Story published July 2016.
Photo is from an AAHA hospital with AVMA vets that declaws cats with their laser. They have no age limit for declaws (a blood test is required for older cats). They tell cat owners that there are no long term negative consequences for your cat if you declaw it. They suggest declaws with neuter surgeries to first time cat owners.
In phone calls to this practice, they don’t offer any behavior advice for scratching issues and cats or they don’t suggest scratching posts or Soft Paws (they have a section on their website called “Behavioral Medicine” with a photo of a dog with a torn up pillow and say they help with behavior issues).
They say their laser declaws aren’t painful and say that it’s $208.95 for the front declaw ($283 includes blood work which isn’t mandatory for a 10 month old and 2 1/2 yr old cat) and they say, “doing it by a laser doesn’t hurt them as much as it used to when they used to just pull them (claws) out and it hurt them more.”
When a first time cat owner asked about declaws and said they don’t want their sofa torn up, the employee said, “That’s a chance you don’t want to take.”
When asked how often do their vets do declaws, they say they do “plenty of them.”
American Animal Hospital Association recently made a Declaw Communications Toolkit for all their vets who declaw cats.
It seems to me that their priority is to protect their vets more than it is to end declawing at their hospitals.
Read more about AAHA’s Declaw Toolkit and my own Zero Tolerance Declaw Toolkit in this story. [button href=”https://citythekitty.org/my-bright-idea-city-the-kittys-zero-tolerance-declaw-toolkit/” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] AAHA Declaw Communications Toolkit[/button]
I will be featuring AAHA hospitals with vets who are on the right side of cat history and are honoring their oath to just HEAL and HELP animals. They don’t declaw at their hospitals and only counsel cat owners about what declawing is and how it is bad for their cats. They also counsel cat owners about the humane alternatives such as scratching posts, soft paws, behavioral modification tips, deterrents, and nail trimming.
I will also be featuring some of the many AAHA hospitals that offer declaw coupons, promote their laser declawing techniques, and deceive cat owners to believe that declawing is ok for their cats.
Somehow we must try to inspire AAHA veterinarians to stop declawing since AAHA is so afraid of losing them as members. They have 3500 hospitals. Each one pays at least $1070 a year. Most of their hospitals declaw cats. I think you can see why AAHA is tip toeing around and not making it mandatory that their hospital don’t amputate cat’s toes and claws. (no pun intended)
Here is an AAHA hospital that is a shining example of how ALL of them should be. Nova Cat Clinic in Arlington, Va doesn’t declaw cats. They counsel clients about the facts about declawing. They have information about declawing on their website. They counsel about the humane alternatives. They honor their oath and are true advocates for all animals and just HEAL and HELP animals.
Nova Cat Clinic in Virginia also posts educational posts on their social media pages to create more awareness about declawing. Please give them a big thank you on their facebook page [button href=”https://www.facebook.com/NOVACatClinic/?fref=ts” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Nova Cat Clinic[/button]
Screenshot from Nova Cat Clinic website [button href=”https://novacatclinic.com/?s=declaw&lang=en” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Nova Cat Clinic declawing information[/button]
Here is an example one of the many AAHA hospitals (AND a Cat Friendly AAFP practice) that is deceiving cat owners about declawing .
In fact in Oct 2015 my mom sent an email to Kate Wessels, AAHA media contact, and Dr Heather Loenser, Staff Veterinary Adviser for Professional and Public Affairs with AAHA asking them about this AAHA hospital and if they approve of these declawing standards. She told them she received tips that this place wasn’t counseling clients on humane alternatives, had a coupon on their website for it, and was declawing kitties on all four paws, no questions asked and telling clients that there is nothing wrong with it.
My mom even tried to go about this in a private way to just have a respectful educational dialogue with the manager of this Layfayette Veterinary Care ho$pital. Since AAHA doesn’t reach out to their hospitals about this we thought there was a chance they might listen and have an open mind.
She spoke with the manager and told her that she was City the Kitty’s mom and why she was respectfully reaching out about their declaw policy and why they were telling cat owners that there are no negative consequences to declawing and not counseling them about the humane alternatives.
The manager said that they were just re-certified in June and that AAHA went over their website, researched protocols, and toured their practice. This manager told my mom, “ You’re not in a place to say if we counsel clients with the humane alternatives and I’m going to end this conversation now.” And she hung up on her.
Also the media person and this semi-famous DVM, Dr Heather Loenser of AAHA never returned her respectful email.
I had my FBI (Feline Bureau of Investigation) Team check this week to see if things had changed for the better at this AAHA hospital.
They called about a 3 month old kitten and 2 yr old cat and asked what the costs were for a declaw.
They spoke with different employee on different days. They asked about a spay and a declaw cost. This nice employee said, “if you would do just the front feet with the spay it would be $367 and if you want all four feet declawed it would be $475.”
They asked if the cats would be ok long term and the employee said that they use a CO2 laser which reduces pain a lot. They say that a lot of vets use the guillotine method, nail trimmers to cut off the last digit or underneath the nail but the cats do a lot better with the laser and they usually don’t see complications.
Another employee said that they don’t often have complications and if the cat owner had watched a video on youtube on how they declaw cats. She said that they make it look horrible in the video but it’s not really that way. To reassure you they say they use a clean and sanitized surgical suite and use a laser which helps with the pain and makes it less painful and they usually heal in a couple days.
All these employees asked if you want the front or all four paw declaw. Front declaw is $315 and all four is $423.
When researchers asked what do they recommend, they say, “Occasionally we have people who do all four, but most people just do the front because typically cats will damage furniture or claw things with their front feet only.”
They say, “If you are worried about your cats clawing your furniture, carpet, or curtains, we would recommend just the front.”
They say that they do around two declaws a week and all their doctors are skilled at them.
No mention of humane alternatives, scratchers, soft paws, or trimming nails to these first time cat owners. Not one mention of it being an amputation procedure from this receptionist who also was a vet tech.
When asked if there are any long term problems with declawing a cat they say, “We usually don’t see complications or side effects from declawing with the laser.” They say you must make a $78 exam to have a doctor and to see if your cats are healthy and the only reason they wouldn’t declaw is if there is something wrong in the blood work.
They are nice and say that you can make the exam appointment on a Wed. and leave your kitties overnight and this is complimentary and they will do the declaw the next day. They wrap the paws and put pressure bandages and use their therapeutic laser to speed up the healing and reduce inflammation. They give your kitties one pain injection before it wakes up that lasts 3 days and tiny tablets for two days. They said usually after 3 days they are no longer in pain and the 4 paw declaws are healed in 7-10 days and back to normal.
Their coupon is still on their website.[button href=”http://www.lafayettevets.com/website-prices/” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Layfayette Veterinary Care Center Declaw Coupon[/button]
I REQUEST THAT NONE OF YOU REACH OUT TO ANY OF THESE VETERINARY HOSPITALS THAT SUPPORT DECLAWING AND THREATEN THEM OR ATTACK THEM. We must take the high road even if they aren’t. If you attack or threaten them, it is wrong and it also hurts our cause and they will turn things around and call us bullies and animal activist terrorists (like a few of the vets did in the AVMA’s America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest). We must keep shining light on the fact that AAHA isn’t doing much at all to try to get their hospitals to move closer to their declawing policy that strongly opposes declawing. AAHA is also looking the other way to all of their vets who support declawing and who are unnecessarily harming and mutilating the paws of so many cats and kittens.