The Fight Against Declaw and Why Vets Won’t Stop the Practice

 

By Robert Hudson

 

Over the last few years, cat advocates and the Paw Project has made great progress in educating the public of the dangers of declawing cats and banning the practice in cities and counties in California and now in Denver. And yet many veteranarians fight against these bans and will not stop offering the proceedure and even come up with supposed medical reasons supporting the practice. Why?  Money. It is a high profit margin revenue stream.

 

While browsing Google’s news stories, I came across this editorial by a vet in North Carolina. Look at his ridiculous and blatant lies for justification:

 

  1. Some cats will just not stop destroying furniture regardless of how many scratching posts are purchased or training efforts are implemented.

  2. As we all know, giving a cat medication is not always easy for pet owners, and a cat without front claws does make that job a bit easier; therefore compliance is better.

  3. Young children, often in spite of a parent’s best efforts, will frequently pick up cats in precarious ways. Should the cat become frightened or just aggravated and try to escape, the risk of a facial injury is real. A child should not have to carry a facial scar through life. A declaw eliminates this risk.

  4. We have an aging population as well as a population with many more immunodeficiency diseases. Those citizens who are on blood thinners or are immunocompromised cannot afford to be scratched without the risk of significant deleterious consequences. Again, declawing eliminates this risk.

  5. It has been shown that inside cats in general live much longer and healthier lives than outside cats. So is it not better to declaw and live with a very temporary period of discomfort if that will result many years of high-quality life away from disease and injury? I think the answer is obvious.

Dr. Robert Neunzig is owner and chief of medicine at the Gaston Low-Cost Spay Neuter Clinic in Gastonia, North Carolina.

This enlightened veteranarian goes on to say,  “During my 40-year practice life I have literally performed 2,000 declaws or more. I have also declawed my own cats—I would not have a cat that was not declawed as I think they make much more desirable pets. So with decades of experience and observation I can safely say I am not aware of a single pet owner who was disappointed after I declawed their cats. In fact, I have probably received as many thank-you’s and statements of gratitude from declaws as I have with any other procedure I performed.”

photo from Ask the Cat Doctor

 

How many archaic medical proceedures that were the medical breakthroughs of their time  have been discarded for something much more effective or completely abandoned? Its called progress Dr. Nuenzig. Perhaps its time you retire.

 

Fortunetely, there is growing support in the medical field for bans on declaws. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has taken a harder stance against declawing.

 “The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) strongly opposes declawing (onychectomy) as an elective procedure. It is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with alternatives to declawing.”

To help support “a path to change,” the AAFP has created resources for veterinary teams to use to educate cat owners about the following:

why cats have claws
why cats scratch inanimate objects
best practices for living a cat with claws
ideal scratching surfaces
training cats to scratch appropriately
troubleshooting inappropriate scratching in the home.
The materials are available for veterinarians and team members to download at catvets.com/scratching.

 

Resources

Declawing Cats: The Truth  

Is Declawing Justified for Human Health Reasons?

Podcast-NJ State Bill Banning Cat De-clawing and How You Can Help

 

  • Shirley Swaine

    Indeed those justifications are total BS. I live in the UK where, live every other civilised country bar the USA and Canada, not only is declawing a criminal offence, it has never been performed, even prior to legislation, as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons did not permit it (ditto debarking, ear cropping in dogs). My response to those lies above is as follows :-
    1. In the UK, where all cats are un-mutilated, the site theinsuranceblogger.co.uk states that pet damage in the home claims run at 55% dogs, 29% cats, 16% others.
    2. I have a 17 year old cat that requires daily thyroid medication. I wrap him in a towel. problem solved.
    3. When I was 7 years old, I was playing in our driveway with my 4 year old brother when a neighbour’s dog rushed up the drive and in an unprovoked attack (a bit like in that famous video where the toddler’s cat saved him from the unprovoked attack by a dog) launched at my brother and ripped his face open just beneath his eye. In my shock and panic at the sight of all the blood, ran across the road without looking because my mother had just gone over the road to speak to a neighbour. In the USA, circa 50 people a year are killed by dogs, a disproportionate number of those being children. Here in the UK, we have had at least one child killed by a dog this year.
    4. Biting aside, an over friendly dog jumping up is a far greater danger to those with fragile skin from medication/age than cats because dogs claws are stronger and they cannot retract them.
    5. Here in the UK, 90-95% of cats have access to the outdoors. As previously mentioned, I have a 17 year old cat. The last two cats I lost were 17yr 10 months and 17yrs 6 months respectively. Yes, traffic is a danger to cats that have access to the outdoors – but it’s a danger to humans too and I’d no more keep my cats incarcerated inside than I’d spend my life indoors myself to avoid danger as it would just be an existence.
    In the past six years I have adopted three cats from rescue shelters after extensive searches on shelter sites. The least cited reason for cats being surrendered are destructiveness in the home or inappropriate toileting, in fact, those reasons barely exist here, where all cats have claws. Cats’ claws are such a non-issue in the UK, we don’t even use Soft Paws, though some people have the cat’s claws clipped.