The guilt of declawing cats must be shared

The guilt of declawing cats must be shared

by Mel

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.

After following as many articles as possible about declawing I feel I have to have my say. I have noticed that many people blame the vets. Yes those vets must take a large proportion of the blame. But so must the people who have their cats declawed take some blame also.

They say they did not know what declawing meant, that their vet offered it and they accepted. They ACCEPTED a procedure without first finding out what it was.

But I trusted my vet, they say. So does that mean if the vet had said would you like your cat dewhiskered while he is being neutered, they would have agreed because the vet knows best? I think not.

Everyone knows that cats have whiskers because they need them. It is hardly rocket science then that cats have claws too because they need them. So why did they not ask about the procedure called declawing? The vet would have to explain then that it was ten amputations. Would they have still trusted the vet who had offered major surgery so lightly? I think not in the case of most people.

I randomly phoned 6 vets practices here in the UK to ask if I could have my kitten neutered and declawed. All the people who answered the phone sounded shocked and refused declawing on the grounds that it is banned.

I then asked if before the ban they would have agreed. All said no, never! One lady was trying very hard to stay polite but her voice was as cold as ice and left me in no doubt of her disgust at me.

I did tell them all in the end that I was merely doing some research as declawing happens to kittens routinely in the USA and Canada and that I wanted to write an article on the difference in opinions between them and the UK.

I told them also about the vets who offer neuter and declaw packages and the vets who offer discount vouchers for declawing. All were shocked and disgusted and agreed even had it only been the claws and not the amputation of healthy toe joints, it was still very very wrong.

I asked if were they employed by a vet in the USA, would they offer, book in, or assist, at a declawing. All said an emphatic NO they would rather be unemployed.

As I have already stated, vets who declaw must take the largest proportion of the guilt, along with their employees who work for them knowing full well what they do is wrong. But the people who hand over their cats without finding out what will happen to them must take a share of the guilt too.

USA and Canadian people, please do not take home a kitten or a cat if you do not like a pet with claws.

USA and Canadian people with a cat already, please do not ever trust a vet who declaws. Phone around and find a vet who really does care about the animals he or she trained to care for.

Join the people of the UK who would never condone such abuse of living creatures.


The guilt of declawing cats must be shared to Declawing cats

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The guilt of declawing cats must be shared

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Mar 19, 2010 Pet Welfare law needed
by: Sue

Yes cats all over the world suffer from so much more than declawing but in our country and many others they don't suffer deliberate abuse by vets.
I think there are two things that most of us in countries where declawing has never happened can't get our heads around.
1. That anyone would get a cat and want the claws removed.Even a person who knows less than anything about cats must realise how painful and cruel that is.
It couldn't be otherwise even if it was JUST the claws.
2. That some vets are eager to do this cruel operation.
I read that younger vets are unlikely to want to declaw cats but older vets are set in their ways and won't stop doing it even though so many people are against it now.
So hopefully as the older vets die off(and the sooner they do the better)declawing will not be as common.
Speaking of young people, I have a friend whose daughter is going to work in research.Her class were given the choice of applying for jobs where animals are used for research or where alternatives are used.The whole class plumped for wanting to use alternatives.Many English young people are so much more aware of the fact that too many animals are exploited.
It's dreadful that cruel yobs run cats over for fun.A pet Welfare Law is badly needed in the USA.
I just finished a book written by an American who said in a part of the story'The English are so fanatical about animals'
I don't think we are fanatical, but if being compassionate and caring and not trusting'the men in the white coats'without doing any research, then I'd rather be called fanatical than an accessory to animal abuse.

