Monday , 19 February 2018

Why are we still declawing cats in Canada?

CattoesWhen I speak with veterinary colleagues in Europe and Australia, I am simply embarrassed. I live in this wonderful country where we are often leading the way of research and innovation in animal health and welfare. And yet, we still declaw. Twenty-eight countries (and counting) have made declawing illegal and considered inhumane. Why is Canada so far behind?



I know that my Canadian veterinary colleagues hate to declaw. When I ask them why they still declaw they will answer:  “I would rather perform the surgery than have another cat abandoned at a shelter” or “I would rather do it myself so I know it is being done well and with proper pain management”.  As long as our clients have the option to declaw they will and so will the veterinarians.  And there is no judgement here. Many of my friends and even family members have cats that are declawed. I don’t believe in it and they know that. All I can do is speak the words and promote the CHANGE in OUR BEHAVIOUR.

We all know why cats have claws and what they can do with them. There are so many websites available to give you great tips on how to make your cat’s claws house-friendly! And certainly your veterinarian has given you these websites and promotional materials which tell you all about enriching their environment with posts, cutting their nails, Soft Paws®, etc. They have also likely given you a detailed description of what the surgery is (amputation of the final digit). But for many people, this simply is not enough and “I’ve always had declawed cats and it was never a problem. My cat seems fine and so is my couch!”





When I was in veterinary school I had an ethics class. We had many speakers come in to discuss relevant and controversial topics in the veterinary world. There was one speaker who really stuck out in my mind. She was an owner of a small animal practice that refused “healthy euthanasia”.  Her message to us “to-be-vets” was: “I knew by refusing to do a healthy animal euthanasia, the owners were simply going to go down the street to the nearest clinic, but if I changed even 1% of the people’s minds, then it was worth it. I had to sleep with myself that night, knowing what I did. And I couldn’t sleep knowing I euthanized an animal that was healthy”.

When I opened my practice, I made the choice with our team. We are a no-declaw clinic. And more and more clinics are doing so. At this time, there are approximately 5 clinics in Montreal area that I am aware of that are pro-claw.


Let’s all stop taking the easy road. Stand for what you believe in, as a cat lover, as a veterinarian, as an animal health professional, and as a citizen and policy maker. We CAN make these changes. We CAN be one of those countries that have made declawing illegal. Those countries have no more cats in shelters than we do! In fact most of them have very few cats in shelters. Let’s move into the 21st century and do something about it. Talk to your friends who have kittens and are thinking of declawing, write to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association or your provincial veterinary order/college and ask them what they are doing? Some provinces (not Quebec) have made progress by outlawing tail-docking and ear-cropping. So we are getting somewhere! I believe that change can happen, one person at a time. I believe we can sit back and wait for it, or we can do something about it.

For more information on declawing please check out these websites:,, You can also visit the Sherwood Park Animal Hospital FAQ section on why we chose NOT to declaw:

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  1. What an excellent, excellent post, Dr Stiles!!! It’s time that this issue is in the forefront, where we can all talk about it more!

  2. Mary Klinck, DVM, DACVB

    A part of this issue that is particularly disturbing is that landlords sometimes automatically require that any cat owned by a tenant be declawed, and so owners simply go ahead and have the procedure done, no questions asked. These policies may be flexible; you can refuse to have the cat declawed, and many landlords will accept this. After all, a good (non-destructive) tenant with a cat with claws will likely take (management, not declawing) steps to prevent destructive clawing. A bad tenant with a declawed cat can damage the property in other ways.

  3. By and large, declawed cats have the best homes. The owners of declawed cats almost always confine them to indoors. These are owners who care about their lives, and are responsible pet owners and responsible tenants or homeowners. I would not like to be a landlord if my tenant’s cat would cause damage. A cat can cost a landlord thousands in replacing carpeting, wood work, kitchen cupboards. I know, because I have gone through this. It is illegal in Ontario to discriminate against pet owners, but not in BC where I have a rental property. There would be fewer homes for cats if declawing were outlawed. Stress levels are much lower for cats that are not chased away from couches and door jambs.

    We use laser for declaws, and very effective analgesia including numbing the paws with bupivicaine so that patients feel no pain on anaesthetic recovery. Even without laser, declawing can be done humanely. Veterinarians can declaw humanely-there are lots of video’s on the internet describing humane techniques for declaw.

    I am signing with my real name-I stand behind this letter.

