Story published on Jan. 23, 2021
Comment from Dr Marty Becker in 2019 on Facebook. (VCA and Banfield stopped declawing in early 2020 and AAFP announced in Dec. 2020 that they will no longer allow declawing in their CAT FRIENDLY Practices in July 2021.)
Fear Free Pets is a veterinary company that certifies veterinary practices and professionals. It was developed by Dr Marty Becker.
Dr Marty Becker says he is completely opposed to declawing. He also wrote some good stories showing why declawing is bad for cats and talked about all the humane organizations and shelters who are vehemently against declawing and then stated this at the end of his story, “I’m with them. I hope the rest of my profession joins us soon.”
Fear Free says that they aim to “take the ‘pet’ out of petrified.” They say that their Fear Free methods and protocols have an end result of calmer, more accepting patients, and better veterinary care.
Fear Free Pets says their mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in animals.
They say, “Scruffing of cats is not permitted” on their Fear Free Practice Certification Standards. https://fearfreepets.com/wp-content/uploads/delightful-downloads/2019/04/Practice-Certification-Supporting-Examples.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1lvMZNSZUg6-bkPm7DNGRQGfD7t0uBxTYZX0dOZ6EXJ6Xtp4S1rnAjLXI
How does a procedure that is inhumane, cruel, mutilating, and unnecessary fit in a Fear Free Practice?
Declawing CAUSES fear, anxiety, and stress. Declawing causes unnecessary pain and suffering.
Declawed cats have higher levels of cortisol which indicates chronic stress. Here’s the study. Declawing causes chronic stress
We did an informal declawing study with Fear Free Certified Practices.
Our researchers made a short call to 70 Fear Free Certified Practices throughout America and asked for the cost of a neuter and declaw. They also asked if declawing is ok for a cat. (Fear Free says they have 140 Certified Practices.)
Here’s what we found. 40 Fear Free Certified Practices don’t declaw cats. 30 Fear Free Certified Practices declaw cats.
Please sign our petition to Marty Becker and Fear Free. Fear Free Petition
Fear Free Certified Practices that perform declawing
1) Telford Veterinary Hospital, Souderton, PA
A neuter/declaw is $400- 4650. Employee who is a Fear Free Certified Veterinary Assistant said that Dr Sharon Minninger, one of the owners of this practice and the medical director who is also a Fear Free Certified Professional, does the declaws. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term, they said yes but the cats have a little anxiety after their declaw. . They said that declawing is an amputation, but it’s not like they have to relearn to walk, but it’s a change for them. They recommend Purina’s Yesterdays News litter. They said declaws are not as common at their practice, as in the past, but that Dr Minninger has done them regularly and now does a couple a month. There was no mention of the humane alternatives.
2) Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital, Gibraltar, MI
Employee said that a 2 paw declaw starts at $550 and a 4 paw declaw is from $600-$800. They said that they try not to declaw but will do it after an exam as long as you are aware of the risks to the cat. They said that it could cause phantom limb pain and arthritis.
3) Jelsema Veterinary Clinic, Hudsonville, MI
Employee asked, “just the front?” A 2 paw declaw and neuter is $500.
4) Care Animal Hospital, Pleasant Prarie, WI
Employee asked, “just the front or all four?” A neuter and 4 paw declaw is $560. They said they use a laser for the declaw and it’s more efficient. But they said it is still painful so they give lots of pain meds. They said they heal up and there shouldn’t be any long term problems for the cat.
5) Animal Medical Center of Marquette, MI
They declaw but you need an exam first.
6) Frost Family Pet Clinic, Loves Park, IL.
Employee said that a neuter/declaw is $423 and the cats stay two nights. They said that they do declaws regularly and that there are no long term problems.
7) Hanover Veterinary Hospital, Cedar Lake, IN.
The recording on their phone when you are on hold talked about being a Fear Free practice and some of the words they used were, “considerate approach, safe, and happy pet.” A declaw and neuter is $456. They said the owner vet, Dr Jeremiah Bieszczak does declaws regularly.
8) Brentwood Animal Hospital, Brentwood, MO.
A neuter/declaw is $457. They said that not a lot of doctors do them anymore but they are “totally fine doing declaws.” They have two vets who do the declaws one of the they said is Dr Kolli.
9) Furever Family Veterinary Care Center, East Moline, IL.
A declaw is $275 and a neuter is $86 and they said there is a $50 discount if you do them together. They said that they suggest against declawing since it can cause behavioral issues, litter box avoidance, and aggression.
10) Lake City Animal Health & Wellness Center, Warsaw, IN.
