by Ethel Isaacs
(Willards, Maryland USA )

I am the proud Human Caretaker of 10 indoor cats . and Caretaker of 6 feral colony fur babies ... . That have allowed me the privledge of being owned and loved by them ... I DO NOT believe in de-clawing cats ! PLEASE DO NOT forget that pulling out the nails was a form of torture during past wars . In my opinion it is a very cruel thing to do ...... If you want beautiful furniture then do not have a cat ..Simple as that ... Easy decision ....
To me de-clawing is a form of torture ... Would you pull out a loved ones nails ? Do you know the pain that must be like ...?I've had cats my whole life .I'm 63 now , and the "ONLY " de-clawed cat I had was rescued by me after that dirty deed was done ..Needless to say , as she grew older she suffered from a form of arthritis in her front paws ... Was it due to de-clawing ? . Cats need their claws . Claws are a form of defense for them.
Many cats , Wild or Domesticated would not live as long as they do if one of their greatest defenses were missing ...
Whenever a friend or acquaintance tells me they are having their cat de-clawed my heart drops ! I try as hard as I can to talk them out of it but of course , they have their minds set , that although they want a pet ,they don't want their furniture ruined ... Duh , if your child decides to draw with magic marker on your sofa or chair , what will you do , cut their fingers off ? NO !!
There are other alternatives , they sell nail covers that you can put over the kitty's nails .. This way your belongings are safe and you have not caused any unnecessary pain to your pet ..... Make your own conscious decision ,because you have to live with it ....Hopefully , you will have doubts in making a hasty decision ...You do not have to agree with my opinion just please look at it in a different frame of mind . That's all I ask ......


Comments for DECLAWING - NO !!!!

Oct 09, 2011 Another point
by: Claire P.

What I'm saying is that there is no evidence beyond the near-religious belief pro declaw ban advocates hold that declawing is the problem you say it is. Surgery is surgery. It all hurts. The point is: Is there a greater good? You believe there is not, but the article cited again and again in support of your view is quoted out of context according to the author, who says his research does not support what you think it does.
You think spay-neuter helps pets and so it's worth the pain and the risk to an individual pet. Everyone knows someone who declawed and kept a cat for life, lovingly and happily. That cat stayed out of a shelter, which means it opened up space for another cat. Is that not the "greater good" standard you hold up to justify the mutilation of dogs and cats who have their reproductive organs surgically removed?

Oct 09, 2011 No to a declaw ban
by: Claire

The advocates for a declaw ban believe, despite evidence to the contrary and peer-reviewed science showing that surgical altering is not a wholly benign procedure, that forced spay-neuter is completely beneficial and will end the supply of pets in need of rehoming.

The advocates believe, despite evidence to the contrary and science showing that a well-done declawing with post-operative pain control is no worse than other surgeries they do not condemn, that declawing is the cause of behavior problems that lead to abandonment and difficulty in rehoming.

And yet, you want to force everyone to follow your unfounded beliefs, by law. What I?m having a problem with is sweeping legal mandates that do not take into account the fact that there is little more than emotion involved here, no science, and that decisions about what surgeries a pet has need to be left in the hands of the pet?s OWNER, in consultation with a veterinarian.

You think declawing is abhorent. But that?s because you dislike what it represents, nothing more. Surgery is surgery, and it all hurts. Based on the arguments that declawing is mutilation - wouldn?t the same hold true for spaying and neutering - I mean we are removing organs from the cat that they were born with just for our convenience so they won?t multiply. Do you think that is done by magic? It is done by a surgery that requires pain meds because it HURTS. There are also long reaching risks. You are altering a cat or dog for the ?greater good? as pet owners see it, not as the cat or dog sees it. If declawing keeps a cat from being dumped, then why is that not a legitimate surgery for your ?greater good? argument? If it?s just as possible to keep pets from breeding by being a responsible owner of an intact pet, then why isn?t that an acceptable option? If ?pain? and ?mutilation? are your fixations, then you should not be advocating for spay-neuter, but rather for pet-lovers working to prevent pregnancy through the ?barrier method? ? leash, fence and closed door.

As for the bans in the UK and other countries. I?m not sure about other countries but contacts I have in England say that many shelters will not adopt a cat out if they believe it will be indoor only because they believe that keeping a cat indoors is cruel treatment. Hence the need for their claws. And as with many political agendas, the declaw bans that have been passed have done so based on an emotional basis rather than any true evidence or facts. The one study that is quoted by declaw ban advocates the most has widely been taken out of context per the author?s own statement. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims of behavioral problems or psychological problems due to declaw surgery. There is only anecdotal evidence which can be contradicted by other anecdotal evidence citing the complete opposite effect.

