for her feline patients.

I asked Doub if she thought that veterinarians who won’t declaw don’t openly advertise their philosophy since it may scare away new clients. She said,

“I do think there are vets who don’t want to declaw or even who don’t, but don’t advertise this. They are ashamed of their ethics. What kind of world do we live in when you are ashamed of your ethics?”

Even though there are horrendous risks associated with the procedure, many veterinarians justify performing the surgery using the myth that declawing “preserves” cats’ homes. I wonder if they have convinced themselves that this is true. Since there actually is a strong correlation between cats being declawed and ultimately surrendered to shelters due to their inappropriate elimination and aggressive behavior after they have lost their first line of defense and are suffering. I asked Doub if veterinarians who routinely declaw continue to do so mainly to boost their income.

I was totally stunned by Doub’s response. I had no idea about the huge profits that these practioners make by performing this surgery. This extremely low overhead procedure is an astronomical money-maker. A pair of Rescoe nail trimmers costs less than $20. About 1,000 kitty toes can be amputated before a replacement is needed. What’s more, shockingly, most veterinarians who routinely declaw don’t even use sterile gowns or sterile preps and administer to the cats lousy, cheap post-operative pain medication.

Rescoe Nail Clipper
Rescoe Nail Clipper

Although declawing should never be done at all, Doub explained that if the procedure is to be done “right” using sterile prep and post-operative pain medication (which includes constant rate infusion) should cost the client $2000 – which works out to be $200 per amputation. The clinic cost of the surgery is the two minutes of the doctor time – approximately $12. So when you factor in doing the declawing along with a $30 cat neuter or $60 cat spay at a cost of between $100- $350 – this is a big ticket item. It is a very low cost, high profit procedure.

Adding to procedures that truly are acts of animal cruelty, according to Dr. Doub, apparently a group of California veterinarians are already considering declawing the canines who scratch their owners and are marring their hard-wood floors. And these veterinarians vow to “do no harm”? What’s next? Give me a break!

Dr. Doub is the director of Paw Project Utah, a local branch of the Paw Project. The Paw Project’s mission is ending the inhumane practice of declawing.

Doub is presently involved in an extensive research project examining and x-raying the paws of cats who have already been declawed. Using scientific evidence-based medicine, Doub’s is demonstrating that cats who have been declawed suffer horrendously and needlessly.

Some of the extremely disturbing and shocking results of Dr. Doub’s study are featured in part two of this article.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

34 thoughts on “My Interview with Dr. Kirsten Doub, Director of Paw Project Utah”

  1. Just went to the Paws Project Facebook. Can’t find the interview posted anywhere. Did you go to Utah or Skype? Do you have any video? Would love to see.

  2. What a brave ethical woman bloody good for her! She has also answered a question that has been asked on here many times ‘I wonder if they teach de-clawing to the younger vets in vet school?’ Well it seems they don’t “I wasn’t taught these things in school and I am not planning on starting the torture now to follow suit with the cowboys.“ says Dr Doub so isn’t that even worse that they de-claw and just do it without and training 🙁 awful and evil as clear as day that its all just for money hate it!!!

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  4. From your keyboard, Michael… 😉 I have always been against declawing and would never, ever, even think about it. Our house is well furnished with climbing and scratching furniture, scratching pads and posts, and there is never any problem with furniture being clawed. The choice of furniture (all smooth, with no fabric that is attractive to cats’ claws) is important as well. But no furnishing will ever be more important to me than the lives, wellbeing, and care of my FAMILY — my beloved cats. The eldest, at 19, came to join us at 14, having been declawed years ago by his former caregivers, who loved him dearly and were ignorant of the truth about this horrendous procedure. I have to say he is the most well-adjusted declawed cat I’ve ever encountered, and walks quite well; but I feel terrible that he has injured paws, and am very careful of them.

    1. exactly no animal should EVER be declawed they need them so they can climb or in an attack they are part of their body its the same of having our hands cut off. Your right Good to pick fabrics that wont fall apart. When picking my lounge suite i did the same thing made sure it could handle cats claws 🙂

  5. I think we need to create a “Wall of Shame” where we can keep a running list of declaw vets as we learn their names.

      1. 99%!!!!
        I feel so lucky to have been with my “tarnation” vet for so many years.
        So southern and so kind.
        I miss him very, very much.

  6. Super, Jo!
    I love that Rescoe picture.
    “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” cries the angry Protectors of Cats.

  7. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Jo. I have great respect for Dr. Doub and others like her. And I pledge a LONG time ago to NEVER declaw a cat. I have adopted several that were already declawed, but I have never, nor will I ever do it to a cat.