Mar 18, 2010 Retired Thank Goodness
by: Merrily

Sue,the vet who declawed my cat retired twenty years ago, but there are many new vets to take his place.
Back when he was in business this was a very small town, we had one pet store, they carried goldfish, dog products, and if you were lucky you could find a litter pan or canned food for a cat.
I still have the books that I bought then, and none of them even mentions declawing. Most don't even include the Norwegian Forest Cat as a breed in the USA.
I can't think of many subjects that create as much outrage as declawing does on this site, and rightly so. However I think if you look at the bigger picture,cats suffer from so much more than declawing and we look the other way.
Since I moved here almost two years ago, I noticed black cats and kittens are frequently lying dead on the streets. We have almost no traffic, only 2500 people live here, so why all of the dead black cats?
I suppose for the young chasing a cat down, and running it over is a fun passtime. When I moved here I fed about eight feral or homeless cats, six are gone, and new ones have arrived.
We need to keep fighting against declawing but until cats are more valued in this country I consider declawing to be just the tip of the iceberg.
I suppose all we can do is cherish our own cats, feed the ones who need our help, and try to change the laws, one city at a time.

Mar 16, 2010 I agree too
by: Rose

Yes Mel,the guilt must be shared.
I don't understand how something classed as animal abuse in some countries can be acceptable to people in others.
Removing a cats claws is so obviously cruel that I can't imagine real cat lovers even considering it.
Most people in all countries have the same intelligence to make the choice whether to have a cat in their home or not.But some seem to believe that a cat should be so grateful to have a home that having those 10 amputations is a small price to pay.
They deprive healthy kittens of their right to a home and life with their claws.
I accept our cultures are different but I'll never accept why anyone with any intelligence would subject their cat to such an obviously cruel operation.

Mar 16, 2010 Good article
by: Sue

Good article Mel.Well said.
Here is a list of vets who do not declaw, including some who reluctantly only declaw in the most extreme cases....
So they DO exist and there are quite a few of them.
Merrily the vet who told you it was a simple operation with no stitches,no pain and no problems was an out and out liar.Is he still lying to people even now and getting away with it? Bone joints of any living feeling being could never be amputated with no pain.Had it been the removal of merely the claw,it stands to reason that would be painful too,I don't imagine we could have our finger nails removed with no pain or distress.Cats feel no less pain than we do,they are merely much more stoic.
The whole idea of removing healthy parts is totally abhorrent and I can't see why anyone would ever agree to it.
Some one needs to sue one of these butchers masquerading as vets,shout it from the rooftops, DO something to stop them.
As Michael says,millions of cats are suffering and as Mel says it's partly down to the selfish ignorance of the owners who betrayed their cats by blindly trusting someone with their welfare instead of finding out exactly what would be done to their pet.
Even with the excuse that they didn't know,now they do know,why are they not moving Heaven and Earth to stop it and save more cats suffering now and in the future.

Mar 16, 2010 I agree too
by: Ruth

Hi Mel, your brilliant article popped up on a Google alert.I admire the research you've done before writing this.I'm not surprised at the reaction you had from UK vets practices,our vets were always totally anti declaw.
It does seem a sort of tradition in the USA to have cats declawed but it doesn't make it right and it's past time people started thinking for themselves.
It's like hunting with dogs here,it was a tradition but a few years back it was banned and some people didn't like that. But now animals are more protected then they were it's only right that cruel 'sports' or practices are stopped by law.
People who don't care about animals as we do just shrug it off saying well it happens.They're not interested on whether it's banned or not. So I suppose people in the USA and Canada who don't love cats just don't give a thought to declawing.
There needs to be a law in the USA and Canada to stop it!
Even if declawing was 'only' removing the claws, I really can't see why people agree to that,it always puzzles me why they get a cat,they surely must know they come with claws. Just as you made the point they come with whiskers, each and every part has a purpose or they wouldn't be there.
Yes we neuter our cats if we are responsible caring owners, as that is for the cats benefit, but routine declawing is never for the cat's benefit. It's done for selfish reasons only.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Mar 16, 2010 I agree!
by: Babz

At last, someone who doesn't accept that the poor guilable USA people are hoodwinked into having their cats mutilated! I have long felt that although obviously as the one who actually makes easily available and actually amputates the toe ends the veterinarian carries a large proportion of the blame, I also think that the owner carries equal if not more blame. When you take a cat on you take responsibility for that cat's health and wellbeing on too,the result of any decisions made about optional surgery are solely at the owner's door, no-one forces anyone to do anything to their cat, not even neutering is compulsary. I can't imagine how anyone can take someone else's word for it and blindly hand over their cat to be anaesthetised and surgically adapted without doing any research into the procedure first! I think blaming the vet is just a cop out myself, furniture seems to take precedence in the USA and this is what mainly drives the demand for declawing! English mindset must be vastly different to USA mindset because even though I'm not the world's bravest person I would stand up and shout long and loud if anyone tried to tell me to mutilate one of my cats, wouldn't you?

