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My Vet Says Declaw!

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I took my 6 month old kitten in to the vet to get his nails trimmed. I have been taking him there because he doesn't cooperate with me yet to trim the nails and I don't want to risk hurting him. My vet told me I should get him front declawed. I told him I really didn't want to and I told him about how it could possibly change their behavior or they become mean, etc. He said that if the cat is going to become mean, then that is his personality and it has nothing to do with declawing.

I read on the home page today that article about the first hand witness to the declawing procedure and I was in tears. I certainly could not hurt my little baby. He likes to claw on my walls because I have wallpaper, but I certainly don't want to declaw for that reason. I have provided him with several posts, but I just need to be more patient.

I, like other people I'm sure used to think that declawing was standard just like the article said. After further educating myself, it makes me sick to even think about doing it.

Thanks for listening.
post #2 of 39
Hi there!

This is from my previous sharing:

Afew websites regarding declawing:


How important are a cat's claws?
Have you ever wondered at a cat's remarkable grace and agility, her faultless sense of balance? To a great extent, this is due to her ingeniously designed retractable claws that allow her to establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching



Leave Those Paws with Claws -- Don't Cripple Your Cat.
by Arthur Newman, DVM

Hold up your hand and take a good look at it. Spread out your fingers and think of all the things you use them for.

Now imagine that someone came by while you were asleep and cut off your fingers down to the first joint. Looks nice,, right? You don't feel a think, right? And you can still do everything you used to do, right?

Wrong. As you wake up, your fingers begin to ache and throb. You can't button a shirt or zip a zipper. You can't hold a pen the way you used to, and you'll have to learn to type all over again. In fact, you'll have to relearn a lot of tasks.

If these were your toes, your balance would be permanently impaired. You could walk, but your movements would be clumsy and your range of motion severely limited.

This is what happens when you declaw a cat. The procedure involves severing ligaments and tendons in the paw and removing the claw and its attached structure (the third phalanx) -- the equivalent of amputating the end of a human finger or toe up to the first joint.


Declawing means far more than leaving your pet defenseless against an attack outdoors.

It means:
The severing of ligaments and tendons that bring pain.
The creating of an imbalance that can lead to injury.
A change in personality and temperament.

A cat may go berserk, bite and growl.

post #3 of 39
Print out some of the articles and give them to your vet and let him know that is why you are going to find a more compassionate vet. He is oblivious to the pain and suffering he is causing these animals and that is not acceptable to you.
You are a great person for looking to this before taking the word of this person! Keep up the good work!
post #4 of 39
Growing up we had most of our cats declawed, now when I was really young I didn't know it was "bad" except for the fact that I hated to see my cats when they came home, the way they acted and the way some of them had changed, it was so sad And yes just about all my cats used their teeth more and harder after declawing. And these were outdoor/indoor cats! Where a lot of other animals roam in the deep woods!

There are many things you can do to train your cat to not scratch you walls, just keep having patients and read up on other suggestions and I'm sure you'll do fine.

The vet is wrong, wrong wrong wrong, about his comments on behavoir after declaw. And some people don't believe me when I say it's possible for some vets to be wrong, undereducated, or just plum ol have different opinions from other vets and pet owners, but this is a prime example!

I've gotten into so many "talks" with old fashioned vets about many things, and in the end they are just toooo stubborn!! They have their degree and I don't, so of COURSE they have to be right and I'm just living in some "fantasy world".

Anyways, I'd say mail some GOOD official declaw information to your vet, in a nice friendly package.

I've quit vet after vet, because of the way they treat animals, information they don't know and refuse to further educate themselves in their practice. I certainly don't want to bring my animals to a place that refuses to try new and proven life saving treatments!
I'm not saying to change you vet, I'm just saying what I, and many others have done. I think it's important to have a good relationship of understanding and education with your vet and your animals, it can be hard to find that perfect vet office however.
post #5 of 39
Why do you think the procedure is illegal in so many other countries? It's for a good reason - it's a barbaric practice and the sooner it is outlawed in the US the better.

It angers me that the so-called exponents of animal health and welfare condone this activity purely for the sake of profit.

