Categories: Veterinarians

Veterinarian Talks Cat Owner Out of Using Soft Paws and Into Declawing

The story comes from an anonymous contributor. It is very believable. The cat owner concerned shared her story with the dailybeast.com website.

She says that her veterinarian convinced her to not to use Soft Paws, and declaw her three cats instead.

Resco declawing guillotine. This crude and gruesome device is frequently used to amputate the last phalange of the cat’s paw.

For the sake of clarity, Soft Paws are plastic sheaths that are glued over the ten claws of the cat’s front paws. They are far from an ideal solution but obviously preferable in terms of cat welfare to declawing. That’s an understatement.

A vet’s fee for buying and fitting Soft Paws is $10. They need to be replaced and reaffixed every six weeks.

For her three cats the bill would have been $30. The vet’s bill for declawing was $1,300 for the three cats. For a commercially minded vet who is prioritising making money over cat welfare the decision is a “no brainer”.

So, all three of this lady’s cats were declawed on the recommendation of her veterinarian against her initial desires and against guidelines and his oath.

The three cats are: Teegar, Abby and Ryder. After declawing they all ended up with infections. The infections lead to the amputation of their front paws — shocking to read this. This appears to have happened to all three cats. It’s worse: one cat had her front legs removed! This seems strange and horrendous to be honest. If it is true it is also terribly sad. Perhaps the same vet recommended the amputations.

The aftercare costs of declawing amounted to the tens of thousands of US dollars. They had medical insurance. The insurer suggested that the owner give up treatments and have all three cats euthanised. I guess the insurance company wanted to stop shelling out payments and saw no end to continuing medical treatment. The complications of declawing are not discussed enough or at all by veterinarians. Wrong? Tell me.

I wonder how many vets talk their clients into declawing cats. Or what about this: how many vets don’t try and talk their clients out of declawing their cats as they are obliged to do under veterinary guidelines when it is done for non-therapeutic reasons (99% declawings are non-therapeutic).

There must be many vets who fail in this regard because there are so many declawed cats (21.6m). It is clear to me that veterinarians are not doing anywhere near enough to turn their clients away from declawing and some, as this story shows, actively promote it.

This is why they will never voluntarily stop doing it. It has to be banned. New York state is currently debating this possibility.

Some vets do prey on cat owners who are frankly either ignorant of the gravity of the declawing operation or ambivalent about the cruelty of the operation. Vets seize on this to surreptitiously promote declawing and increase revenue.

Cat guardians should be just that: guardians of their cat’s welfare. They are partly to blame for declawing cats. Cat owners have a strong obligation to understand what declawing is and its complications and to look for alternatives. They must see a vet when well-informed and challenge the vet if needed. The cat is the vet’s client; the owner stands as a trustee of the cat’s welfare. No concerned cat owner who has the best interests of her cat at heart would even consider declawing.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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