Mar 16, 2010 Even white coats can be wrong
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Thanks Mel for an excellent article. Of course you're right the guilt must be shared, but I think many people are raised to believe or want to believe that the guys in the white coats always know best and will never inflict any harm on anybody, man or beast.
Examples to the contrary usually would end up in the papers over here, but American vets run their businesses in a culture that seems to see pets as mere commodities. Also it's a culture that
has been brainwashed into accepting declawing as normal.
There is however a trend towards not seeing all white coats as Gods, helped mainly because the www has made seeking information for yourself so easy.
The underprivileged, the uneducated and the feeble-minded can still be excused for not knowing the cruel facts about declawing.
But those able to access information should know better by now and not let themselves talk into having their vet mutilate their cats.

Finn Frode avatar

Mar 15, 2010 New Vet In Town
by: Merrily

While looking at the comment about declawing I saw an ad saying "Find A Cat Vet" in your area. I entered my zip code and there was a new Vet Clinic in town.
For their services they listed....Animal Flea control, we don't have fleas in the High Desert, it is too dry. Animal Grooming, Animal Microchipping, and declawing, then they claim to practice Holistic Veterinary Medicine.
The only way we will stop declawing in the USA is to convince the polititians that it is harmful to our cats. I follow what goes on when a city is deciding whether they should ban declawing, and I can say we have our work cut out for us. The people who are pro declawing don't know what they don't know, and the Vet's are not going to educate them.
Hopefully those who have access to the internet will find this site, and others like it and become informed.

Mar 15, 2010 Legal VS Illegal
by: Merrily

As long as it is illegal in the UK and other countrys to declaw you will get the reaction that you heard time and time again when you asked is it ok to declaw a cat.
Of course it is not OK it is against the law.
In the USA it is legal, like it or not, and as when I talked to my vet years ago, I was told it was a simple surgery which removes the claws, no stiches, no pain, no problem.
Now that we have computers we can look up the procedure, the same as I look up every medication that my Doctor prescribes for me before I take it.
In the fifty years that I have lived in this area I have not found one vet who doesn't declaw, and they do it legally. We can call and say I won't use the services of this Vet because he or she declaws, and they simply don't care, they have plenty of people who will. To find a Vet who will not declaw you have to find the newer Vets, the ones who know it is wrong, the ones who don't push Science Diet foods on every patient, but recommend raw feeding. These Vets practice in the big cities of Southern California, not the smaller towns.They need the larger populations to earn a living since they are not padding their pockets with terrible food, and declaws.
Why the USA is so far behind other countrys in reguards to declawing I don't know, but what I do know is as long as your trusted Vet tells you it is a simple operation, not to worry it will be hard to change the American mindset. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the owner to make an informed decision, but believe me the Vets aren't going to give up this income easily, and they aren't going to tell you they are about to amputate your cats toes. If they did, I can assure you there would be far fewer declaws in the USA.

Mar 15, 2010 Well Said
by: Michael (London, UK)

I agree with you totally. And well done in doing the research. I phoned a USA vets and asked to speak to the manager about why they offered discount on declawing and they put the phone down on me. They are horrible!

I do think though that the USA vets run the culture of declawing as something that is acceptable. They set the scene and promote it as OK. They gradually indoctrinate over the decades the cat owners into a mind set that makes them believe that declawing and neutering as a package acceptable and normal. In short, they are the criminals and the cat owners are "aiding and abetting" the crime, to use a criminal term. The cat is the victim in this mass crime (20 million cats mutilated).

Michael Avatar

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