Full marks for you for taking the trouble to read up on declawing and making your own decisions. There are many who will take a vet's advice verbatim and be none the wiser.

You little kitty will thank you.
post #6 of 39

I would be looking for another vet were it me. Thank you for not taking his advice to heart.
post #7 of 39
Sharper, I think it's great you did your own research on the declawing issue and didn't just take your vet's word about it. Your little guy is a lucky kitty to have you!
post #8 of 39
I just recently adopted a declawed cat. After some inspection, I could tell that the vet had really butchered him, he just has little stups for fingers. It just breaks my heart to think of the pain that he went through because of his previous owner.
post #9 of 39
Change Vets!! I am against declawing and I definately wouldnt be taking my kitties there if my vet said this.....sorry if this sounds so harsh...but I do think this would be the best solution..
post #10 of 39
Good for you! I'm glad I live in a country where declawing is illegal. It is a barbaric practice.
post #11 of 39
OHH, let's declaw him - Sorry I know I am out of control.

Sharper, your baby is very lucky to have you and you should be very proud of yourself for not listening to this $#%$#%&&.

I agree, it's time to find another Vet. They can show you how to best handle him for when it's time to trim those little claws!
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I moved the one scratch post right next to the wall where he likes to claw and guess what? He is using it! He still likes to use the wall and whenever I see him on the wall, I just say no and show him the post. I also bought today one of those that you hang on the door cause I figured he likes to reach up. I have one on the floor, but he doesn't like that one. I guess I will just keep trying. Cats are so picky! LOL!

Thanks everyone.
post #13 of 39
I agree, you should find a new vet. Kudos to you for doing research on declawing before having it done.

As for scratching posts-cats really like to RRRRRRREACH up and stretch while they're scratching. In fact, I think they do it just as much to get a good stretch in. So, you want to find something that's tall and stable (or long and stable to lay on the floor), or the one that hangs on the door like you have. Ivo ignores her little scratching post (she only uses it when we're playing, and she hides behind it) and uses her carpet-covered kitty condo to scratch.
post #14 of 39
Thank God you did not listen to this jerk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!
post #15 of 39
Sharper, you can also get sisal-covered boards to hang on the wall. I have two of them, and our cat loves them. Try to find a fairly wide one, though, or hang two side by side in the spot where he is working on the wallpaper.
post #16 of 39
I have had many, many indoor ONLY cats. Thay have all been delcawed. I have never noticed any personality change in them. Thay have all still played. These cats still scratch on furniture and walls with the only difference being they don't get scolded for doing it. My cats all use their front paws as if they were hands with actual fingers. I never put my cats through two surgeries. They always were declawed while being spayed or nuetured. I have five indoor cats right now (all delcawed) at one time I thought maybe I wouldnt get the last two declawed but when they started hurting the others while playing I knew that the claws had to go. One of the cats almost lost an eye during play becaue of a claw. I would not hesitate to have more cats declawed. They recover very quickly and love me as I love them.
post #17 of 39
I was wondering if you read the article on the home page of this site? Most of us feel that declawing is the same as torture. It causes the kitties so much pain. My kitties are allowed to only scratch their toys and trees. I have no problems with the rest of the house. I hope you won't mind the next few responces you are sure to get.
post #18 of 39
Nope, I don't mind the difference of opinions. That is why I posted a reply. I felt that both sides of this issue needed to be said. And there are two sides to this issue. Everyone I know that has indoor only cats has had them decalawed. I know lots of cat people.
post #19 of 39

And while that is very saddening.
I too have had outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats and declawed (I will never do it, this was by the decision of my parents growing up.) And all those declawed little buggars mostly died eventually to some animal or road outside, but they formed behavorial problems as well after being declawed.

There are no two sides to this issue...
Unless you look at it from the stand point that... human pleasure comes first over an animals pain.

Lets do an experiment. You go get your fingers chopped off, come back with no pain meds and try to remain having a unaltered life style.

