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« Tragic Fatal Attack in Orange, VA | Main | Dogfighting Videos and First Amendment battle it out in the Surpeme Court »

September 29, 2009


Loca Liisa

Sorry about the typos. I get kinda excited when typing.

Loca Liisa

I must comment on this for a minute. It is a cat's nature to forge as well as it is us who keep them as pets. Animals kill animals all the time. Look at the wild? They kill for their food and for their offspring. Why is it such a issue if a cat kills a bird? We as humans didn't do it and If I see my cat going after a bird and I am able to get their fast enough, I would. I actually have had that exact experience growing up as a child. We had many cats throughout they years, and I have saved some. But it is nature. You can't critisize us for nature. Get off that bullhucky crap. What about the hunters that kill for the sport? Go after them. We prefere a cat to keep it's claws.

I wish and hope that they will ban declawing in the United States. But if this does not happen, why can't the Vet offices have informational pamphlets available for all clients to read? Why can't they educate before someone makes that horrible decision? I feel if we can atleast get that far, it may help many of our Feline friends never to go down that road in life and be crippled or worse die from a Vets hand who is suppose to save them.


"Apathy Everycat? As in you don't care about the animals they're killing as long as they're not declawed?"

Michelle D, nowhere in my comment did I imply any such thing. I will repeat, because I believe you do not understand what I wrote - you have no clue as to what I am doing to change laws in my country or to improve the welfare of animals. I believe you are being deliberately obtuse. Being obtuse is another tactic of distraction when you know your argument is weak.

MichelleD, your inability to keep to the salient issue of the need to legislate against the convenience Onychectomy of the domestic cat in America, proves that you have only one interest - that of hiding your lack of compassion for animals and humaneness.


I am strongly opposed to declawing cats. If you can not deal with a cat clawing something in your home, then DO NOT GET A CAT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!! I have 3 beloved cats and would never, ever amputate their toes for my convenience. Not one of my cats claws anything but their cat tree.

Brent Toellner

Listen. I think a lot of people here want to argue for the sake of arguing (ehem, Barbara). But I want to set a couple of things straight.

#1) No one here is saying that it is a GOOD idea to declaw cats. I've not seen one person here say that. So the stuff about being non-caring or lacking humaneness can stop.

#2) However, there is a BIG difference between thinking something is a bad idea, and making something illegal.

Listen, I would love it if all cats were left clawed. I'd also love it if we didn't kill any animals in our shelters because of "over-population" -- I won't get into the misuse of that word in the context of this post.

However, here is one thing that has become universally true. When we make laws on the restrictions of pet owners, we start limiting who can/is able to own pets. When we limit who can own pets, we end up with a) more pets in our shelters and b) fewer people we can adopt to.

In a society where literally MILLIIONS of animals are dying in our shelters because there are more animals than owners, we are creating another recipe for increasing shelter killing.

It is impossible to not come to the conclusion that if we create a law that mandates that cats cannot be declawed, then many people who live in apartments will not be able to have cats. Landlords will simply say, no cats. And Barbara's idea that you can't educate Vets on the welfare of cats, but that you'll succeed with educating apartment owners is pretty far-fetched. If we end up causing people to have to turn their cats into shelter if they have have to find a new apartment, then we are leading to a reason to increase killing in the shelters.

It's a shame we haven't learned our lessons on this. Many people pushed for mandatory spay/neuter laws because it was supposed to help end shelter killing -- yet caused more animals to get confiscated and end up in the shelters and killed. We've done the same with pet limit laws, feral cat laws and a whole host of other laws.

Meanwhile, I think it's really easy to paint veterinarians as "selfish" and people like me as "lacking compasion" -- and not take a hard look at what they're really saying:

Saying declawing is wrong is one thing.
Making it illegal is quite another -- and a very bad slope to go down.

If someone wanted to take Lisa's idea and produce a truly scientific/research based brochure -- and then want to mandate that all vets have to give one to their clients prior to performing the surgery -- yeah, I'd support that.

But until we get a better handle on our animal shelter killing situations, making more laws that will decrease the number of homes available to cats is not something I can support. I would still prefer a declawed cat than a dead one...which in many cases will be the alternative.


"Rinalia, who pays for investigating complaints on all these "rogue vets"?"

Would you like me to say taxpayers? Or licensing fees? Or, I don't, profits from gummy bear sales? Or perhaps I could suggest that the costs would be minimal? No more or less costly than any other comparable ordinance?

I mean, I see where you are going with the question - it's an obviously leading question.

"Education hasn't worked? Do you think that just because some people still declaw or has anyone done a study on the trends?"

Absolutely fair to call me on that one. I do not know of a statistical survey of the dew-claw trend or whether any data has been analyzed re education & dewclaw reduction.

I based it on my knowledge of the organization who has been at the forefront of the dewclaw ban debate, which may give *me* insight but isn't necessarily pertinent to answering your question.

"btw - go read the title of this post again. This law does nothing to promote life saving programs and will only take away from them. Just like MSN, BSL and the like..."

Declawing is not a life-saving program, it is a physical mutilation performed in the interest of the human, not the cat. At Sac County animal care and control, during my time as a volunteer there, between 25-33% of the cats present were declawed. It certainly did not manage to save their lives.