Sep 29, 2011 Declawing = Death
by: Traci

I know the title is a bit harsh but let me tell you why its true. You may love both your cat AND your precious furniture but consider this... your cat is not replacable. Each and every kitty has thier own personality. Each one is special and unique. You can buy new furniture at Walmart. If your poor kitty ever got lost or left on its own outdoors (and you may be thinking Never... but NEVER say never. :P), it would have no way to protect itself or hunt for food. Simple.

Sep 28, 2011 final comment
by: Ethel

To the staff at Ask the Cat Doctor and all submitters.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to express my feelings on the topics discussed . I am not at all sorry, for the healthy and heated debate it has caused... If any feelings were hurt, that I do regret. Believe me it was not intentional...

I for one, have come away from this debate much more informed about so much.. In the topic I started, declawing, I still feel 100% justified in my beliefs, if not even stronger. What my intentions were have been met: To have people stop, think twice and first of all, put our furkids welfare a priority.

Once again Thank You and Goodnight..

Sep 28, 2011 final comment
by: Jujukitty

I'd love to see evidence that declaw bans are "not entirely enforced" in other countries, given that a vet could lose their license for performing one. I don't know anyone in the UK who has a declawed cat, knows anyone with a declawed cat, or who isn't shocked that the practice is legal here. Their mindset appears to be completely different from ours in this regard. Yes, their cats are more likely to be indoor/outdoor. So? They are still capable of scratching furniture/carpet/people if they're in the house at all.

I simply have yet to see enough good reasons to support declawing that would justify doing it, and plenty of IMO poor excuses.

Sep 28, 2011 Declaw my cats?! HELL NO!!
by: Mary Beth Schaefer

How can anybody agree with declawing of cats? Let me put it this way, how would YOU like the first digit of EACH of YOUR fingers cut off?!! I'd think NOT!! Then why in the world would anybody put a poor cat through such a thing?!

Get a scratching post for them to scratch on which is actually cats stretching. If they don't use it it's because they don't know to. You have to teach them which isn't hard at all to do. Put some catnip on it to attract them to it.

I've had cats all of my life and I'm 47 years old, including having 38 cats when I was just 5 years old and I'll always have cats but I will NEVER EVER declaw ANY of them for ANY reason!! NEVER!! It's cruel and very painful for the cat! So before you do a cat any harm, ask yourself if you'd do it to yourself first then decide.

Sep 28, 2011 Declawing - NO!!!!
by: Anonymous

Here is what really happens:

Sep 28, 2011 final comment
by: Lily

For every horror story someone comes up with, there is another happy ending story to contradict it.

Dawn, How do you know your friend's cat is traumatized by the declaw? Maybe he just doesn't like his nails clipped. Maybe he doesn't like being held tightly. There could be so many reasons why he doesn't like his nails done. I have a clawed cat who hates his feet being touched for any reason at all. He fights and spits and howls thru the whole trim procedure. Since he isn't declawed, there has to be another reason -- but it's not an obvious one. There is just no way to judge why a cat reacts the way it does to various things. And it just goes to show that it is personal perspective that fuels peoples? opinions, not scientific data.

The fact is, there are NO conclusive studies showing that declaws affect a cat's behavior. Many studies take statistics out of context (as described in the link I provided before). There have been no studies with long term follow up or adequate control groups.

"There is simply not enough scientific data available to suggest elected officials are in a better position than trained, licensed veterinarians to decide on the efficacy of this procedure. Until more scientific information is available, it is important to separate personal beliefs about declawing from what is objectively known about its medical and behavioral effects and benefits."

My point being is that people or vets who choose to declaw should not be criminalized because of their decision unless and until more accurate and conclusive data can be obtained. People should be able to choose what needs to be done for their own situation without risk of attack.

JuJu, in the countries where declaw is banned, it is not entirely enforced. AND in those countries cats are more likely to be completely outdoor cats or indoor/outdoor cats whereas in the U.S. there is a greater population of indoor cats only.