    Koos Toxopeus

    • I take it by these comments you have never worked in a shelter or with a rescue agency? So you would have no idea the numbers of cats we see abandoned because of declawing. The cat all of a sudden doesn’t want to use the litter pan. Maybe that’s because they now have to scrap to cover their waste with bone because their claws are gone. Or there’s the they hiss and won’t let me touch their paws excuse now that they are declawed. Maybe that’s because they now have burms on their bone from the laser that declawed them or they have developed abcesses.

      I could gone on and on with this list being involved in the rescue industry for 10 yrs. You may stand behing this procedure but make no mistake if all vets were always truthful about the fact that declawing is mutilating cats do you honestly think people would do this to their animal?

      You defend people who declaw as the best owners. Well let me tell you sir I have helped save hundreds of cats and fostered hundreds as well. I do NOT and will NOT ever declaw a cat and my furniture is fine because I do what a good owner does and I teach them what’s appropriate for them to scratch. Cats are smart they get it.

      Cats and other animals people choose to have in their homes can damage appartments in other ways that have nothing to do with scratching.

      Next time you wish to defend harming a cat you better make sure you actually have an argument to stand on because there’s another very serious side to this issue that rescue workers have to deal with all the time because we are forced by some of these owners you think are excellent to clean up after the mess people in your profession have made by deciding to amputate a cats fingers. You know better because there’s just as many articles and material out there that shows the reprecussions of this procedure and life long consequences to the poor animal.

      We find lots of declawed cats living out on the streets I’m sorry to say. Owners don’t always keep them in. Or they could have developed issues because of being declawed and the owners solution was to dump them.

      At least some people go to a rescue with declawed cats and have them help the cat. I’ve always wondered how many owners just give up and euthanize?

    • I think the research is going to show that declawed cats have higher cortisol levels. Declawing now appears to be a factor in cats developing feline diabetes. Failing to examine, x-ray and document the paws of declawed cats over the years does not mean that the evidence of harm isn’t there.

      After seeing the movie “The Paw Projec”t, Mike Fry at Animal Ark shelter in MN decided to inspect the paws of their declawed cats in detail.

      He said: “I was able to observe everything described in Animal Ark’s current population of 22 declawed cats. Even worse: Every declawed cat Animal Ark currently houses displays one or more of the problems described in the [“Paw Project”] film. We observed limping, curled toes, callouses on toe pads, sensitivity to having toes touched and more. We have concluded that every one of Animal Ark’s declawed cats are suffering to some degree.

      When we printed the list of declawed cats to inspect, one thing immediately caught our eye: nearly every diabetic cat Animal Ark currently houses was on the list, with only one exception. To be clear: the general population of declawed cats is always around 25% of the total population. The fact that the percentage of diabetic cats that were declawed was near 100% was startling, to say the least. I decided to review the diabetic cats Animal Ark has seen over the last couple of years. More than 50% of them were declawed.

      I began asking veterinarians about the possible connection to declawing and diabetes. One topic kept coming up: Cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical produced by the body to manage chronic pain. It also dramatically affects blood glucose levels. Ironically, elevated cortisol is also a risk factor for diabetes.

      The linkage may be even more compelling than that, because cats with pain in their paws are more likely to be sedate, get less exercise and are, therefore, more prone to being overweight, another contributing factor for diabetes. Take Miracle, for example, a very overweight, diabetic declawed cat…

      When she came to Animal Ark, we had assumed the fact that she limped so badly was a result of her severe weight problem. However, as she has been trimming down, her limping is getting worse. After watching the Paw Project and examining her paws, it seems clear she is suffering from several of the long-term complications from the declaw procedure.

      Animal Ark’s relatively limited data set may not be enough to prove a link between declawing and diabetes. However, if a link were to be demonstrated it would go a long way toward clinically proving that declawed felines, even those with no obvious complications from the procedure, are suffering from long-term, chronic pain.”

      To help compile a more complete data set, Mike is asking shelters and rescue organizations to review records of their diabetic cats to determine how many of them had been declawed. He has created a simple form they can fill out to submit their findings –

    • Dogs also scratch people and things, including woodwork, floors, doors (you should see our front door!), and can scratch people and furnishings. I have a scar on my face from when I was scratched as a child. It looks like a neighbour’s dog even scratched the paint on our van. We all know this to be true, but I have never met a vet that recommended declawing dogs. Can you explain the double standard? Is it is because the distal phalanx on dogs is not retractable, which would make the mutilation that is occurring visible? Your thoughts?

      • Thank you for the comments. I also feel that it is a double standard. I believe that it truly comes from the behaviour of “scratching” that cats have. People place a great deal of importance on their possessions (such as furniture). If they simply took time to learn more about how to redirect these behaviours or use soft paws, the issue would be moot.