A neuter/declaw is $470. They said that Dr Carla Carlton does the declaws but if it’s not necessary she won’t do them. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat, the employee said yes.
11) New Palestine Veterinary Clinic, IN. (Also an AAHA accredited animal hospital.)
The employee said that they don’t recommend declawing but they offer the service in order for a cat to live in a home. They said that declawing can have bad side effects and they talk about other options in the exam.
12) Jonesville Animal Hospital, Newberry, FL.
The employee asked, “just the front or all four?” A 4 paw declaw is $710. They said that Dr Kathleen Vliet does the declaws. They said that lately she doesn’t do many declaws since the demand for them has been down. The employee said they have a package neuter/4 paw declaw which is $811.
13) Thompson’s Veterinary Center, Lake Wales, FL.
They said that a neuter/declaw is $470. They use a laser which they say restricts the blood flow and there’s less bleeding. They have declawing on their website. https://thompsonsveterinarycenter.com/services/surgery/
14) Hardaway Veterinary Hospital, Belgrade, MT. (Also an AAHA accredited animal hospital.)
Employee asked, “Just the front?” A declaw is $314. The employee said they use a laser for the declaws and it is less invasive, quicker healing, and less painful. They have declawing on their website. http://hardawayvet.com/tw_petcare/surgery_soft_tissue/
15) Exeter Veterinary Hospital, Reading, PA.
A neuter/declaw is $315. The veterinary profession employee said all their doctors are good at declaws. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat, the employee said that her cat is declawed and he’s lovable and still thinks he has his claws since he goes after her curtains, which is why she had him declawed.
16) Animal Doctor Westside, Manhattan, KS.
A neuter/declaw is $180. They said that all their doctors do declaws regularly and they had one last week and one scheduled for next week. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat they said usually but that sometimes there can be problems. They said the decision to declaw is a personal preference.
17) Town & Country Animal Hospital, Salina, KS.
A neuter/declaw is $252. They use a laser and say there is less swelling, less pain, and quicker healing. All their doctors do declaws regularly, they recommend doing declaws at a younger age, the cats are ok long term after a declaw, and they have Purina’s Yesterday’s News Litter for after the declaw.
18) Hardin Valley Animal Hospital, Knoxville, TN.
The employee said that they typically don’t declaw unless it’s a last resort. They talked about the alternatives and said declawing is so painful.
19) North Boise Veterinary Clinic, Boise, ID.
The employee said that they stopped recommending declaws and like to try everything else first, it’s like taking off the tips of their toes, it’s painful and the cats might start biting. But they said they will do declaws.
20) Animal Health Clinic, Fargo, ND. (Also an AAHA accredited animal hospital.)
The phone recording talks about how they are Fear Free and use low soothing tones, gentle techniques, calming pheromones, emotional health in high quality medical care.
The employee said that a neuter/declaw is $632-$775. They like to talk about alternatives but they do offer declaws. They mentioned Dr Dill, Dr Ness, and Dr Striegel do declaws regularly. The said that they use a laser that helps with less bleeding and inflammation. When asked if declawing is ok long term and they said that it has risks.
21) North Shore Veterinary Hospital, Duluth, MN.
A neuter/declaw is $700. They have two doctors that do declaws.
22) Mountain Animal Hospital, Redmond, OR.
A 2 paw declaw is $450. They said that they don’t recommend declawing and usually don’t do it, but if the cat is under 6 months they might.
23) Doylestown Animal Medical Clinic, Doylestown, PA
They said that all their doctors do declaws and the cat has to stay 2 nights.
24) Companion Pet Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
The said that a declaw is $630
25) Berkeley Veterinary Center, Bayville, NJ
They said that they recently stopped doing declaws but will do them on a case by case basis like if a cat is injuring itself with their claws.
26) Onion River Animal Hospital, Barre, VT (This is also an AAHA accredited animal hospital.)
A declaw starts at $236 and they have two doctors who do them, Dr Hannah Flynn and Dr Anne Culp.
27) Lakeview Veterinary Hospital, New Orleans, LA.
Employee asked, “Are you looking for a front declaw?” A neuter/2 paw declaw is $800 and they said they don’t do 4 paw declaws very often. The said that most of their vets do declaws. Asked if a declaw is ok long term for a cat and they said that all situations are different but most of the time they are ok.
28) Holt Veterinary Clinic, Dallas, TX.
They said that a neuter/declaw is $550 and all their vets do declaws. Asked if a declaw is ok for a cat and the employee said they had their cat declawed at this clinic and said, “my cat was fine.”