Sep 28, 2011 Just to add...
by: Jujukitty

...I have seen no valid arguments against spay/neuter, other than one article which suggests that female Rottweilers live longer without their ovaries removed (though the researcher who did this study says it should not be used as a reason for people to stop spaying their dogs). The other supposedly "valid" reasons are found on sites who promote dog breeding/hunting/showing. What part of "declaw does not medically benefit the cat while spay/neuter does" is hard to understand? It's not a simple issue of both surgeries being elective. I also want to repeat that in countries where declaw is illegal, people have learned to accept that. They are NOT turning in cats in droves to shelters because they can't declaw. Why assume Americans wouldn't learn to accept it as well?

Sep 28, 2011 My Beliefs
by: Dawn Vickers

It is my own personal belief that de-clawing a cat is the wrong thing to do. Nobody can change my mind of that fact, and I refuse to get drawn into the argument going on here.

However, having said that, I'll move on. I have two cats, both from a local rescue shelter here in Vancouver, BC. Unfortunately I'm not sure whether Canada bans de-clawing (I'm new(ish) to the country), but when we rescued our two babies, the shelter asked us both times to sign a statement to say that we wouldn't declaw them, and we also added our names to a petition against de-clawing, something that we were quite happy to do.

On the other hand, my best friend has a cat, that he rescued from a Shelter out East in Toronto. This big fluffy Maine Coon, with huge man hands (as we call them) who HAS been de-clawed. He was de-clawed well before my friend got him, but I can only imagine the pain he went through, because he wasn't even a year old when my friend adopted him. He is an indoor Cat, and he's now 10 years old, so he has learned to adapt to life without his front claws. He was one of the lucky ones though. His front paws aren't deformed, and the job was done 'properly'.

However, he will NOT allow anyone to touch his back paws. When he has those claws trimmed, it takes two people - one to wrap him in the towel and hold him, while the other trims them. He cries and yowls throughout. My friend says he believes that this is a result of being de-clawed when he was younger. Having seen the performance that they go through when they trim his back claws, I'm in complete agreement. De-clawing CAN and DOES have psychological effects, I've seen them.

Sep 28, 2011 NO to declawing
by: Linda

I'm totally against it!! Even when my Mika never ever goes outside I wouldn't even consider of having that done to him!! It IS cruel to declaw a cat! I do have leather furniture and there's quite a bit of "damage" due to Mika, but I knew I had a cat when I bought them and I'd rather have all those scratches on the furniture than one little scar on my baby!! (not that I don't have scratching posts, the house is full of them, and I do NOT allow him to use the furniture as scratching posts when I'm around, but, well... he IS a cat of course...)

Sep 28, 2011 contradictory information
by: Lily

People who are all for banning declaw surgery and who advocate adamantly against its use and who claim that my information and comments are completely ludicrous and not researched, please read the attached information in the link.

This is an interesting report written by an objective group regarding the declaw ban in California. It states facts, statistics from studies and general information and debunks pretty much all of the generalizations those of you who are opposed to declaw have stated here in these comments.

And while they are not pro-declaw which they clearly state (the opposite is true, they are opposed to declaw), their information does in fact coincide with everything I have said regarding relinquishment, pain, behavior, why declawing could be considered necessary, etc.

This is a heated topic for sure, but again, to vilify those who choose to declaw does no one any good, least of all the cat.

"As explained throughout this report there is strong evidence that there is a greater cruelty than declawing, and that is the cruelty of relinquishment, abandonment, and the untimely
euthanasia these animals experience when their owners are given no recourse for salvaging a strained human/pet bond after all other remedies have failed."

And just to be clear, the only reason I brought up spay and neuter as optional surgeries is because basically.... they are, optional that is. It is a human's decision to neuter in order to keep a cat from being territorial and spraying in the home and to keep a dog from showing aggression because he is intact. Once again, I am all for spay and neuter and strongly advocate its use. However, others are not for it and their arguments are valid. It is a surgery that humans decide is necessary and it is usually because a cat or dog is displaying unwanted behavior (where males are concerned especially). But since that surgery has an all around good effect (population control), it is an acceptable practice no matter what reason the person chooses to have it done.

Sep 28, 2011 Typo & CA Cities that have banned de-clawing.
by: Susan

First, I noticed a typo in my first post. The sentence should read, "One of the more brave shelter directors has stated he kills 80% of the declawed cats that are relinquished to his shelter because of their issues which make them unadoptable." The percent is 80, not 8.

Second, de-clawing has been illegal (6 months in jail & $1,000 fine) in 7 California cities for the past 2 years (Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Culver City, and Burbank)and in West Hollywood since 2003. None of the shelters in these cities are saying that they are getting more cats relinquished to them because they cannot be de-clawed.