And, you don't know lots of cat people, you know lots of people who OWN animals.
post #20 of 39
I just realized that this is the wrong forum for this discussion, there is a special forum for opinions. Having said that, I will only respond one more time to this discussion.
I would never, ever allow one of my declawed cats to go outside. They are totally defenseless without their claws. My cats stay in the house ALL of the time. None of my cats have developed any behavioral problems. They all play with each other and with us. My cats have all lived to be old and when they did finally leave me they were old. In my cases delcawing had never elad to behavioral problems or illness. Maybe you need to check and make sure that the declawing was really the root of the problems.
Cutting off my fingers is not even close to the same as declawing. I have discussions with different vets in my area and they all assure me that a cats level of discomfort is very different from ours.
At one point I was determined not to ever declaw again but the vets convinced me that it is really quit all right.
AND finally, yes there are two sides to this and every issue. As your icon shows the American flag you must know that this is still America where different opinions are allowed.
post #21 of 39
Gert: I know opinions are still allowed, and well, heck someones gotta stick up for them kitties

I urge you to plllleease do more research on this, ask questions and read... away from those so called vets of yours (and on that note, I would also suggest finding another vet who isn't stuck in the old ways or centered around money so much.)
There has been extensive research to show that declawing does lead to behavorial issues, I do not doubt that. And as me working towards getting my certification in animal behavoir some day, I feel very comfortable with my knoweldge to say this.
Even from this one comment you made... "Cutting off my fingers is not even close to the same as declawing."

That just shows me how missinformed you have been. Please take it upon yourself to learn about this, if you truely love your cats, you can at least do that for the good of your kitties, right?
post #22 of 39
Gert, as Angel said, we value discussion and exchange of opinion, I don't have a problem with people disagreeing with me - as long as they can put up a good arguement for their case I will listen.

I would just like to pose one question to you . . . why do you think the practice of declawing is acceptable if it has actually been outlawed as illegal in other countries?

I have 3 indoor kitties who only go outside into the garden under supervision. They have scratching posts around the house and they use them. On occasions they try to use the carpet and are told NO. They don't get punished, but they understand the word no. It is no worse then teaching a child the rights and wrongs of behaviour.

My last cat addition is a stray that had been living rough for a good number of years judging by his condition. With training he has adjusted and does not damage the house. I have expensive carpets, wallpaper and furniture (antiques) but I would never consider declawing even if I could (it is illegal in the UK).
post #23 of 39
Declawing is also illegal in Germany. Our cat (and his predecessors, I might add) doesn't destroy furniture or scratch us. He uses his claws to climb his indoor cat tree, to scratch an itch, etc., i.e. to lead a normal cat life.
post #24 of 39
Okay it seems that I started something that does not want to go away. While I repect the choices that you all have made, the one I made was right for me.
I do not know why this has been outlawed by sone countries. Maybe it is as you say barbaric but I am not convinced. Sorry.
My cats do not have behavior problems. And none that came before these 5 that I have now did either. My cats have all grown old (12-17) before the passed on. My cats have not developed hip or walking problems. They all jump to get where they want to get to and land quit nicely. Their balance is good. My house has lots of windows and they can jump to any piece of furniture and follow it around to any window they want. They have all been loving and playful. They were all lap sitters and purrers. They chase balls, stuffed kitty toys. ANd maybe most of all they love each other. I did not get all 5 at once but over a period of 3 years. There has never been any problem introducing a new cat into my home.
Maybe some of the physical mentioned in other letters is from having allowing the kitty to go outside. I don't know, I only know that mine stay inside all of the time.
When I brought the last 2 kitties into the house I had decided not to delcaw. After a particularily rambunctious play time one of the other cats had a bulging eye and needed vet care. This was caused by an accidental scratch to the eye. My vet persuaded me to have them declawed. He did not do this for money or fame, he did it out of the goodness of his heart. He did not charge me for this procedure. My cats can now all play together and not get hurt.
I don't think you all are wrong for deciding not to declaw and I can repect that, now I just wish you could return the favor.
post #25 of 39
If you are not convinced that this type of operation is barbaric and unneccessary then there is little anyone can say here to change your mind. It will just turn into an endless circle of arguing and trying to justify each side of the issue.