    • to sum it up, those cats are “mutilated prisoners”

    • I don’t think declawed cats have the best homes and that the owner always have the best intention for their cats. Most people declaw, not for the cat, but for their furniture. I also know many people with outdoor declawed cats. I have both, my eldest was declawed and I swore she would be the last. Both are indoor only and my male cat with claws only does his claw on the scratching posts I provide for him. I showed him where I wanted. This makes me a responsible owner and tenant, as my cat does no damage to the apartment.
      I think the problem of landlord is not cats with claws, but irresponsible tenants, that probably would cause damage even without animals.
      I worked in a clinic and I know that declawed cats can have lots of problems, health and behavior wise.

      • Strange enough, i actually work in a clinic and as for “lots” of problem, the anti-declawing clan is pretty damn good at making things appear much worse than they actually are. Ive just read a lot of retarded stuff just in there (1 in 3 cats have issues after declawing? really? should you really blame the procedure itself or doubt about your vet’s competency level?) we have a lot of customers at our clinic and declawing is very common here, roughy 3 to 5 a day all week long, as for post-surgery issues we fell below 3% and maybe even lower. To claim that declawing caused cats to be dumped in a shelter or to immediately link all of a cat’s problem to declawing is beyond ridiculous (before you come up with *** such as declawing causing diabetes, you will need a much much bigger sample and more studies than “we saw a lot of declawed cats with diabetes around here”.

        As for the guy comparing dog and cat declawing : just plain stupid for obivious reasons

        Dogs scratching stuff is pretty much uncommon, behavior issues. while cats claw stuff to mark their territories (leaving pheromones around in the process)

        Morphology is totally different (at least you got something right *clap clap*) so post surgeries issues are much greater. We had to amputate a great dane’s digit weeks ago because of a splitted nail that never managed to heal. Our veterination wanted to avoid removing the figer as much as possible because the surgery itself is a pain in the ass, and so is the Healing process.

        Sure everything else but declawing is encouraged and welcome. if you manage to teach you cat to scratch his post, good for you. I used soft paws on my cat while waiting for the declawing surgery for 2 weeks. Same thing every morning, i had to glue back 2-3 of these damned everyday. Now when people ask me my opinion about soft paws in my clinic, i tell em that i really dont recommend them for a long term solution.

        “I take it by these comments you have never worked in a shelter or with a rescue agency? So you would have no idea the numbers of cats we see abandoned because of declawing.”>
        YOU will have to bring fowards numbers . Because our clinic work along with the local shelter and we have no feedback about declawing making people discarding their cats. we’ve never been told that it was an issue in our area

        Declawing is amputation and the alternatives are much better. But if you want to prove your point, at least dont make shit up. It just removes the little credibility you guys can have

    • I strongly strongly disagree that declawed cats have the best homes. They live in homes that put laziness ahead of their pets well being.

      Cats can be trained to not claw anything but a scratching post and there are alternatives like nail caps for people who can’t be bothered to try. But you know spending 10 minutes a month putting nail caps on is a lot more time invasive than amputating their toes.

      I have 3 cats and all are loved and that’s why they still have their claws and are indoor cats trained to use a scratching post.

    • I have a cat, who is not de-clawed. He doesn’t scratch anything in my home, except his scratching post. But he bites everything and there is no piece of furniture that has no teeth and bite marks.
      Following your logic, I have to pull out my cat’s teeth to be able to easily find a home, if I decide to move??
      What about the families with small children? Why it’s illegal to put off the children’s fingers, when they draw on the walls and break stuff?
      Everything depends on the education and discipline.
      The claws may still be there and not be used on your precious furniture, if the cat is taught right.
      Even the de-clawed cats may cause troubles if are like mine, biting everything they can reach.

    • What about the behaviour changes after a cat is declawed? They are more likely to not use a litter box because it’s so painful. This leads to going on the floor, on furniture. When the tennent moves out, you still have to replace the floors as it’s really hard to get cat urine out. You really aren’t saving any money by having your tennent declaw their cat. Personally, I would be much more worried about an unfixed cat (or dog) and the spraying that happens, or where they are going to put the animal when it goes into heat and is ‘leaking’.

      What about the cats that are declawed and they become more aggressive? I see this in my own cat. I adopted him as a rescue and the previous owners had him declawed. If I’m petting him and he’s had too much or I touch somewhere I shouldn’t, he goes to bite me. He doesn’t have his nails to give an effective swat to tell me no. He’s left with no choice but to bite.

      My last point is this. Why do we not do the same to dogs? Dogs can scratch, chew and destroy property just the same as cats, if not worse. Yet cats are the only ones that have to go through a number of inhumane (in my opinion) amputations that their owners are often not given all the info on. Why do we have such a double standard in animals?