Sep 28, 2011 Just say no to declawing
by: Jujukitty

First of all, I'd like to say that comparing spay/neuter to declawing is ludicrous. The main reason people spay and neuter is to prevent unwanted offspring, not so the pet "fits into their lifestyle." Also, spay/neuter carries health benefits for the animal. Spaying before the first heat cycle drastically reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Spaying eliminates the risk of pyometra (serious uterine infection)and uterine cancer. Neutering reduces the risk of prostate problems and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. I've seen an intact male dog PTS because of a huge testicular tumor.
Declawing carries no health benefit for the cat whatsoever. It's done 99% of the time to protect the owner's inanimate objects. Given that there are other (cheaper and more humane) options such as training and claw covers like Soft Paws, I honestly don't understand why people still declaw. A list has already been posted of the countries where declawing is banned. If these countries were having a huge glut of cats turned in to shelters because people can't declaw, I'm sure I would have heard about it somewhere, as I crosspost shelter cats on Facebook. On the contrary, I see people from the UK who are horrified at how many cats we kill here in the U.S.
I've worked as a vet assistant for 9 years, and have seen many declaws. I've seen the cats afterward, as they try to shake their bandages off to get to their painful feet. I've seen the bloody cages where they have been able to get the bandages off. I've seen claws re-grow inside the cat's pad, infected feet, cats who bite after being declawed, and other complications. At my last clinic spayed cats went home the same day with 3 days pain medication, while declaws stayed overnight and got 7 days pain meds. Is someone's furniture really worth this? How about training your cat where to scratch, using claw covers, and not buying expensive furniture? It seems simple to me. For the record, I also oppose ear cropping, debarking, and tail docking.

Sep 28, 2011 New York Animal Rights Alliance America
by: Kay Riviello

Regarding declawing, first I would like to thank the website moderator to have this discussion.

From a medical prospective, amputating a body part for any reason causes a phenomenon called phantom pain and sensation, which is the sequelae for life. As has been established, declawing a cat is not simply cutting off their nails, it is amputating digits. A cat will never be able to ambulate normally without the entire limb intact.

Furthermore even at rest, just as in a human with amputation, there is phantom sensation and pain. One need only interview an individual who has lost a finger or foot to inquire as to the pain and sensation caused by the unnatural termination of the nerve endings in that limb.

What is distinct to the cat is that the cat uses those claws to stretch the muscles not only of that limb but of the rest of their body and the cat is forever robbed of stretching their muscles to loosen and rid their bodies of lactic acid (which as a result of stretching is released through the blood and oxygen).

The psychological detriment to the cat from declawing is also devastating. I have been able to observe cats in colonies not only feral but in my own home and their interactions with each other. Whether the animal is actually missing a limb or is declawed, that cat is physically compromised and that cat including all other cats are aware of this deformity (which declawing is then classified) and that cat is then ostrasized in some manner or form. I have seen cats that have become extremely aggressive from their deformities because it is their belief that they must become so to defend themselves and be permitted to eat and drink from the common area. I have seen colonies of cats not allow a cat to eat, drink or use a litter box to the point that the cat becomes physically compromised if not separated from that colony.

Currently I actually own a declawed cat that is so traumatized I cannot even place a kitten in the bedroom with her for company - she cannot tolerate any other cats or any other humans near her. It has taken me years to be even able to pick her up. She was owned by a family that declawed her and then disposed of her when her mental status changed as a result of the procedure.

We simply must continue to educate people who refuse to accept that a cat is mentally and physically compromised due to declawing. We must also pressure the American Veterinarian Association to outlaw this procedure as Europe has already done deeming it mutilation. I personally abhor any veterinarian who would perform this procedure because it is exemplary of their character and their practices in general. As a rescuer, I also find that declawed cats that enter the pound system will be the first to be killed due to their extreme fear and tendency to bite because that is the only method of defense.

Sep 28, 2011 Here is some of the documented evidence that de-clawing is harmful & doesn't keep cats in homes
by: Susan

This is just a small fraction of the evidence....

"In a study published in the January, 2001 JAVMA, 33% of 39 (1 in 3) cats that underwent onychectomy developed "at least" one behavior problem immediately after surgery, with the most common problems being litter box problems and biting.

