On the subject of cats’ claws the USA and the UK are poles apart

Both the RSPCA and now Cats Protection have strongly denounced claw caps. I read today, in a local online newspaper (getsurrey.co.uk), that Cats Protection have even suggested that a cat owner using claw caps may expose themselves to a criminal prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 by committing the offence of causing unnecessary suffering.

Are claw caps humane?
These could almost be criminalised in the UK
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is quite a strong statement. I would suggest that it would be highly unlikely for a criminal prosecution to be commenced against a cat owner using claw caps, but just to make that point, to discuss that possibility, is an indication of how different the attitudes are in America and the UK with respect to a cat’s claws and the ‘damage’ that they cause.

This is clear because in America a significant percentage of cats are declawed. We are talking about millions of cats. It is a mainstream surgical operation at veterinary clinics. It is obviously far more extreme than placing claw caps on a cat. It is 10 amputations of the last digit of each toe (forelegs). And it is unnecessary. It is a clear-cut case of causing unnecessary suffering under the UK’s Animal Welfare Act 2006. If anybody did that in the UK they’d end up in jail.

The acceptance of declawing in the USA and the rejection of claw caps by both Cats Protection in the RSPCA (very well-known and influencial organisations in UK cat rescue) indicates the massive divide in attitude between cat owners and organisations in the UK and the USA on this topic.

Pawtector UK, a distributor of the product in the UK, said:

“..Soft claws were originally developed by a vet and designed to stop destructive scratching without harming your cat. The vinyl nail caps are designed to not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of the cat’s claws, so does not impact the cat’s natural behaviour.”

They also say that the glue used is non-toxic and that claw caps should only be used on indoor cats. The idea that they can cause suffering is because they prevent natural behaviour which may impact on the cat psychologically. The truth is we don’t really know the impact of this product on domestic cats. And that unknown risk should not be taken if, in truth, claw caps are nearly always unnecessary. That is the counter argument. Why are two countries with similar values poles apart on how to deal with cats’ claws?

3 thoughts on “On the subject of cats’ claws the USA and the UK are poles apart”

  1. A great number of cat owners in the US believe that a cats claws are natural and part of the package. The big issue is we can’t get a bill like this through congress and so we have 50 states to convince to pass laws prohibiting it. Add to all of this actual animal cruelty laws are barely enforced and ones heading for trial usually end up with a plea deal.
    It’s not enough to just rescue animals as individuals it’s speaking out loudly to everyone about animal abuse, unnecessary alterations in an animals physical appearance, declawing, the inhumane shoeing practices used on some breeds of show horses, merciless training methods and veterinary negligence (malpractice). Our county does not even have a mandatory S/N policy but euthanizes who knows how many animals yearly. Getting a foothold on declawing is gaining ground mostly through education and just outright brutal condemnation of anyone who even mentions they might declaw.
    Understand that Dr. Pol a so called veterinarian on a TV show was shown declawing a cat and is still beloved by millions of fans the TV show continues.

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  2. I’m glad the RSPCA and Cats Protection have denounced the use of claw caps! My blood ran cold when I read of the cat the PDSA had to anaesthetise to remove them because they were glued so fast. They should never have come here from the USA, because some people here, the type who think dressing cats in human clothes is acceptable, are thinking they are ‘cute’ and pretty. Cats claws have always been accepted here as an essential part of a cat, therefore claw caps are unnecessary, not like in the USA where even though they do stop a cat’s natural behaviour they are a million times better than declawing. Thousands more of us are fighting now to get declawing banned worldwide, it should never have been invented and is unheard of in most countries!

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    • Hi Ruth, I was impressed by the attitudes of these British institutions. It really reinforces the message that cat’s claws should be left alone.

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