  4. Thank you for this piece, Dr. Stiles, and for standing up for ethical veterinary behaviour. I support banning this practice and would like to address some myths vs facts that Dr. Jean Hofve has provided.

    Assertion: A ban would result in increased relinquishment, causing many cats to be euthanized and increasing the cost for animal control.

    Facts: The actual data suggest just the opposite: declawed cats are more likely to be relinquished than normal cats, so relinquishments should go down. Unwanted behavior is a major factor in reliquishment of cats to shelters. House-soiling, aggression, and biting are the top 3 reasons why cats are surrendered; as noted, these are the very same problems that 1 in 3 declawed cats will develop after surgery.

    While declawing (as a single variable) appears to “save cats’ homes,” analysis using a more reliable statistical method (that accounts for all variables) shows that declawed cats are nearly twice as likely to be relinquished to a shelter than clawed cats (actual odds 1.89 to 1, range 1-3.58). (Patronek, GJ, Glickman LT, Beck AM, et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. “J Am Vet Med Assoc”1996;209:582–588.)

    While veterinarians have opined that up to 75% of people who request declawing would get rid of their cat if surgery couldn’t be done (thus providing the rationale that declawing somehow “saves” cats), a survey of their own clients found that only 4% would euthanize or relinquish if declawing weren’t an option. (It is a well-known tendency among veterinarians to vastly underestimate both the resources and the compassion of their clients. They don’t know, because they don’t ask.)

    In a survey of Canadian veterinarians, only 102 were willing to venture a guess as to how many of their clients would have given up their cats if not for declawing (their estimate was 57%). This brief (1-1/2 page) article has become the foundation for claims that declawing “saves” cats’ homes or lives. The entire argument rests on this flimsy excuse that was proved completely false by the next study by the same author. (Landsberg GM. Declawing is controversial but saves pets. A veterinarian survey. Vet Forum1991;8:66-67.)

    A survey of 276 clients (of those same veterinarians who guessed that 57% of their clients would have gotten rid of their cats) found that a whopping 4% would have seriously considered doing so. Because this study was published in a journal that few vets even know exists, it has remained obscure, and most vets who favor declawing use only the flawed and 99%-wrong figures. (Landsberg GM. Cat owners’ attitudes toward declawing. “Anthrozoos” 1991;4:192-197.)

  5. Dr. Stiles, I disagree with your statement that suggests veterinarians are giving clients all the facts about what is involved with declawing, or what the humane alternatives are. No vet clinics I’ve walked in to have info on display about dealing with normal scratching behaviour of cats. The info has to be requested, then they dig around in a file or print some off. One clinic even has a promotional declawing video that does not mention possible long-term complications or humane alternatives to this radical surgery. None of my local clinics even stock vinyl nail covers.

    No Canadian vets that I’m aware of are making special examinations of the declawed feet of older cats, so they don’t note the severe, likely painful deformities that are affecting the way they walk and move (their overall conformation and way they bear weight). If you’re not aware of these long term physical consequences and haven’t seen the x-rays, or video on paw repair surgery, imagine how many other vets are in the same position, so can deny that declawing is harmful?

    A huge ethical concern: All this speaks volumes about the lack of protection for cats and their owners in Canada. Vet associations assert that they are supposed to protect pet owners too, but they have an obvious conflict of interest when they also protect the business interests of member veterinary professionals as well. And declawing is profitable compared to spay or neuter surgeries so there is incentive to keep doing it and ignore the physical evidence of harm.

    Some Canadian vet associations prohibit declawing animals, except for domestic cats. Nail trimming is routine maintenance for dogs, and I don’t know any who promote amputating the ends of weight bearing toes for dogs, even though cats and dogs are both digitigrades. Why this dog-centric attitude? In my opinion, it promotes the idea that cats, and their toes, are disposible.

    • Thank you very much Chris for your thorough response and questions/comments regarding the blog. Although I am aware that there are veterinarians who do not necessarily follow the same thoughts as I do and perhaps do not discuss the act of declawing and alternatives available with their clients, I do not wish to alienate these veterinarians. It is my heartfelt wish to move forward WITH them (and the public in general) to make declawing illegal throughout Canada. As more and more veterinarians refuse to do this procedure, more and more veterinarians will become sensitized. This is an unnecessary and esthetic procedure which we know is done for the simple convenience of our clients. Although there are methods that are “less painful” than others, there is still pain and the possibility for long-term issues and complications exists with ANY surgical procedure. So point in case – why do we need to do it?