"Among 218 cats relinquished to a shelter, more (52.4%) declawed cats than non-declawed cats (29.1%) were reported by owners to have inappropriate elimination problems." Source: World Small Animal Veterinary Association ? 2001

"Declawed cats are more likely to be relinquished than normal cats...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." Declawing and Science Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM

Published 2/1/03 on, "80% of the declawed cats that are surrendered that are declawed are euthanized because they have a behavioral problem?. Declawed cats frequently become biters and also stop using litter boxes? One or the other?,? said William Lombardi shelter director, Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Seventy percent (70%) of cats turned in to pounds and shelters for behavioral problems are declawed. (National Survey from pounds & shelters obtained by Caddo Parrish Forgotten Felines & Friends)

From the Summer 2002 issue of PETA?s Animal Times: ?A survey by a Delaware animal shelter showed that more than 75% of the cats turned in for avoiding their litter boxes had been declawed.?

"Considering all factors in aggregate, statistically, a declawed cat is more likely to be killed in the pound, because it was declawed." Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM, The Paw Project,

From an Ontario animal shelter: "Over the past two years, 75% of the declawed cats that were surrendered to us had behavioural problems. In that same time frame, only 4% of clawed cats were surrendered to us for the same behavioural reasons. I think those statistics speak for themselves. Studies show that declawing is a very painful procedure that can lead to long term issues .... both physical and emotional." From the Cats Anonymous Rescue & Adoption, spring 2010 Newsletter. They are a no kill shelter in Orton, Ontario that rehomes about 100 cats every year.

"I have seen firsthand the problems associated with declawing. It was not unusual for the shelter to receive surrendered cats who began exhibiting aggressive behaviour and refused to eliminate in the litter box after being declawed. Sadly, these cats were typically considered unadoptable and euthanized." Janet Winikoff, former manager of the Animal Welfare League?s adoption program in Alexandria, Virginia.
Suite101: Studies Indicate Declawing Cats May Cause Behaviour Problems

Sep 28, 2011 To those who believe declawing keeps cats in homes
by: Susan

Please do the research, it is clear by the comments on this page that "Anonymous" and Lily have not researched this topic. Talk to shelter workers who see the aftermath of de-clawing. One of the more brave shelter directors has stated he kills 8-% of the declawed cats that are relinquished to his shelter because of their issues which make them unadoptable. If you truly believe that there are no physical or physiological consequences to removing the weight bearing bones in a cat's finger that they use to walk and balance on everyday, use for dexterity, use for exercise & stress reducing scratching, then you really need to take some time to study what felines all all about. The vet journals themselves state that 1 in 3 cats develop litterbox issues or aggression after surgery, but the AVMA doesn't believe those stats are great enough to report to the public, if they did they would have to admit that declawing is harmful & their billion dollar amputation business could fold. If you look at the surveys of why cats are relinquished from the home, litterbox and aggression are the leading ones, not scratching. The point is, there are way too many products on the market today (nail trimmers, Soft Paws, sticky tape for furniture, scratch pads & posts) to ever justify mutilating an animal. It comes down to how much commitment you are willing to give your animal. If you chose to mutilate & inflict a life of phantom & joint pain on the cat instead of taking the time to humanely trim the nails, you are not committed to having a cat to begin with in my book.

Sep 28, 2011 perspective - again
by: Lily

Whether it's declaw, spay/neuter, cropping of ears, etc, opinions and viewpoints are a matter of perspective. I think it is extremely unfair and inaccurate for people like yourself (from your previous comments) and Ethel (from her article equating a declaw with a torture device used in wars)to imply that people who choose to declaw their cats to make them more acceptable indoor household members are cruel and barbaric.

When I brought up spay and neuter, I did not quite make my point, I digressed. My point being that ANY unnecessary surgery could be considered cruel, barbaric, and self-serving to the human. Again, I agree with you about the need for spay and neuter, couldn't agree more. However, that is a human perspective. In reality it is the removal of a body part because the human thinks it's best (whether for behavioral issues or to keep unwanted litters out of the pound).

You have to admit yourself that when a male cat sprays, the first advice is to get it neutered. When a male dog shows aggression, the first advice is to get it neutered. Why? To make them fit better into the human's household! While the side effect of population control is great, that isn't the reason for having the surgery done. There are groups of people who view neutering as an unnecessary mutilation & advocate against it. Those of us who believe it is necessary do so with a clean conscience. It's all a matter of perspective.

Whether you want to believe it or not, people who declaw are usually committed to their cats because they are helping them to fit into the household at great cost when they could simply relinquish it to a shelter. I expect that if declawing is banned (and enforced) in the US, shelters will be even more overwhelmed with cats than they are now. A primary reason for relinquishment is destructive behavior.

