The True Horror of Onychectomy

by Kelly
(Silver Creek, NY, USA)

I have worked as a veterinary technician in the US for over 20 years. Most of my career has been spent in shelter medicine and rescue work, therefore, I have seen horrors that no one should have to witness, and NO animal should have to suffer. I have gone undercover in puppy mills, broken up Pit Bull fighting rings, and rescued thousands of unwanted and abused fur kids. I have had to, unfortunately, euthanize many as well.

None of these things that I have witnessed compare to the practice of declawing. Why? Most abuse and neglect that animals suffer is at the hands of people who either do not know any better, or are just the lowest forms of society, void of all morals and ethics. Declawing is done by those who have taken an oath to protect them…to do no harm. The veterinarians.

Like the abused child who fears the very people who are supposed to care for them and protect them, their parents, veterinarians are doing the same to the animals they have sworn to care for and protect.It is the worst form of cruelty.

I have heard many arguments over the years for, and against, this procedure. What I have heard most from the pro-mutilation set is about their “right” to do as they see fit with their pets. The old adage of “ownership” is still alive and well. With this, I firmly disagree. An animal cannot be compared with a sofa, or a lamp, or a pair of shoes. They are living, breathing beings. Do you think most people feel that they “Own” their children? I have 4, and my answer is no, of course not. They are merely on “loan” to us to raise and teach and care for, until they grow up to have lives of their own. Why then do we, as humans, feel that we own these creatures?

One comment I recently read from a group that is pro-mutilation, is that they are “…
for animal welfare, NOT animal rights…” It infurates me that we humans seem to think we are the only ones that have any rights. Why? Because we have opposable thumbs? They too should have “certain inalienable rights”:

*The right to be supplied with adequate food and shelter by the humans who choose to take them into their homes.

*The right to be treated fairly and not be subjected to abuse.

*The right to quality medical care and emergency care when necessary.

*The right to live life free from pain, torment and mutilation.

Humans are really not all that wonderful. We need to rethink the term “humankind”…there is really nothing kind about most of us.

This may be familiar to some of you, and the main character is a dog, but i think it certainly pertains to cats as well:

When I was a young veterinarian, I made a house call to a family who was losing their best friend. I came into the house and prepared to euthanize the family dog. The mother was very upset and kept saying..”Its not fair. Why do you have to go so soon, its just not right” Their 8 year old son was sitting next to his mom and he said, ” You know how in church they say that we are put on this earth to learn to love unconditionally, to be kind to each other and forgiving of others? Well dogs already know how to do that so they dont have to stay as long.”

We have much to learn from our furry friends and it seems we give them absolutely nothing in return. Treat your pets as members of your family, because they are. You would not cut off the tips of your 3 year old childs fingers because they drew on the walls with crayon. Why, in the name of all that is right, would you cut off your cats “fingers” because they are doing what is natural to them? And it all starts with our veterinary community. If you walked into a doctors office and asked the doctor to cut off your childs fingers because they are destroying things in your home..they would be appalled, and they would call child services. Vets need to knock off the lame excuse that “If I dont declaw they will euthanize their cat.” or “If I dont declaw, they will surrender their cat to a shelter.” Fine…you then tell that client that your technician is currently on the phone with the SPCA, and because you are obviously an unfit parent, we will be removing your cat from you. Pretty simple really.

People believe what those who have degrees on their wall tell them. My dear doctors, it all starts with YOU. Stand up for those you have sworn to protect. Educate…dont mutilate.


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The True Horror of Onychectomy

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Sep 19, 2011 Kelly I love your article
by: Leah England

And I love your picture too and you know why? There’s more to that picture than we realise; someone once said that if you play with your cats they will stay kittens forever, therefore all our cats are our babies and we would never ever do anything to hurt our babies would we? Yet some do in the worst possible way.

I will never ever understand de-clawing and I hate with a passion all these possession crazy people who think companion animals are their possessions and as such they can do exactly as they wish with them. They are the damn lunatics!!

Kelly your article was brilliant; just filled with facts and common sense from one who has had first hand experience of these horrors.

Thank you. I only hope this page gets to those that matter and it makes a difference.

Sep 19, 2011 Kelly
by: Maggie

Kelly, that could not have been said any better. I completely agree with every word you said in that article.

The sooner vets realise that what they’re doing is legalised cruelty, the sooner cats can live in safety, without the threat of greedy vets who exploit the ignorance of people. Declawing is illegal here, and guess what! People still want their cats! They’re NOT having them euthanised, and they’re NOT surrendering them to shelters! Why is this? Because, unlike what the money-hungry vets say, people don’t euthanise or dump their cats just because cats come with claws. Ever heard of a scratching post?

Sep 15, 2011 Beautifully Written
by: Jo Singer

I was just blown away by your article. Your compassion and feeling just jumps off the page. I surely hope that lots of veterinarians see this article. Perhaps a few minds will be changed, and hopefully a trickle down effect will begin.. and grow and grow.

I really admire your candor and openess. Takes a lot of courage.

Thanks again Kelly! I know my cats would be totally safe in your hands.