      I also question how we ever came to doing this procedure and it being essentially “routine” in North America. Why did we not start doing it to dogs too???

      I believe that as we educate the public, veterinarians and veterinary students that this is not required to keep our cat shelters free of cats OR that it will affect our bottom-line as practice owners, we will see change…. slowly but surely, we will see change.

      • Dr. Stiles, I encourage you to contact a vet I know who is going to publish a paper on declawing. He has intimate knowledge of the physical changes and consequences. He’s been able to save the lives of cats who had bad behaviour, or who’s paws were going to be amputated due to severe lameness from previously being declawed. He can describe what happens and the to obtain detailed x-rays to see the issues. This is proof in black and white. Please contact Dr. Ron Gaskin at Main Street Vets in MN.

        A few other vets are also trying to help these cats and educate about why declawing needs to stop. See Paw Project-Utah on Facebook. Dr. Conrad at the Paw likely has a list of vets doing repair/declaw salvage surgery.

        You can also get a copy of the “The Paw Project” documentary on DVD, available for a limited time. Why not host a screening of the film?

        “”The Paw Project” doesn’t have gruesome, bloody imagery or try to horrify you or guilt trip you. It explains how declawing actually works, why many people are against it, and leaves you empowered knowing you can do something about it.”
        Danica Davidson, MTV

        • Thank you so much Danica. I had placed the as a link at the end of the blog. It is an excellent documentary and the website associated is also a go-to for people interested in learning more about declawing. I love the idea of screening the film here in Montreal! The blog was a brief intro to the subject and by no means going into any details on the issues surrounding this procedure. I hope to do a follow-up blog but my main objective at this time is to work closely with veterinary regulatory bodies in Canada….As long as it is legal to do this procedure, people will have it done and vets will do what they ask.

          • @Dr. Enid Stiles,

            I cannot wait to meet you in person! I will do whatever it takes to help make this procedure illegal in Canada. The Oreo Cat and I are very proud that a vet from here is taking charge and spreading the word!

            I think getting the film screened in Montreal is a great idea. People need to know more about this. I am in the South Shore and ALL the vet clinics here offer the procedure. A very small handful will try to discourage their clients from it and offer alternatives as well as all the pertinent information. However, they still do the procedure. I commend you for taking the step and teh responsibility as a vet to just say no. You have nothing but my highest repsect.

  6. Hi, this is one of the most recent articles I can find about Cat De-Clawing. The Paw Project was a hit in 2013 but I feel like this initiative didn’t really take off in Canada. I was wondering if you know any associations with current, active initiatives? I am very interested in helping with this cause. Thank you for this post, I really appreciate it.

  7. I can’t believe this is an option in our country. I am ashamed to be even in my home country canada! What I am going to do it try and make a difference through my school and manny others and hopefully get my classmates, family, and friends to support me and spread the word about how harmful this really is and how upset we are making our animals. If you are interested there is a documentary on netflix also explaining the dangers and how it is animal abuse! In this documentary one woman helpd millions of cats from being declawed by pushing to make it illigal in as manny city’s as she could in the U.S. and that is what I think we should be doing here in Canada.

  8. The Paw Project is on Netflix! I really encourage everyone to find it and watch it!

  9. So apparently the author would rather cats be abandoned at shelters than be declawed. My cat was declawed on Monday and was rolling and playing in her cage less then 24 hours later. People really need to educate themselves about declawing before jumping on the bandwagon.

    • @ProDeclaw. On the contrary. It is people like yourself that need to be educated. Declawing a cat poses many risks and is considered a mutiliation in over 22 countries that have made it illegal. Declawing is an amputation of the first bone joint, so like cutting off the tips of your fingers. Just because your cat is rolling around playing 5 days later does not mean that it is the case for the majority of cats. The stakes are high, and the numbers show that more often than not, declawing will result in side effects that the cat has to live with for the REST of their lives. Declawing a cat causes the cat’s weight to shift. Cat’s walk on their toes. When the claws are removed, the bone structure changes. This change causes the cat to put weight on bones that they normally would not. This causes arthritis. I know, I have a cat with arthritis as a cause of the declaw. Moreover, in over 66% of declawed cats, peices of bone are left under the skin causing a pebble in the shoe effect that gets worse over time and is extremely painful. Many cats stop going to the bathroom in the litter box after a declaw because in their mind “that place hurts”.

