Companion Animal CareIf You're for De-Clawing Cats, Raise Your Hand
A Companion Animal Care Article from All-Creatures.org

This Companion Animal Care article is being presented to help people seeking reliable resources, tips, and information for companion animals.

[See article in Spanish from Animalia Latina Blog]

By Dr. Michael W. Fox

declaw de-claw cats

There is a national movement to ban the declawing of cats. This amputation surgery is a violation of state and federal anti-cruelty laws because it is an unwarranted and therefore unethical surgical procedure that is no benefit to the cat. Cats are often permanently crippled by this mutilation, which entails surgical removal of their first digit or finger bone since the claws are not like the nails in humans that grow out of a base under the skin but instead are connected to the first joint in the bones of their paws which is severed.

A detailed look at the anatomy of a declaw surgery is illustrated below:

de-clawing cats
click to enlarge

Declawing can leading to chronic pain, lameness, arthritis, stress-associated diabetes, depression, increased fear-biting and house-soiling because of litter-box aversion associated with tender, frequently inflamed and infected paws.

Visit www.PawProject.org for more details. I had the opportunity in October 2013 to see The Paw Project documentary film in Minneapolis, presented by Dr. Ron Gaskin DVM who has performed effective ‘salvage’ surgery on crippled declawed cats.

For a list of veterinary hospitals refusing to declaw cats visit Declaw.com.

Several major cities in California have passed ordinances prohibiting this surgery on animal welfare grounds in spite of opposition by the California Veterinary Medical Association. Mainly because this is a big money maker for veterinarians, even though there are humane alternatives as detailed in The Paw Project documentary, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association continue to endorse declawing, a practice that is abhorred by veterinarians in the U.K. and many European and other countries.


Dr. Michael W. Fox is a well-known veterinarian, former vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, former vice president of Humane Society International and the author of more than 40 adult and children’s books on animal care, animal behavior and bioethics. He is also a graduate veterinarian from the Royal Veterinary College, London, whose research lead to a PhD (Medicine) and a DSc (ethology/animal behavior) from the University of London, England.


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