Sep 15, 2011 excellent points
by: Kathleen

Kelly, you hit the nail on the head when you say, “People believe what those who have degrees on their wall tell them.” Americans view doctors as authority figures, and the demand for declawing exists in this country like in no other because the animal doctors are telling people it’s harmless and acceptable. In other countries where vets tell the truth about declawing- no demand for it! Thanks for sharing your experience and observations.

Sep 15, 2011 Burns me up!
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

It really burns me up on how people try to justify declawing. They come up with every excuse in the book as to why they think a cat should be declawed. Only one thing is necessary to remember. CATS WOULDN”T HAVE BEEN BORN WITH CLAWS IF THEY DIDN’T NEED THEM! End of subject.

I have 2 rescues who were declawed and they DON’T play. Not EVER. My other rescues can always find something to amuse themselves but not these two. It’s so sad…

Sep 15, 2011 Animals deserve the right to be protected from unnecessary mutilation
by: Michele S.

I’ve also come across those comments from people who think animals should not have rights. They’re usually the same bunch of people who seem to think that anyone who believes animals have the right to be protected from unnecessary suffering are fanatics. They must be ignorant of the fact that it was vets themselves who imposed a ban on declawing until the governments in their respective 36 countries made it illegal. I just don’t understand how so many vets in North America can turn a blind eye to what vets in the majority of the world oppose about declawing. Maybe I’m simply being naive, and that they don’t enter the profession to care for animals. Perhaps it’s the easy money to be made from performing purely elective surgery that attracts them?

Do they not understand that animal welfare means meeting the behavioural and physical needs of that animal? Here in the UK, the Animal Welfare Act (2006) promotes those needs. In their code of practice for the welfare of cats, they specify that owners are legally responsible to meet “its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns” and “its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.” They go on to explain “all cats need an appropriate
scratching place, high enough to allow them
to stretch out fully, to mark their territory and
condition their claws.” Anyone in the UK who fails to meet the needs of their pet, can find themselves liable for prosecution.

Until laws in North America provide cats with protection from declawing, it’s up to owners to boycott any clinic which offers the surgery. I’m sure that there are lots of vets out there who don’t declaw. They need to speak up and explain to the public why they are opposed to it. It’s only through education, that this cruelty will come to an end.

Sep 15, 2011 Ownership
by: Anonymous Amputees

Two thumbs up, Kelly!

I wish everyone could feel the same way about their pets.

There is a sign at my vet’s office:
“Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”

Unfortunately, ownership to most does not mean having a friend to care for until death do us part. To these individuals, ownership means slavery and a license to mutilate.

Shame on them! They will pay for their acts one day.

Sep 15, 2011 I sometimes despair
by: Rose

There speaks one who knows.
Kelly you are obviously a really caring person and I hope a lot of pro declaw people read your very informative page and it makes them think again.
I’ve been a ‘UK Troop’ on and off for over 2 years now and sometimes I despair that any progress is being made.
I can only imagine how you and people like you who really do love cats feel at this abuse going on and on and on and doctors getting rich by it.

I hope it is very soon banned.

Sep 15, 2011 Thank you Kelly
by: Barbara

Thank you for such a well thought out and reasonable argument against the horror known to laymen as de-clawing but which is in fact de-fingering, I have a name for the species that I am ashamed to be one of and it’s not humankind it’s humancruel

Those groups that you mention are all about what the humans think are best for themselves, for their own convenience and for the sake of the furniture that they worship so much, how they can therefore class themselves as cat lovers is beyond me, none of them are fit to own even so much as a hairball let alone the cat that pukes it up.

Barbara avatar

Sep 15, 2011 Thank you Kelly
by: Ruth

It is so good to read such a brilliant, sensible, logical article by someone who really knows the full horror of declawing !
I think you are in the wrong country as you are ‘one of us’ in the UK who truly love cats and don’t see them as possessions to be adapted to our liking.
Our vets would never declaw, even before our animal welfare laws banned any unnecessary surgery of any kind at all.
Every person I’ve spoken to here has been filled with shock and horror that cats are legally abused this way and that the AVMA stand by and do nothing to stop it.
That vets are allowed to advertise declawing for kittens(a supposedly last resort procedure) in neuter/declaw packages or with discount is disgraceful. That they are allowed to write biased articles and make promotional videos and disable the comments so no one can point out the cruelty of declawing is dreadful !
Thankfully there are many people there now who know the truth and word is spreading that declawing is not ‘just’ removing the claws (bad enough) but is the amputation of the cats finger ends.
It MUST be stopped before too many more cats suffer.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Sep 15, 2011 Great Article
by: Michael

Thanks a lot Kelly for speaking out on behalf of our cat companions and against veterinarians who simply have gone wrong, very wrong at a fundamental level. It is nice to get an insider’s viewpoint.

From the outside looking in, as we do here in Europe, declawing seems like madness. It never happens here. And to think that it is the vets who promote it and use the operation to make a lot of money is astonishing to Europeans.

This entry was posted in Declawing and tagged , , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


The True Horror of Onychectomy — 1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this great article! It’s always nice to hear an opinion on this subject from someone within the veterinary field. I, too, am against declawing and have even started a petition to stop my local pet store (Madison, WI) from declawing all cats and kittens they sell/adopt. If you have a free moment, would you mind signing? It would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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