Origin of Cat Declawing

Origin of cat declawing?
Origin of cat declawing?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat declawing started around the middle of the 20th century by dogfighters who appeared to have declawed cats themselves and then thrown the cats to their dogs as “live bait” to warm them up for an impending fight. Then veterinarians appeared to have cottoned on to it, renamed it “onychectomy” to make it sound like some sort of wonderful and mysterious medical procedure and commercialised it to the maximum. That appears to be the origin of cat declawing. At least it is a theory. What is fact is that in the 1950s (believed 1952) a veterinarian adopted declawing professionally and it gained favor in America and grew from there until it became a part of the fabric of American life.

How did it come to this? First things first. Dogfighting is illegal and has been for sometime. It is firmly an underground pastime. It is hard to pin down and difficult to stop and prosecute people who participate in this gruesome sport. Obtaining clear, confirmed information about the role of cats in dog fighting is all but impossible. Please bear that in mind.

Elizabethan-era (1558โ€“1603) dog-fighters started tail docking their dogs. The purpose was to prevent the dog showing, through body language, an intent to avoid a fight. Ears were then cropped to prevent dogs losing fights through bleeding ears. Tail docking was adopted by the dog fancy later. These amputations seemed to have begun the idea that a domestic animal’s anatomy could be modified to suit people.

By 1976 dogfighting was outlawed in all of the United States. Many states had banned dogfighting by the 1860s. However, it appears that it still happens quite a lot. In fact, it happens pretty much anywhere on the planet and is still legal in many countries. It is impossible to enforce the ban on dog-fighting in countries where it is banned.

Cats are still used as live bait in dog-fights. There is a ready supply of unwanted cats. If that supply is insufficient, cats are stolen off the street or adverts for free kittens etc are responded to. As recently as 27 March 2013 the BBC website reported on “Dog-fighting ‘bait'”. The author makes it clear that the dog-fighting bait stories are possibly an “urban myth”.

I think we can leave it there on dog-fighting and conclude that dog-fighting still happens quite a lot despite being illegal and thoroughly disgusting. We also know with some certainty that cats are still used as live bait as are puppies and rabbits.

Conclusion: dog-fighting created the concept of mutilation of the companion animal for human convenience. The cat was used as live bait at dog-fights. A cat will defend himself even under overwhelming odds and in the face of a terrible death. The cat will use his claws which could hurt a fighting dog. As the cat’s purpose was to simply get the dog in the mood for a fight or to test the dog, the dog fighting fraternity removed the cat’s claws making the cat defenseless. The dog killed the cat, smelled the blood and was in prime mood for the impending dog-fight just like an athlete warming up for a race. Veterinarians then stepped in to commercialize declawing.

If this sequence of events is true, it puts most of the blame for cat declawing on the shoulders of the American veterinarians. The other part of the blame falls on the cat caretakers. I have always said that whether cat declawing continues or not is in the hands of the vets. They are in charge. It seems it was always like that.

Note: I would like to thank Dee in Florida for pointing this out to me

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

14 thoughts on “Origin of Cat Declawing”

  1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Too many cats have suffered, many are still suffering and many more to come will suffer yet because of the invention of this cruel surgery

  2. Yet in this 21st century, Cats are still subject to this torture by young veterinarians who pride themselves on the use of modern,”non-invasive” laser. How did these generations of veterinary students, since the 1950’s, NOT MARCH ON THE DEANS’ OFFICES and HOWL in PROTEST AGAINST this mutilation?! Declaw veterinarians: your “ethics” are as debased as dog-fighters.

    1. Yes, they have totally lost or never had their moral compass. Declawing should never have happened as it is the opposite to what should happen at a veterinary clinic. Shame on these people.

  3. American vets embraced the opportunity to cash in on this unnecessary amputation, while 44 other civilized countries made it a felony. Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame.

    Please actively educate your friends and help us #outlawdeclaw #AVMAtellthetruth #AVMAHATESCATS #AVMAbullieskittens.

    #pawproject #cityTheKitty

  4. Vile utterly vile what a world of sick evil cruelty and depravity. Some will do anything for money ๐Ÿ™ there are some things I just wish I didn’t know about and this is one of them ๐Ÿ™

  5. I don’t know what the origin of declawing is, but it is something about which people need to be informed. Many people (myself included) really had no idea of what was involved.

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Surely this can’t be true! I sincerely hope it is not.
    To think of cats claws being torn out by these rotten excuses for human beings to throw helpless cats to their dogs is too unbearable.
    Bad enough the vets who experimented on newly born kittens to older cats, to ‘perfect’ declawing, causing those cats agony and causing millions of cats since then agony too and still causing cats agony even now.
    It’s horrible and cruel and yes Michael I agree that the people who have their cats declawed are partly to blame, have they no brains to think for themselves how cruel it is?

    1. Unbearable and disgusting. Humans invented hell. I believe the ones who perpetuate it deserve it themselves. Do unto others as you want for yourself, and ‘others’ includes animals in my book.

      1. Good description. This “theory” of the origins of declawing rings true but there is a quite a lot uncertainty. For sure cats are used a bait (still are, I am sure of that). Whether they were declawed is less certain but it makes sense. It follows what dog fighters did to dogs that were used as bait. They ground down their teeth so they were defenseless. A very similar concept to declawing. Dog fighting is a monstrous pastime and the people who enjoy are the kind of people who could declaw a cat themselves. Remember that case recently of the man who did DIY declaw? A good part of the human race is simply horrible.

    2. With the exception of being thrown to the dogs, pun intended visualize that, the human reason behind the violence perpetrated against the feline doesn’t matter in the least, except the poor”owned” cat must live with it.

      What is truly despicable is the way the AVMA made this indefensible mutilation socially acceptable and encouraged it’s practice to the tune of 20,000,000 or so cats a year. Shamefully they neglect informing and educating their clients that declawing is a felony in 44 civilized countries, and is an amputation of P3 bone. They minimalized pain and damage, invest in better ways to perform more, faster, and even advertise special sales!!! The myths/excuses are lies, easily proven wrong if anyone looks for the truth.

      The AVMA has made us into a country of toeless cats. #ShameOnYouDoctors

      It truly is a matter if respect and ethics, neither of which allow you to amputate perfectly healthy toes. I will never again employ a vet who declaws. I can’t trust them to tell the truth.

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