      Your comment is actually the complete oposite of reality. It is cats who ARE declawed that wind up in shelters MORE than cats who are NOT declawed. WHY? Because delcawing cause MANY psychological problems that owners just can’t deal with after a time. I work with shelters in my area. Apart from small kittens or cats found as strays, the majority of the cats brough to the shelters are delcawed. There is notrhing wrong with having done the procedure as a result of not having the facts before. But people such as yourself who either refuse to educate themselves or after reading still decide that declawing is OK… you guys are in the wrong sorry to say. This procedure is illegal in 22 countries for a reason. It is a controversial procedure even here in Canada. Declawing is considered as veterinary malpractice and there is no reason why it should be OK. If you feel that your furniture is more important than your cat, then do all the cats in the world a favor and don’t adopt one. You should be ashamed of yourself for your above remark. I suggest that you actually take the time to educate yourself before commenting with such ignorance. If you really knew the reality, that comment never would have been made.

    • Sorry but whoever declaws the cat, doesn’t deserve a cat. It’s an amputation and barbaric.

  10. I totally get those against the practice but supporters of ending the practice don’t follow end results. At least in the US the result will be death, their argument is that declawing will lead to other behavioral problems much worse then tearing up furniture and belongings. They give suggestions on claw posts but anyone with a large house knows this only spreads out the problem and as many sites state minimizes the damage not eliminates it. Thus the answer if declawing isn’t an option is turning in the cat. Contrary to the posts here that result including these beloved organizations is euthanasia. In fact these organizations are the leading killers of animals while at the same time taking away the options of owners. I personally have never owned a cat, and given my results with girlfriends and their families never intend to. Many will say here great but think is it great? Taking away options isn’t great in the long run it leads to less people wanting cats, less people wanting them is less owners which leads to more gassing of cats. Thus the humane action of not allowing declawing leads to an even less humane option of killing the animal. I know some have convinced themselves that putting an animal down is humane, I will accept that argument from a human put down that comes back and tells me otherwise.

  11. Proud parent of 2 amazing girls both of whom are indoor onky cats AND still have all their claws and will forever have them! They have never damaged anything important, they have a scratching post that they utilise and only one of my crazy girls has accidentally wripped a curtain due to her obsession with high places she decided to try to climb up the curtain and made a tiny tear on her way back down, she did it once and never touched anything else. I trim all 4 paws when needed, judged when they hurt my leg as they get comfortable. I have 2 children who have never been scratched or accidentally hurt by any of the claws! Im originally from England and had never before heard of declawing until I moved to CCanada ON, and I find it sickeneing every time I call a vet asking for information on rabies shots they have constantly promoted declawing and when I inquire as to what it entails im told its perfectly normal, routine precedure where the nails are removed! They should call it by its real name AMPUTATION!! I truly hope Canadians wake up FAST and stop this disgusting trend!

  12. Proud parent of 2 amazing girls both of whom are indoor onky cats AND still have all their claws and will forever have them! They have never damaged anything important, they have a scratching post that they utilise and only one of my crazy girls has accidentally wripped a curtain due to her obsession with high places she decided to try to climb up the curtain and made a tiny tear on her way back down, she did it once and never touched anything else. I trim all 4 paws when needed, judged when they hurt my leg as they get comfortable. I have 2 children who have never been scratched or accidentally hurt by any of the claws! Im originally from England and had never before heard of declawing until I moved to CANADA ON, and I find it sickeneing every time I call a vet asking for information on rabies shots they have constantly promoted declawing and when I inquire as to what it entails im told its perfectly normal, routine precedure where the nails are removed! They should call it by its real name AMPUTATION!! I truly hope Canadians wake up FAST and stop this disgusting trend!

  13. Superb, one more nail in the cruelty coffin..

    Just one thing.. sort out the link at the bottom 😉

  14. Contrarian opinion. First off, I have a kitten and I will never get it declawed. I do think it is not something that any cat should have to go through. However, I would rather a cat be adopted and declawed than to get put euthanized.

    Let me break this down.

    41% of cats that make it to a shelter get put down (
    31% of cats in America get declawed (

    What I worry about is people not willing to adopt cats because they don’t want their furniture wrecked, children injured, or whatever their reasoning is and having the result be that 41% growing to something like 60%. An alive cat that is declawed is better in my books than a euthanized cat with claws.

  15. I live in Sweden and have had cats for over 25 years. Declawing is illegal and always has been as far as I know. Yes, there is a risk you’ll find your furniture scratched. I would rather have that than mutilating my cats.

    One thing that surprises me is that people don’t see that, in countries where this is legal, if it were made illegal, people who want cats declawed won’t get them at all. Hence they won’t abandon them.

    If we can’t love cats the way they are created and allow them to live life the way that is natural (ie climbing, scratching), but only want them for selfish reasons, maybe we shouldn’t have them at all.

