How Civilised is a Country that Declaws Cats?

Did you know that to declaw a cat is not the same as clipping a cat´s claws?  That it actually means an amputation of the last digit of each phalanx, bones and all, usually done on the front paws, but in rare cases on all four paws?  You didn´t?  I guess it´s time to enlighten you then.

Declawing is a legal procedure that is routinely done to cats in the United States and Canada, often as part of a spay/neuter/declaw package, adding nicely to a veterinary practice´s profits. Even though lately vets that practise this operation advertise using laser which apparently is “much cleaner” in terms of the actual surgery and easier for the cat afterwards, the thought that these “butchers” have the best interests of the cat in mind is extremely doubtful. There is absolutely nothing, and I repeat nothing, of benefit to the cat having its wonderful weapons chopped off, but will leave it to walk on painful tiptoe stumps for the rest of its life, not to mention other problems it will most likely develop due to trying to compensate for the loss of its fingertips.

Preventing your cat from scratching your furniture, yourself or your children/dog is one of the main excuses for having cats declawed in the US and Canada. The fact remains: this is what (some) cats do. Anyone who has ever grown up with cats in countries where declawing is illegal will have had cat scratches at some point, some more serious than others, and if you are a cat owner this is simply a fact of life.  Whether it´s during play or when a cat is teased by a young child, it is the cat´s natural instinct/defence to use its claws. I am lucky to have 3 cats that are very well tempered, but even though they have 2 scratch trees and one big, seemingly indestructible, sisal rug that they are allowed to use at their leisure, I still sometimes find them using part of the sofa or the office chair to sharpen their “nails”, and I still get scratched every now and then.  Cause that´s what cats do

Declawing seems, to me, to be the result of a lazy, ignorant and capitalist society that would rather maim an animal and make a profit from it (vets) than educate and spend time training and teaching cats from a young age, or use alternative measures like we would use in Europe, such as bi-weekly nail trimmings or glue-on nail caps (i.e. SoftPaws).  Flawless furniture seems to be more important than a cat´s welfare in these so-called civilised countries. Which brings me to the next point. 

The fact that the majority of landlords in the US and Canada demand in their rental contracts “if you have a cat it has to be declawed”, doesn´t give cat owners much of a choice in many cases. The simplicity of rental contracts in Europe which either state “pets allowed” or “no pets” on the other hand, is laid out in black and white and without the possibility of a cat suffering any abuse. But then, that is because in most European countries declawing is illegal.  

So how dare these so-called advanced Western societies inflict this pointless, purely cosmetic, cruelty on another living being, and moreover, legally?! That is what declawing is: CRUEL. And UNNECESSARY

Change never happens overnight, not even in a decade or two in most cases, whether we like it or not. However, slow advances have been happening over the last 15 years, since I was first shocked finding out about declawing in the US and Canada. More and more people are raising their voices thanks to the internet with many anti-declaw petitions collecting signatures of outrage. Vets in 8 local governments in California including Los Angeles and San Francisco recently declared a ban on declaw ops recognising the practice as inhumane, and US Senators are speaking out to have it banned in their State – so all hope is not lost!

In the end it´s the whole “system” as a whole that needs to change in the US and Canada though, meaning *all* veterinaries´ mentalities towards welfare v. profit, as well as landlords´ and property owners´ mentalities. We need more politicians who care about animal welfare rather than votes, and people who decide to get a cat realising that a cat scratch and less than pristine furniture are simply part of the wonderful life that we share with our feline friends.

Only then will they realise that its claws are one huge part that makes a cat truly a cat.


Please watch this great informative video of US veterinarian Dr Karen Becker informing us to find alternatives to declawing.

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  • Ariana

    I don’t disagree with your statements – and you know I agree with you on this topic. However, Having rented in both the US and Canada, and looked at many in both places, I have never encountered that. I know it does happen but I just wouldn’t say ‘the majority’ have that as a requirement. I son’t know if I’d even say ‘many’ – I would say ‘some’ have that as a requirement. I really wouldn’t say that requirement is the norm – it is, in fact, out of the norm and that is why attention gets drawn to it when people find out about it. (as it very well should!)

     I did ask once about taking Othello to a motel (A MOTEL) in Ontario and the woman on the phone asked if he was declawed and I said no (I suppose I could have lied but why would I? They are a part of who he was and I was never ashamed of anything about him) – she said she would only allow him to stay if he was declawed. We didn’t stay there.See more

    • Ah, thank you for clarifying this Ariana.  You are well travelled, so I believe what you´re saying! :)