I will just refer to the forum rule that applies here. This is rule #3

The majority of our forum members are anti-declaw. Please do not declaw your cat. Declawing is a cruel and unnecessary procedure that is outlawed in most Western countries. It causes the cat tremendous pain and often leads to major behavioral problems. Please note that the majority of cat owners find declawing to be very offensive. We encourage open discussion on all issues, but if you support declawing on the forums, expect some harsh criticism. Please learn more about alternatives for declawing here. We hope your time with us will change your views on this very sensitive issue. Hopefully, those of you with claw-related problems will find solutions by spending time in our Behavior Forum.

All our rules can be seen by clicking the rules tab in red at the head of the forums.

I do not want to lock this thread down, as it is not that far out of control. There are some inflammatory remarks made that were not entirely necessary, but the topic is a hot button one. If anyone is going to add anything, please do so in a mature manner so the learning can continue for those who might come later looking for answers.
post #26 of 39
I just wanted to add in my two cents about declawing cats. I worked at a vet, and have not only witnessed, but as part of my job, assisted in declawings. (I no longer work at a vet, and probably won't ever again, mostly because I can't handle putting animals down and declawing.)

I can tell you, you should go to a vet's office and ask to "shadow" the vet for a declawing. They literally just pull back the skin, take big dog nail clippers, and "clip" the entire joint off. The whole half of a toe just goes flying, like a nail would when you trim it. They then wrap the paws up, take the cat off of the anesthesia, and put it back in its cage to wake up.

I've also seen cats wake up after. They would shake their paws and mew so pitifully, it just broke my heart. They were plainly confused about what had happened to them, and scared. Cats are naturally agile creatures, and while they generally stumble around in the cage for awhile (yes, even after the anesthesia has completely worn off), they seem to learn to "deal" with it fairly quickly. You can tell they are still in pain, though.

Personally, I think the arguement about a cat scratching another cat's eye is like saying children shouldn't play tag, since one might accidently push another one too hard and make the other child fall down. YES, accidents do happen, but just because they can happen, doesn't mean you should amputate the poor cat's toes. It is unfortunate that as soon as you brought clawed cats home, this happened, but all of the breeders that I have been visiting in my search for a kitten do not allow their cats to be declawed. This is because they genuinely love their cats and want the best for them. Also, none of their cats showed any signs of being the worse for wear because they and all their companions still had all of their toes.

PLEASE don't do this to your cat. Their pain should not be less important than preserving your furniture. The truth is, no one knows for sure just HOW much pain declawing causes them. I think it is very wrong to subject them to this unless there is substantial scientific PROOF that declawing is painless to cats. Which, I promise, there never will be, because cats have highly ennervated paws, which is partly why they are so agile. With all these nerve endings, they must be able to feel quite a bit of pain.

Really, aren't your fur-babies just a little more important than your couch? And if not, well, I'm not going to say it, since it's not nice, but I definitely don't think very highly of that. There is a reason just about ALL breeders require that their cats never be declawed. TICA even says in their guidelines for choosing a good breeder, that a breeder should have that in their contract. Please think on this and do more research, and even consider asking breeders, since they are most likely most knowledgeable on the subject. Thanks for reading.
post #27 of 39
Gert: I'm just curious why you and other like you, don't just trim the claws by cutting them, or file them down? And there is always the option for soft paws.

I have had very many cats, and never a problem with scratching an eye out, that was a freak accident that could happen to any animal from any object, not just a cat claw.

In the future, if you continue to only have declawed cats, then please adopt one which is ALREADY declawed.
post #28 of 39
i received a recent email from the Sphynx group that i subscribed to:

The message below is a forward from Joan Miller, CFA Legislative Committee:

This Alert was sent to California cat fanciers. Since similar bans of
veterinary surgical procedures may be introduced in other states this is for your information:

Joan Miller
California fanciers;

Below is the CFA letter that was faxed to all members of the Assembly
Committee on Business & Professions reaffirming opposition to CA AB 395 (bans >declawing) as amended. The committee hearing is set for next Tuesday, April 29th at 9:00 AM, Room 447, State Capitol. I will be there to testify on behalf of CFA.