I don't back down from my stance that if it ensures a cat a home for life and in that life he is well cared for, loved and spoiled rotten, then a declaw is an acceptable alternative. More importantly, it does not mean that the person doesn't love their cat or care about animals. They are giving that cat a secure home and that is a good thing no matter how you look at it.

It would appear that you, Ethel, & myself are all passionate about animal welfare. That's a great thing. I believe we each have valid viewpoints given our perspective. HOWEVER, vilifying a person who is doing everything possible to keep their cat rather than relinquish it to a shelter does no one any good.

by: Melanie Neer

I wasn't being insulting in my opinion with my remarks...just honest and I said idiotic statement in response to something you said, I did NOT call you an idiot--

I'm a very outspoken person and speak my mind. I'm a die-hard animal activist in general, not just for cats and if you know activists, we are very emotional, passionate people when it comes to hearing of horrendous abuses animals endure. I'm one of those people actively involved in banning the use of gas chambers in high kill shelters, I sign hundreds of petitions for various animal issues, write politicians, etc.

I both love cats and dogs, however, I'm a major cross-poster for urgent cats needing to be saved/rescued from high kill shelters, so yes, my main focus is on cats as far as rescue, and yes, I'm involved with rescue, have also had some vet experience, and have had cats for 50 years (ten more years than you).

I am against any "alterations" of dogs to make them "look" better. Such alterations of dogs for appearance sake has actually been going on for a long time...There is a very interesting exposé of pedigree dogs in an almost hour long video at Youtube...bottom line, many dogs nowadays don't even resemble how they originally were which has caused numerous severe health problems.

The video is here

One controversy many of us animal activist are trying to do is to ban and make illegal landlords from asking new tenants before moving in who have pets where they ask the new tenant(s) to declaw their cats or debark their dogs--I don't think people should be forced to do either procedure upon moving to a new place. If it were me, I'd be looking for another place to live.

Sep 28, 2011 Being
by: Ethel

To the Staff at Ask The Cat Doctor, Melanie and Lily...
I really regret that my article has caused such a commotion . I believe ,we are ALL very passionate about our opinions and perhaps come across as harsh worded . But I truly think that this article ,which I hope has been read by many ,has given us food for thought .The MOST important point is ,not our opinions but the fact that different views on subjects such as declawing and neutering and spaying are talked about and making people aware of both sides of the picture ,so to speak ...
I wholehearted believe that no words were meant to be insulting or harsh and that "OUR" love for God's creatures has just fired up our passionate points of view ...It brings me such Joy to see that ,first and foremost ,even though we may differ in opinions ,it's the Kitties we are most concerned about ! I guess it comes down to this .We as human beings will always differ in our thoughts and opinions , But as long as our fur kids are Loved and taken care of ,we have achieved what we were meant to do ,no matter which way we do it ..Either way,we have to feel we are deciding what we feel is best for them.I am truly sorry for any hard feelings caused by this article .

We truly appreciate your opinion and the article you have submitted! Please do not feel like, because your opinion has created a healthy debate, you should not have expressed yourself. Our reminder was simply to encourage all of you to express your opinions without hurting each others' feelings as best as you could.

Thank you again for your submission!
Ask The Cat Doctor staff

Sep 27, 2011 Please Respect Each Other!
by: Ask The Cat Doctor Staff

We just wanted to remind everyone to please be respectful of one another. Everyone's views and opinions are welcome and respected here, and while we encourage healthy debate, we ask that you do so without using insulting or inflammatory comments and name-calling. We want this to be a safe place for people everywhere to have their opinions heard!

Staff at Ask The Cat Doctor

Sep 27, 2011 another perspective
by: Lily

Thank you Ethel for your considerate response. You're right, differing opinions make the world go round. And unless there is abuse and neglect, I don't think it's my place to tell someone they should or should not do something with their pet such as declaw. Everyone needs to make their own choice. Scientific studies have been done regarding the well being of cats who have been declawed and whether or not it has been "traumatic" on their lives. Those statistics directly disagree with what many hardcore animal activists will state. In addition, the description of the surgery also is not as horrendous as animal activists make it out to be. And I reiiterate, if it ensures the cat has a home for life rather than living on the street or being put down, then I say go for the declaw.