  16. I think a big piece missing here is the educational component. I’ve been a veterinary technician for 13 years and I believe it is our RESPONSIBILITY to educate our clients about their pets’ behaviours. A client may choose to declaw to solve a problem or prevent one, but they come that solution fairly easy on their own. Scratching causes damage = remove the claws. Problem solved. At the veterinary clinic, it’s not a simple “yes we declaw” or “no we don’t”. It’s about educating the client about their pets’ behaviours and working WITH them to come to a solution that benefits BOTH the client AND the pet. I think sometimes that gets overlooked because it takes a lot of time and effort on both parties, whereas a surgery is quick and solves the problem that day.
    The same approach should be used for any unwanted behaivour in any animal: clawing, barking, digging, chewing, marking… A cat’s desire to scratch is a behaviour that makes him a cat. But like any behaviour, it can be modified and trained. My dog liked to chew everything: furniture, shoes, even walls. My solution wasn’t to have all of his teeth extracted, it was to modify his behaviour through positive methods. Yes it took some time, and I had to sacrifice some nice pairs of shoes in the process, but that is my responsibility to my animal as his owner. I did the same with my cat. I provided him with appropriate items to scratch on and discouraged scratching on inappropriate items. It didn’t take him long to learn and today he is a happy healthy 15 year old with all of his claws who likes to sleep on my leather furniture (which is also in beautiful condition!!)

  17. So…I know I’m going to get some blow back from this, but I do declaw cats. I don’t like to declaw them, and I would never declaw my own cats, but if a client insists, (after I’ve spoken with them about it), I’ll do it for them. Why you might ask? Why don’t I take the so called moral high ground and send them elsewhere?
    It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, and I believe that on average turning these animals away does more harm than good.
    Let’s break down the argument a bit without using scare tactics like ‘mutilation’ and the like, first off, would the cat consent to the procedure? Probably not. But this in and of itself isn’t a good argument. There are plenty of things we as vets do to animals that we know they wouldn’t consent to (that also have long term health impacts), ever really given a long thought to spaying and neutering? Do you honestly think (barring the occasional pyometra) that ANY of your patients would consent to that? We do it because it’s in the best interest of the population as a whole, and (in many ways) it makes them better pets. The same argument applies to declawing.
    Now, many might argue that any home that would declaw is definitionally a poor home, and ‘they should just surrender their pet’. Even if you believe this (which I don’t), it misses the obvious point that there is a HUGE surplus in the cat population. On average, any extra cat in the system is going to mean one more cat euthanized (even if it’s not that particular cat who ends up euthanized). That is simple mathematics. The rate of cats incoming to a shelter has to be equal to (or less than) the rate outgoing, or the shelter will fill up. Homes don’t come from no where.
    Simple fact — if you ban declawing, there will (almost with a certainty) be less homes available for cats than if it’s permitted (the alternatives are there could be more (unreasonable), or equal (unlikely)). Now here is where a bit of a judgement call comes in, and one I don’t know can be quantified. If I save the life of one cat, by declawing ten, is that justifiable? (The other 9 being ones who would have kept the cat with the claws if they didn’t have a choice). Your individual answer is going to depend on exactly how bad you feel declawing is. Personally? I don’t see a lot of long term negative consequences of it. I have a few who start biting (because they can’t use their claws), can’t think of a single diabetic in our practice who is declawed (certainly the majority aren’t), or horribly deformed paws later in life. Not have I noticed many declawed cats ending up in shelters. Why the difference from stated here? I can only speculate must be technique. We all know there are as many ways to do surgery as there are people doing it. It would be very easy for one person doing a poor job to contaminate the local statistics.
    I think as vets we have a responsibility to make sure that people understand what we are doing when we declaw, and to encourage alternatives (trying to select those cases as best we can where it truly is ‘your claws or your life’), but when it comes down to it we want to be sure the actions, and policies we make are truthfully in the best interests of the animals, and aren’t just to make ourselves feel better.