29) Animal Hospital of Orleans, Orleans, MA
The employee said they can’t remember the last time they did a declaw but they will do them on a case by case basis. An example they used was if an elderly person was getting scratched. A neuter/declaw starts at $660.
30) Eastridge Animal Hospital, La Mesa, CA
They said that they don’t recommend declawing and will only do them if it’s absolutely necessary and used the example if a cat is really aggressive and the owner might give the cat up.
Fear Free Certified Practices that don’t declaw.
1) Bethany Family Pet Clinic, Portland, OR.
They said they recently stopped performing declaws but referred our researcher to the other clinic that is owned by one of their vets, Dr Robert Merrill, Sherwood Family Pet Clinic in Sherwood, OR, for a declaw. Employee said that a neuter/declaw is $857- $993. You need a consultation exam first and Dr Merrill and Dr Mark Schlimgen are the vets who perform the declaws. Sherwood Family Pet Clinic is not a Fear Free Practice.
2) Blum Animal Hospital, Chicago, IL.
3) Loyal Companions Animal Hospital, St Charles, IL.
They recommended alternatives.
4) Milwaukee Veterinary Clinic, WI.
They said that is really painful for cats.
5) Animal Medical Center of Chicago, IL.
6) Prairehaven Animal Hospital, Sherman, IL.
They said a declaw is traumatic for a cat.
7) Greenhaven Animal Clinic, San Jose, IL. (They are also an AAHA animal hospital.)
8) Paw Patch Place Animal Hospital, Indianapolis, IN.
They said it’s bad for cats.
9) Brandt Veterinary Clinic, Nokomis, FL.
10) Island Hammock Pet Hospital, Key Largo, FL
11) Del Mar Veterinary Hospital, Augustine, FL
12) Cary Street Veterinary Hospital, Richmond, VA
They said that they don’t believe declawing to be humane.
13) Passionate Paws Animal Hospital, Waxhaw, NC
14) Patton Veterinary Hospital, Red Lion, PA
They said they stopped declawing last year and it’s amputating the cat’s first knuckle.
15) South Branch Veterinary Services, LLC, South Lebanon, NJ.
They said declawing causes a lot of pain and it’s not humane.
16) Animal Hospital of Waynesville, Waynesville, NC. (They are also an AAHA animal hospital and Cat Friendly Practice.)
They said declawing is not part of Fear Free and they are morally against it.
17) Family Pet Health, Murfreesboro, TN.
They said that declawing is painful and can lead to arthritis, behavioral issues, and re-homing the cat. They talked about all the humane alternatives and recommended resources for cats by Pam Johnson Bennett.
18) Animal Hospital of North Asheville, NC
They mentioned the alternatives and said they don’t consider declawing a necessity.
19) Applebrook Animal Hospital, Ooltewah, TN.
The said that declawing is considered inhumane.
20) Blue Oasis Pet Hospital, Mount Juliet, TN.
They said declawing is considered cruel.
21) 1st Pet Veterinary Centers, AZ
They said they stopped declawing this year.
22) OKC Vet, Oklahoma City, OK.
23) Gladstone Veterinary Clinic, Milwaukie, OR.
24) Buckman Veterinary Clinic, Portland, OR.
They said declawing is mutilation, painful, and causes early arthritis.
25) East Bend Animal Hospital, Bend, OR.
26) Indian Trail Animal Hospital, Spokane, WA.
27) Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic, Mercer Island, WA
28) Freeport Veterinary Hospital, Freeport, ME
29) Beaverbrook Animal Hospital, Wethersfield, CT
They said declawing is an amputation and is bad for cats and not recommended.
30) Companion Animal Veterinary Association, Middletown, DE
31) Fur and Feather Veterinary Hospital, Houston, TX
32) Summer Creek Animal Clinic, Fort Worth, TX
They said that they are a Fear Free & AAHA and that’s why they don’t declaw. They explained how declawing is bad for cats and gave good advice about the humane alternatives.
33) Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital, Austin, TX
34) Chateau Veterinary Hospital, Kenner, LA
They said declawing is removing the cat’s knuckle and their doctors don’t do it.
35) Compassionate Care Veterinary Services, Groton, MA
They said that declawing is not considered standard of care.
36) Back Bay Veterinary Clinic, Boston, MA
37) Saugus Animal Hospital, Saugus, MA
38) Four Corners Veterinary Hospital, Concord, CA
They said that declawing is very painful and not medically necessary.
39) Four Corners Veterinary Hospital, Concord, CA
40) Country Oaks Pet Hospital, Sacramento, CA
They said they don’t do declaws for cosmetic reasons.