The Paw Project Trash Colorado Veterinary Medical Association’s Defence of Declawing

The Paw Project have completely trashed the arguments – the feeble and well trodden clichéd arguments – of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) on the subject of cat declawing.

The CVMA naturally opposes the proposed Denver anti-declaw ordinance. In their opposition they make the following statements below to which I have added the counterargument of The Paw Project. I am thankful to the website “Cassandra Cat Wants Her Claws Back” for notification of this.

Client and Veterinarian Should Be Free to Choose to Declaw

The CVMA as usual support the idea that veterinary decisions should be made between the veterinarian and the cat’s owner. They say that they support “well-informed discussions” and thoughtful decision-making. In fact, all the vet associations make this bogus argument.

The Paw Project say that it is impossible to justify the freedom of choice concerning the procedure which is considered to be unnecessary, inhumane and a mutilation of the domestic cat by well educated veterinarians in other countries around the world. And, critically, it has been demonstrated countless times that many veterinarians do not discuss the true nature of cat declawing and its complications but rather declaw cat on demand without any consultation.

There Has Been a Dramatic Decline in Declawing (CVMA)

The Paw Project asks that the CVMA to produce evidence that there has been a decline in declawing. The truth is there is no evidence and they make the point that all current evidence tells us that there has not been a decrease, sadly. There has been little change in the percentage of cats declawed in the past decade.

The CVMA Supports Modern Surgical Methods and Effective Pain Management

The Paw Project in response say that their statement misses the point completely. The effects of declawing are lifelong. The effects are not dependent upon the technique used and neither are they dependent upon pain management. Dr Nicole Martell-Moran published an article in a peer-reviewed journal which concluded that declawing increases the risk of long-term persistent pain. It increases the prevalence of unwanted behaviours such as inappropriate elimination and aggression and biting. There are many pages on this website concerning long-term pain from declawing and the long-term consequences of declawing which are conveniently overlooked by declawing veterinarians including it appears by members of the CVMA.

A Colorado veterinarian, Dr Robin Downing, an internationally recognised expert in pain management states:

“We know from pain physiology that when we sever a nerve there is a very high risk of creating an ongoing self-perpetuating pain state called “neuropathic pain”… We know quite well the unremitting torture they endure each and every day, tingling, burning, electric-like pulsed pain, pins and needles. We also know…Feline toe amputation for ever alters the biomechanics of the cat’s feet, as well as the rest of the body. When a cat is subjected to toe amputation, in addition to having the last bone of the toe removed, all of the surrounding tendons and ligaments that attach to that bone are severed. This changes the architecture of the feet, thus changing the biomechanics of how the feet work.”

CVMA: We Support the Use of Data and Research for Thoughtful, Effective Animal Welfare Policy Making

The Paw Project in response ask firstly that the CVMA respond to the data that they are provided and secondly to prove through data that declawing is a safe and effective treatment which is beneficial to cats. My comment: obviously they won’t be able to provide this information.

CVMA: “We Support the Human-Animal Bond”

The Paw Project rightly say that they do not see how declawing can enhance the human-animal bond in any way. There are many examples of declawed cats being relinquished to shelters because of behavioural problems brought about by declawing. The concept that there would be a mass abandonment of cats coming coming into rescue centres after a declawing ban is unsubstantiated. It is not substantiated by the Los Angeles Animal Services Department. As you know declawing is banned in Los Angeles.

In fact, in Los Angeles there was a 43.3% reduction in owner-surrendered cats to city shelters compared to 5 years before the declawing ban. In other cities where there is a declawing ban the reduction in cat owner surrenders range from 6.5% to 38.8%. This has been put down to a decrease in so-called behavioural problems in declawed cats particularly biting and litter box avoidance. Therefore, a ban on declawing saves the lives of cats.

The executive director of a cat rescue organisation, The Fort Collins Cat Rescue, makes a point (and I will interpret this in my way) which is very valuable. Sarah Swanty says that adopters from their shelter are told that they cannot declaw the cat that they adopt. This does not deter them. Clearly the shelter is providing education about declawing and the adopters accept it. Therefore once people are educated on declawing they do accept it and it also supports the view that veterinarians often do not engage properly in a full discussion on declawing and its consequences with their clients which clearly undermines the veterinarians’ argument that they discuss declawing fully with their client.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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