Melanie, thanks for the insults. I thought the comments section of these articles were so that people could offer up differing opinions and start a civil discussion on different topics. I didn't realize it was a forum for people like you to insult others when they disagree with your viewpoint. I am not idiotic and my opinions (which are valid) are based on working for many,many years in a vet hospital and for rescues, not to mention researching scientific findings, and owning cats myself (for 40 years).

And contrary to your statement regarding spay and neuter -- while it IS the responsible thing to do with regard to unwanted litters (couldn't agree more with you on that), the PRIMARY reason an everyday citizen gets their animal spayed or neutered (especially getting the males neutered) is because they do not want the hassle of a cat or dog in heat and the constant vigilance that requires to keep them from getting pregnant or they want the male dog or cat to stop being aggressive (which can be done via other training methods) or to stop spraying in their home or marking their territory. While working with rescues and at a vet hospital I found that most people (not rescue people or vet people) couldn't care less if their animals could breed or not. They simply wanted an easy life and a cat who did not spray, hence the spay or neuter.

And as I mentioned in my other comment, I wonder if you have any problems at all with yorkies' or cocker spaniels' or airedales' tails being cut off or portions of dobermans' or shepherds' or pitbulls' ears being cut off simply so they will "look" better to their human owners. Tails are cut off while they are puppies and it is 99% of the time NOT done under anesthetic and is most often done by layman (breeders) and not vets. While some could argue this barbaric practice is necessary, it's purely for looks not necessity.

I agree that certain procedures need to be banned, and I'm glad that you have a passion for cats, truly, I think that's great. Wish more people did. I just believe that there are worse things that can happen to them and other animals and I choose to be passionate about those things.

Sep 26, 2011 @Lily And Anyone Else who Thinks Declawing ISN'T Harmful
by: Melanie Neer

I'm one-hundred percent with the author of this article about declawing--I've done an in depth article over at Associated Content and which if you wish can view here. As you can imagine I'm anti-declawing.

You mention about spay/neuter being done since a cat owner doesn't want their male cat spraying or their female cat constantly going into heat. How ludicrous is that? The real purpose of getting cats "fixed" is to prevent unwanted litters. I'm a major crossposter for cats that are on urgents lists to be put to death at kill shelters--in ONE shelter alone every week, 100 cats can be "euthanized"...and why? Cause pet owners allow their cats to breed and thus unwanted and dumped into shelters

As for declawing issue--just read my article...I've had cats since I was five years NEVER entered my mind to declaw my cats...EVER--so big deal, I have some scratched up furniture

While a cat may be an indoor only cat, there IS the possibility of a cat escaping--without front claws a cat IS defenseless. You mention and I quote:

"Front claws play a minimum role in defense. They use mostly their back feet and their teeth. You can prove this very easily with your own cat, if you play with him for too long and he wants you to stop, he will curl around your hand, bite it, and kick with his back feet."

What an idiotic statement...a cat can only use it's back feet in defense primarily when lying down, NOT standing up...if a cat fights with another cat they usually strike with their front paws, not back.

With the exception of West Hollywood, CA, our country is one of the few countries that allows declawing...Here is a list of countries that have banned and made declawing illegal:

Northern Ireland
New Zealand

Bottom line: If these countries deem declawing a cruel and unnecessary practice, then ours should too...and I look toward the day it IS completely made illegal here in the USA

Sep 26, 2011 DeClawing - NO !!!
by: Ethel

Lily ,
I read your previous 2 entries and honestly will not go into a debate with you .. We are different individuals with different opinions. That is what makes the world go round .... I could go back on almost every sentence you wrote with my rebuttal but as I said -we both feel entirely different .... I sense a whole lot of hostility in your words and that is what bothers me . We are all responsible for our own decisions . You do what you consider right and I do what I consider right ...bottom line .. We do not have to agree on anything ... which by now you know implies I do not agree on what you believe but that's your right and my right to disagree . Just please don't assume for a minute "what" you think my thoughts are on the subjects mentioned , because you are way off base ....You do not know me so you cannot judge me or my thoughts ....

Sep 26, 2011 another comment - pro declaw
by: Lily

I meant to add my name to my previous comment, but for some reason it didn't "stick," and it came up with anonymous instead.

I wanted to also point out, that while I am also PRO-spay and neuter because the world is full of unwanted cats and dogs, this too could be considered mutilation and unnecessary. It is major surgery that you are having done to the animal because YOU think it is best for the animal or, as is more often the case, to help it fit into your household.

