Sunday’s Supporters and SpokesCats- From a cat owner in Europe

strolchi susi“Dear City,
I live in a country, where toe amputation aka “declawing” was never thinkable or a part of our culture. When I was confronted the first time with this procedure, I really got shocked. What? They do this, although they are donating thousands of dollars to save a burned kitten? How is that possible?

This note is my summary of what I found out about declawing. Feel free to use and share it.

for the cat’s paws love,
Daniela

Myth of declawing seen from an Austrian:
Thank You for your attempt to give some information about the toe-amputation aka “declawing”
I’d like to give You a different point of view from somebody, who lives in Europe, where declawing was never part of the culture and is legally forbidden, because it is estimated as animal cruelty.
For a proper start I would like to define declawing: Declawing is the amputation of the healthy claw together with the bone, where the claw grows out. It is similar to an amputation of your fingertips (or toetips) to the first knuckle. There are several surgery methods, with nail clipper, with scalpel or with laser (http://www.allfelinehospital.com/declaws.pml). The method of surgery doesn’t change the effect – it is still and will always be an amputation of the healthy claw and the healthy first bone in a cat’s paw.
An amputation of a part of the paw because of injuries, illnesses like tumors or something else, has nothing to do with declawing. It is also an amputation, but in this case the paw is already injured or ill, and the amputation is done to prevent the cat from further damage.
So if You talk about declawing, You soley talk about the amputation of healthy toes. Any amputation because of existing injures or illnesses of the cat’s paws is not part of this discussion.
According to my researches about the history of this procedure I had to detect, that this surgery was intentionally invented by dog fighting rings and their vets to protect the fighting dogs from the damage done by the claws of the cats, whom they used and still use as prey (http://pictures-of-cats.org/Origin-of-Cat-Declawing.html or http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/09/9/Sept09.htm). And according to this very brief article http://www.littlebigcat.com/declawing/declawing-and-science/ declawing became “popular” as ‘a behavioral quick-fix’, when catowners started to keep their cats indoors because of the outdoor dangers.
Today the two most common “official excuses” for still allowing that procedure are:
– It is better to declaw a cat and find it a home instead of killing it in one of the shelters.
– If the owner is immunocompromised or has other health issues, the declawing surgery is necessary to gurantee the owner’s health.
Shelters: Yes, every year between 1 million to 2 million cats (depends on the scources) get killed in the Animal Control Facilities of the United States. But to think, that all of those cats still have their claws, and that no declawed cat gets dumped is simply a myth and a lie. I just made a search on Petfinder for declawed cats in NY. ( https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?location=new+york&animal=cat&breed=&filtersUpdated=false&distance=&characteristics=declawed&name= ) 3250 declawed cats search a home. And for Your information the NYC ACC is NOT on Petfinder, so the cats in the official animal shelters of NYC are NOT in this number. If just one cat gets declawed and then dumped and then killed, then this argument doesn’t count.
Immunocompression: Yes, there are risks for Immunocompromised pet owners. The guideline of the National Institute of Health ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096326/ ) has several hints and guidelines. NONE of them include declawing. Yes, there is the danger of scratching fever, but as the guideline points out correctly, scratching fever is caused by a bacteria coming from fleas. If You have a good flea prevention, Your cat can’t get a transmitter of scratching fever.
So in my opinion the two most used official excuses to defend declawing are not true.
Then why doesn’t the AVMA (american veterinary medical association) forbid declawing for housecats, similar to the outlawing of this amputation for exotic cats? (https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/130115l.aspx)? In my opinion the reasons are obvious and simple.
First of all it is really hard to admit, that You have invented and allowed something, that is wrong and painful and has no real benefit for the cat.
And the second point is, that veterinarians need a cash cow to pay back their study loans. Studying is very expensive in Northern America, and therefore you need some procedure, that gurantees a regular income. Toe amputations aka declawing are relatively easy surgeries, that give you the necessary profit to pay back those loans. I fear, that this is not the entire truth, but I refuse to believe, that vets are so greedy.
Declawing is an amputation. And like any amputation, the amputee will deal with that loss of a body part in a different way and will heal in a different way. There are cats, who really have no health issues (even not long term health issues like early arthritis) and who really have no behavioral issues.
But even one cat, who suffers from the health issues and behavioral changes because of declawing, is one cat too much to justify this mutilation.
If You want a declawed cat, please get one already declawed cat from Your local shelter or rescue group.
If You get a cat, then provide scratching posts and enough playtime.
If You don’t want your kids to get scratched then teach them how to respect the cats and how to play properly with them.
If You don’t like rough playing, then adopt an elder cat.
If You still want to amputate Your cat to protect Your furniture, then either get a stuffed toy or amputate Your first digits of Your hands before You declaw Your cat.
Sincerely,
Daniela, Susi the cat, and Strolchi the cat”