    • A pleasure to read somebody with solid background using facts instead of fear, propaganda and fake statistics to make people understand one’s point of view. Depending on experience, our oldest vet uses the resco method for declawing, the newest one using the scalpel blade method, we dont offer laser as we dont have the technology and is expensive anyway. People are often complaining about the prices and we prefer have them invest in analgesic than high-tech methods (unfortunately i gotta admit that i am EXTREMELY DISPLEASED by the fact that out clinic is not making anagelsic mandatory for all cats (only the fat ones) and we push on our boss so that it will happen anytime soon. But the Customer will choose the cheapest place instead of the safest one so we need to be able to bargain with them…

      that being said, with many, many many declawing done, we have almost never feedbacks about how declawing caused long term or permanent problem, in the last year we maybe saw 2-3 issues related to declawing. for a clinic who declaws around a thousand cat yearly, i’d saw that a complication ratio of 0,002% is fairly good…

      let the ignorant ones come back at you, pay them no attetion, if they choose to blind themselves, no words will go trough them anyway

  18. I’ve had approximately 15 cats over my lifetime, none of them declawed (not that I’d consider it) and never have had problems. I keep a few scratching posts/ pads around the house and every single one of them has learned to use them.

    As for people being more likely to keep declawed cats, I strongly doubt that’s the case. Animals tend to get dumped more because they’ve become inconvenient to the owner, whether it’s having to be home more often than they might like, find pet sitters if going on vacation, just the sheer presence of a creature that demands attention when maybe they don’t feel like giving it, and it’s true, rental accommodation is more limited due to pet bans. Plus almost many of these declawed cats have behavioural issues such as biting and not using their litter trays, etc. If people don’t want the inconvenience of working with cats with claws and worry that a bit of inanimate furniture (however lovely) might get scratched, DON’T get a cat in the first place.

  19. Hello,

    Me and my wife had been adopted by 2 very heatlhy female cats with excellent personalities, and recently we got another visitor, a male.

    He is a short hair, leopard spotted, green eyed, big headed, and very loud.

    And he is neutered and declawed on both of his front paws. :-((

    After this harsh winter, he was so skinny that i could count his bones. With little love, and about a 10$ of cat food (dry and canned), he is now much happier and healthier.

    Unfortunately, he is in pain while putting his weight on the front paws. Also, he does not run, and I dont think that he is capable of defending himself at all.

    Good news from all this story is that my neighbour (lovely retired primary school teacher) accepted to be adopted by him. As I did not know how to name him, I gave him name “Skinny” but since the adoption his name is “Lepi” which means beautiful male.

    I’m sorry for my rants, but please, DO NOT DECLAW the cats! And especially leave them outside during harsh Canadian winter. If you make a decision to be accompanied by a cat, dog, or any animal, be f…ing RESPONSIBLE. No furniture is worth somebody’s life in pain. If you value your material possessions, so that you decide to mutilate a living being, just don’t take a pet. DONT!

    And for the veterinarians, yes, it’s your job to provide service which customer wants. I support you on that. But, please, talk to the customers before their decision. Make a evaluation, suggest different options. You’re the experts where people are coming with their pets for suggestions. And you’re working with somebody’s close friend and companion. Do your best to keep the friend whole. Yes, I’m saying friend, because pets are friends. The ones which unconditionally love you, trust you, put you in place of alpha.

    Hear another voice AGAINST declawing. It’s really inhuman.

    Thank you,

  20. Declawing cats is despicable and illegal in Australia I’m glad to say. I’ve never seen a declawed cat and hopefully never will

  21. Another point to bring to the table is that declawed cats still have a need to scratch. This need to scratch is something that all cats are born with. Taking away their claws doesn’t stop what they naturally do as a species. All it does it protect your ‘precious’ furniture. They think that their last toe bone and claws are still there due to something called phantom limb. Often seen in humans when they have to have an amputation, they say that it still feels like the limb (or anything else that was amputated) is still there.

    I see the phantom limb in my one cat when he goes to ‘scratch’ on the cat tree (made for the 1st cat) and the cardboard scratcher that I have. Even tho he’s declawed, he knows exactly were to go to ‘scratch’. I didn’t even show him where they were as I had assumed that once they’ve been declwed, they were done with the whole scratching business. I was wrong. He had no training (save for watching my other cat) about where to go or catnip encouragement. If my cat, who had no training can figure out where to scratch, you should be able to find a way to teach your cat to leave your furniture alone. Little nip goes along ways lol

    There are many times that the owner wants the cat declawed for scratching furniture but there’s no post/carpet/cardboard scratchers in the home for the cat to use. In those cases, there’s no surprise as to why the cat is scratching the furniture.

  22. I have only EVER had issues with a cat with claws. My declawed cats have been perfectly fine, well-behaved, and loving. But then again, I have only hired competent vets to do the declaw, not cut-rate butchers. I am pro-declaw: my cats can jump anywhere and do anything from 5 months til the end of their lives. Without being yelled at, water-bottled, or swatted, because of their declaws. They can sharpen their imaginary claws on my couch, my bed, or anyplace else they choose with no “behavioral corrections”. Get over yourselves. Cats can be declawed properly with no adverse effects.

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