A relevant issue, because you claim to be a cat lover, yet if you do not want a male cat spraying to mark his territory in your house or have him yowling to get outside when it smells a female in heat, or you are unhappy with other behavioral issues (which might could be resolved via other methods), you neuter it.

People do not want their female cats going into heat because it is bothersome and requires intense vigilance, so they spay it.

With the exception of trap/neuter or spay/release for feral colonies, neutering and spaying animals is primarily done because of the requirements of our LIFESTYLE, not because it benefits the animals. Any type of argument made regarding how neutering or spaying keeps an animal from getting testicular cancer or uterine cancer is not validated because it is constantly debated amongst experts.

The possible side effects, post surgical trauma, and risks during actual surgery are certainly much greater in spay and neuter surgery than a declaw. Yet I'm sure you don't hesitate to both spay and neuter your cats.

So I suppose that this type of invasive and "traumatic" surgery is okay because that somehow fits into your lifestyle choices while declawing does not.

Sep 26, 2011 Pro Declaw
by: Anonymous

When cats are made to live with us in our homes this is a somewhat unnatural environment for them. Making your cat an acceptable member of the family is a valid need. Declawing (when properly done) is not cruel, there is no pain, and the cat is properly taken care of.

It is far less traumatic for the cat than articles like yours imply. The cats do not require their claws to walk properly or really to do anything other than hunt. And when it comes to fighting or defending itself, declawed cats are not defenseless. Front claws play a minimum role in defense. They use mostly their back feet and their teeth. You can prove this very easily with your own cat, if you play with him for too long and he wants you to stop, he will curl around your hand, bite it, and kick with his back feet. As well, they can still climb trees (to escape) without front claws.

Another misconception is that most cats surrendered to shelters are declawed. The opposite is true, declawed cats are more likely to keep their homes.

I have never had nor heard of a cat who was psychologically traumatized by not having his claws. In fact, the declawed cats I have come into contact with have always been fat, happy, indoor cats who are spoiled rotten and who generally love life. No behavioral issues, no psych issues, no physical issues, nothing to indicate that they were "destroyed" by having their claws removed. Obviously, you shouldn't declaw an outdoor cat, BUT you should keep your cat indoors anyway, right? Let's talk about the inhumanity of letting your cats outside!

If a cat can live indoors, be loved, be fed, and have a home for life, I have no issue with it being declawed. If the alternative is to leave it wallowing in a shelter to die or to be forced to live outside (which is unhealthy and dangerous for a cat) or be in an indoor/outdoor cat (which is disgraceful if you love the cat), then I would opt to declaw every time.

In addition, the same people who are so anti-declaw surgery for cats are probably the same people who think dogs with no tails or cropped ears look "cute" and have no issues with the fact that, for purely aesthetic reasons, people routinely cut off the tails and ears of dogs. You endorse this "brutality" for dogs every time you purchase or adopt a pitbull with cropped ears or a doberman with cropped ears and a docked tail or any number of dogs that this happens to.

And again, I would rather see a cat humanely declawed and live its life out in a home with people who care about it, where it has no worries other than where is the catnip mouse, has routine vet visits, and is generally taken care of, than to see it kept in a cage, euthanized at a shelter, thrown outside or any other terrible things that could and do happen.

Sep 13, 2011 Ooops Forgot Landlord
by: Melanie C

That horrible thing of Landlords saying you have a choice declaw or evict..... that is horrid sitting there deciding to do this awfull thing or having to give up your pet all together. Landlords should not be allowed to request this to be done.

Sep 12, 2011 Declawing -NO !!!!
by: Ethel Isaacs

Thank You Melanie and Anonymous for your comments ... I'm sure many do not think of the pain and multilation they are causing their pets ... We need to get that message out there!!
Only wish people would take the time to stop and think about it ...... Perhaps, my essay and your comments will open the eyes and hearts of some, that is what I'm wishing for .. No matter, how few or how many, furbabies we can save from that horrible cruel practice will be worth it! Please spread the word .... Thank You!

Sep 12, 2011 I Agree with you
by: Melanie Neer

Wonderful essay. I wrote an article years ago about the cruel practice of declawing. Most people don't even understand what it really means to declaw

Sep 11, 2011 DECLAWING - NO !!!!
by: Anonymous

To compare declawing to pulling out fingernails is a misrepresentation, & a massive understatement. It is much more akin to having half your finger(s) amputated; it is not a simple as removing a nail (or claw). It should be outlawed.

If you have a problem with cats having claws, don't be so selfish as to get a cat & inflict mutilation on it.