  8. BRAVO!! BRAVO!! BRAVO!! Dr. Doub is publishing data that the anti-declaw crusaders have been asking for for years!! With the numbers to back up our cause, we are not just a bunch of fanatics anymore,(or an ‘extremist’ as I have been called by declawing veterinarians when I talk to them about declawing), people will have to listen now.

    My dear friend Annie Bruce, author of the book ‘Cat Be Good: A Commonsense Approach to Training Your Cat,’ and one of the pioneers of the anti-declaw movement, told me that one day it would be up to the veterinarians to figure this all out. She was right. The time is here. The time is finally here.

    Thank you, Jo!

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Carla is Annie OK? We ‘met’ when our UK anti declaw troops first formed around 6 years ago, she sent copies of her wonderful ‘Cat be Good’ book over to us. She was poorly last time we corresponded and I often wonder if she’s OK and think how pleased she must be that the indisputible evidence of the cruelty of declawing is gathering now.
      She inscribed in my copy of her book ‘One day declawing will end’

  9. DW!

    From all of our fingertips to God’s eyes- praying that this horrendous cruelty will end in all our lifetimes- and MUCH sooner. It was a joy and honor to interview Dr. Doub. She is one remarkable lady -(a HUGE understatement).

  10. There have to be hundreds like her. But thousands not like her. Michael, I don’t think embarrassment can reach the cold hearts of the Vets who declaw, and this interview states the reason why…cheap and fast money at the expense of thousands of cats lives. But more vets who come forward and expose declawing for what it is, is a step in the right direction. This continues to be a long hard road. But every sparkle of hope, like Dr. Doub speaking out, is forward moving.

    There needs to be a parade of anti-declaw vets, marching (virtually) across this huge country, bringing this horrible practice to light.

    Jo, you rock! Wouldn’t it be nice to get laws passed in Ruth AKA’s lifetime, and Michael’s, and mine, and everyone who is fighting this fight…so she and all, can rest in peace.

  11. Wow thats great to hear that it takes a women to stand up and set up her on vet that doesnt declaw and whats shes gone though just to get there. . So great that there is some good stuff happening over there finally.

      1. Exactly total agreement there i think its great role model for other vets coming up the ranks and its good for her to be supported and adovacated and for shame on those other vets that are declawing.

  12. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    I very much admire Kirsten! Not only for her stance against declawing and not only for her bravery in telling the world she refuses to declaw and why, but also for trying to help cats declawed by her unethical, money grabbing colleagues who obviously don’t care about the suffering they cause millions of cats.
    I have noticed other vets ‘coming out of the closet’ too because of Kirsten and other Paw Project vets who are to be much admired too, that is wonderful news.
    Hard scientific proof is showing those declawing vets for what they are, butchers who don’t care about the cats they mutilate! They ignore the fact that declawing does NOT keep cats in their homes but they can’t ignore the proof that Kirsten is making public.
    EVERY declawing vet needs to see a copy of that proof, it needs shouting from American rooftops so that NO ONE at all in the entire country can pretend they don’t know that declawing destroys a cat’s quality of life.
    I love your picture Michael and I’d love to see that roscoe nail clipper around the neck of every vet who continues to declaw cats.

    1. I will defy any vet to not be embarrassed by Kirsten’s study and I would like to see more and to see the evidence gradual build to the point where the pressure on the AVMA and the vets is so great they have to do something.

      We will have to force them, kicking and screaming to address the fact that they are in blatant breach of their oath and to admit they are making a massive mistake in sustaining this practice.

  13. Great interview! Wow it’s just incredible how many people who would know it’s wrong – just turn a blind eye for the sake of profit. I mean – it’s really very shocking actually. How could they – how could they abuse the knowledge they have and encourage people who don’t understand what is involved, to do such an awful thing to their cat.

    It is evil. Once a blind eye gets tured there is no innocence or accident. It’s known. The choice to turn a blind eye to this cruelty and encourage the procedure to be done whenever possible – is evil. It is bad. It is ignorant. It is cruel. Nobody can claim innocence in this.

    1. It is evil.

      I agree. It is because the vets are in a position of trust and they abuse it. The worst kind of bad behavior. As a result they can no longer be trusted.

  14. Loved the interview. I hope you don’t mind me having a bit of fun with the Rescoe nail clipper. The vet being “rescoed” is a genuine declawing vet. I have forgotten his name.

    Kirsten is a heroine to us in the fight against declawing. It does not surprise me that she has been ostracised by some vets. Silly sods.

    One day, come the revolution, they’ll regret it.

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