I assisted in countless declawing surgeries and witnessed all of said recoveries when I worked at the vet as a vet assistant. There is nothing dangerous in the surgery, besides the inherent risk involved in using anesthetic; the Dr. I worked for used 100% gas anesthetic (no injectible) on cats, and the risk was low. We recommendeded the surgery was done at the same time as spay/neuter surgeries, so the pet would only have to go under once. Doing the surgery young, it is not as hard as waiting to do the procedure. I have had many cats over the years. Working at a vet, you take your work home with you. I have clawed and declawed cats. There is no corelation between the cat being declawed and the cat having behavioral issues. My declawed cats are just as happy, in some cases, happier, than my clawed cats. So many clients would opt not to declaw early, trying to do "the right thing," then come back in a year or so and say, please remove them, or we will have to get rid of the cat. It is not always aboaut the furniture or material possesions; claws hurt children and owners and other pets in the house as well. I am really sick of do-gooder legislation like trying to ban declawing, which is a safe operation and saves a lot of cats from ending up under the needle. I would absolutely declaw a young cat if I got one in the future. No ban of any kind should keep a loving animal from having a loving home, period. Concentrate on the real criminals, the sick folks who get off on hurting animals for pleasure and AC depts who don't care about saving animals at all. Keep your laws off my kitties' paws.

Michele S.

Sadly not all of our vets can be trusted to educate clients on natural cat behaviour or the many humane alternatives to declawing, and this is why I feel a ban is necessary. Too many vets offer neutering and declawing packages for kittens, which only goes to prove that many of them do not offer it only as a "last resort" as per the AVMA guidelines.

Nor do I buy the argument that declawing guarantees a cat a home for life, otherwise why is it possible to adopt an already declawed cat? People not bothering to spay and neuter their pets is the main cause of over-population. We need to educate people that having a pet is a lifelong commitment and not an object for our amusement which we can discard when they become ill or the novelty factor wears off.


We anti declaw English are concerning ourselves with the suffering of declawed cats in the USA because we are true cat lovers who care about cats no matter where in the world they are. We care about all animals in our own and other countries too, I've fought animal abuse all my adult life and declawing is a very cruel form of abuse.I wish we could educate all cat owners about declawing but we can't reach them all. There are many USA people who feel very strongly that declawing should be banned as that is the only solution because Vets don't tell their clients the truth about the operation !I'd be ashamed of my country if we needed support from abroad to help stamp out a disgusting practice such as deliberately crippling kittens and cats by declawing them ! Yes there are abusive people in our country too but we know about it and we are fighting it too,we can fight more than one cause you know !
Name calling and slanging matches don't disguise the fact that it is living feeling creatures we are talking about and how pitiful it is that just because some people who even admit they think declawing is wrong, don't want another law,they fight those who do want a law, a law necessary to protect the rights of cats claws !!! Surely it is very selfish to take this out on cats just to spite the government ! Animals don't know about politics but they do know about pain and fear.
How I wish people would put the cats first, declawing is uneccessary, it is cruel and it needs to be stopped !!

Brent Toellner

Ruth, No one is "taking this out on cats just to spite the government". I think that's been the most amazing thing about this entire commentary - no one seems to be addressing what I proposed in the original post.

Yes, most people believe that declawing cats isn't the right way to go (although, I'll note that at least two people who work as vet techs have posted on this thread and note that with new laser technology and when you do the surgery on kittens it really isn't tha big of a deal). What I'm saying here is that doing this is contrary to the goals of the no kill movement. While a law preventing cats from being declawed is not designed as a life-saving law (Rinalia's point), it will, undoubtedly, cause many homes to no longer be available for cats. Any time you remove potential homes from the equation, you will end up with more cats in the shelter -- where millions are dying each year.

I think there is a complete failure here to realize that there is a big difference between what is wrong, and what should be legislated. Because legislation always brings with it unintended consequences --and in this case, it is fewer cats in homes - -which means more dying in the shelter.

That's not a trade-off I'm willing to make -- and if we really want to put the cats first, I think saving their lives should be most important.


I just wanted to address the comment by Michelle S. about offering spay/declaw 'package deals' and not doing declawing as a 'last resort.' The reason they are offered together is because 1.) it is safer for the animal to go under anesthetic just once, as opposed to two separate operations, and 2.) it is exactly with this kind of 'last resort' thinking that we have older cats getting declawed, who will have more issues than a young cat, who it is not as hard on. So many people wait, trying all of the alternatives,and end up going with the operation in the end, not because they are not educated, or 'bad owners,' but because the alternative approaches just didn't work. I can remember getting an older cat in for a declaw operation that had one of the 'softpaw' caps fuzed to it's nail. People think if you put enough scratching posts around that will solve a problem; I don't care if my living room was all scratching posts, my clawed cat would still scratch me, the furniture, the rug, the dog, etc. She may end up being a 'last resort' cat, and I hate that I didn't just do it when she was young, and save her the issues she may have being and older cat going under surgery. As for behavior, well, SHE's the one that pees on the rug and bites people, and she has claws. Go figure.
Another commentor posted that in the UK, where they have a ban, were true cat lovers, because they cared about cats everywhere. This idea that people who declaw their cats are bad owners who don't care about animals is proposterous. I have personally saved and ALSO declawed many of my cats. I have worked at a vet helping to save animals lives, and have volunteered with our local spay/neuter clinic as well. There is no way that I, who love cats and dogs very much, should be lumped in with those who neglect their pets or are intentionally cruel to animals. Banning declawing is right up there with MSN; it will result in more deaths. If you believe a cat is better of dead than with a LOVING owner who believes in declawing, your priorities are skewed. We need less nanny legislation, period. It is costly and good people end up paying the price, just as with breed bans. Prosecute actual criminals, and leave the rest of us alone. Period.


I don't want to offend anyone but for me it is better not to take a cat for a pet than to declaw them.

Scratching is in their nature and I think that is one factor that can make them happy.

If you don't want your furniture to have scratches then do not make cat your pet. You are being cruel if you will declaw them.

Try to go here to understand your cat more:

Brent Toellner


Are you then willing to say that a cat is better off to die in a shelter than to go to a home that wants to have him declawed?

Again, most here are not saying that we prefer declawing...but I just don't consider it a fate worse than death -- which is often the outcome.

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