Organizations and cat clubs please send a letter, on your letterhead, to be received by the Committee Consultant by TOMORROW, April 23rd, in order to be included on the opposition list. Briefly state that your organization opposes the bill, as amended on April 10th, and that you request to be listed on the analysis.

The most recent amendment (April 10) now allows declawing for "therapeutic purpose" (defined as addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease,injury or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat's health........). This amendment does not change CFA's fundamental position.

We object to a ban on declawing as an elective veterinary surgical procedure that can sometimes be important to the welfare of an individual cat and enable the human-cat bond to be maintained.

Cat fanciers dissapprove of routine declawing and we have for many years educated pet owners about alternatives yet we also strongly support the rights of veterinarians and pet owners to make veterinary decisions.

Veterinary medicine is continuously evolving and today surgery techniques and pain management have been greatly improved. There is now laser surgery for declawing. We are very concerned about this bill as it would set a dangerous precedence of legislators determining which veterinary medical procedures should be allowed or disallowed.

We believe that AB 395 is the beginning of an attempt to ban other elective surgical procedures such as dewclaw removal for puppies, cropping ears or docking tails of dogs. Lets fight to stop the criminalization of veterinarians and to keep veterinary decisions in the hands of the medical profession and pet owners rather than become part of the political arena with non-medical agendas.

A quick faxed letter is needed from organizations/clubs TOMORROW. Personal letters can be faxed before next Monday (fax or mail is preferred but emailis acceptable). Please make this information available at the California cat shows this weekend. Below is contact information for the Committee.

Joan Miller
CFA Legislative Coordinator
on CFA letterhead

21 April 2003

The Honorable Lou Correa
Chair, California Assembly Committee on Business & Professions
Capitol Building, Room 6025
Sacramento, CA 95814

Attention: Chris Gallardo, Committee Consultant Fax:

Re: AB 395: Veterinarians, Declawing Cats, Amended April 10, 2003 -

Dear Chairman Correa;

I am writing on behalf of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) to reaffirm ouropposition to AB 395, as amended April 10th. We request that our organization continue to be included in the listed pposition.

As the largest registry of pedigreed cats in the world CFA's mission is to preserve and promote the pedigreed breeds of cats and to enhance the well-being of ALL cats. CFA is a positive force that helps to educate the general public about proper cat care, spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership. While CFA clearly disapproves of routine declawing and educates the general public concerning alternatives to declawing, we recognize that there are valid reasons for this procedure and want to assure, for the benefit of cats and their owners, that the procedure remains an option.

Declawing as an elective surgical choice can save the lives of cats. A cat who cannot be deterred from scratching people or destroying furnishings is at significant risk of being banished to the outdoors or relinquished to a shelter resulting in a shorter life span or possible euthanasia. Declawing may be a last resort solution for immunocompromised cat owners, the elderly with thin skin or those with bleeding disorders that allows them to keep their cats.

CFA opposes attempts to eliminate veterinary elective surgical procedures, as these should remain the decision of individual cat owners based on their veterinarian's judgment and advice considering the best interests of each animal and situation. AB 395 denies this pet ownership right and represents unprecedented criminalization of a lawful veterinary procedure that is safe and does not harm domestic cats when competently performed.

Any surgery, including sterilization, involves some pain or discomfort. Advances in surgical techniques and pain management have greatly improved the healing time and discomfort associated with declawing in recent years.

Alternatives to declawing, such as diversion training, claw clipping and claw covers, are also more widely known and successfully used by cat owners.

Declawing is not widely performed in California. Nevertheless it is
important for the welfare of cats and the human-cat bond to maintain the ability of cat owners to have the option of this surgical procedure beyond therapeutic purposes.

We respectfully ask that AB 395 be withdrawn or defeated.

Very truly yours,

Joan Miller
CFA Legislative Coordinator

cc. The Honorable Paul Koretz, Author
Committee Members
post #29 of 39
Angel: What are "soft paws"?

"And there is always the option for soft paws."

Just curious! Thanks!
post #30 of 39
Soft Paws website

Soft Paws
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