Photo and comments on the photo are from facebook from a cat owner who had their cat declawed at Houston Humane Society.
Let me first say that I’m grateful for all the work that the Houston Humane Society does for animals in Houston.
Their mission statement says, “HHS is dedicated to, and working towards, ending cruelty, abuse and the overpopulation of animals.”
They don’t counsel people about what declawing is, they don’t tell cat owners that it is amputation surgery, or about the HUMANE alternatives.
They are deceiving cat owners to think that it is humane and ok for a cat.
Here is the link to their declaw service under the SPAY/NEUTER SECTION and they say it must be done with spay/neutering. Houston Humane Declaw $120
Screenshot from HHS website in August 2016
Updated screenshot from HHS website Sept 29,1016 with a disclaimer on it.
HHS increased their price of a declaw to $145. Screenshot from Feb. 2018
A few weeks ago many supporters sent me a heads up about a guy who was asking his friends on his facebook page this, “Anyone know of a cheap place to declaw cats? If these animals ruin my furniture, I will be asking about the price of euthanizing them. So this is a preventative measure for their sake.”
(I know, can you imagine trying to find a doctor who does cheap surgeries for your kids. Scary idea to say the least) So I read all the comments that this person was getting from the comment he made and this was one of them. I was shocked that a Humane Society did this.
(Just fyi people on facebook don’t seem to realize that every time they do a post, anyone in the world can see it unless your privacy settings are completely private. Just try it. Go to facebook and at search bar at the top, type in declaw or declawed. Click on “Latest.” About every 5 min you will see a post from someone, usually in America, who is saying they are going to declaw their cat or someone who is getting rid of their declawed kitty. It’s both disheartening and sickening to see how often this is going on in America and most people don’t even post about it. Multiply this by 100)
So I respectfully reached out to this person who wanted to get this cheap declaw and sure enough, it was about the Houston Humane Society.
This is what his wife wrote me back in an email to me,
“First of all, we have never been told that declawing was “amputation surgery” as you call it. Our vet, along with several others that we have called to get information, informed us that this surgery was a simple out patient procedure and that our kitties would be just fine. And yes, the Humane Society of Houston does allow declawing of the front claws for $120. And, as _ _ _ _ mentioned, that makes it seem humane. However, thanks to you, and all the random people who have been bombarding us all day, we have learned that our vets (and the 8 others we called), and the Humane Society are wrong. For that I thank you. Sincerely. We would have never known otherwise.”
I reached out to this Houston Humane Society privately on June 4 in phone calls AND emails to their public relations person, Monica Schmidt, and also the executive director Sherry Ferguson. I never received a reply. Mschmidt@houstonhumane.org , firstname.lastname@example.org
I did speak with a manager there and asked him about these facts.
Houston Humane Society declaw cats and doesn’t inform cat owners that it is inhumane or bad for the cats, you don’t counsel them on the humane alternatives, and you don’t tell them that it is amputation surgery. People are saying that if it is bad then why would the Houston Humane society do it and he said, “Basically the way we do it, it is cost effective. We have a low cost clinic here so we just can’t afford to have the more advanced methods doing it.”
Then I told him that I was confused about his answer. He said, “you are talking the laser correct?”
I said no, and explained in detail that the Houston Humane Society is perpetuating the myth that declawing is ok. Why would a humane society declaw cats.
He said, “We are an independent humane society and not affiliated with any other humane society. Basically, we don’t like to declaw cats and we don’t declaw every cat that is adopted at our facility it’s more if someone requests it and it’s an extra $120 if they request it. The way we see it, it’s better for a cat to be declawed and have a home than be here.”
I asked why they don’t inform the people about how bad declawing is and inform them.
He said, “It’s a fairly common practice so I don’t know why we wouldn’t do it. Basically if the person requests it then that’s what we will do for them if it is within the age range.”
He said, “I don’t work in the clinic so it’s not something I’m an expert at. They are very well informed about declawing and our head doctor has been with us for over 40 years. He’s a very good doctor. My opinion is that if he thinks it’s ok, then I think it’s ok.”
I asked if I could speak with him and he said, “His name is Dr Harkness and he doesn’t really talk to anybody.”
(UPDATE- AUG 4 DR HARKNESS RETIRED) Let’s hope they hire a veterinarian who can inspire the board members and Executive Director, Sherry Ferguson, to do the right thing and educate cat owners about declawing and the humane alternatives.)
I told him that I would like to reach out to his boss and try to ask these questions and inform them that declawing is inhumane. He repeated, ” Again, I don’t agree with that and if it gets cats out of here I think that’s better than being here.”
Here is the list of their staff so maybe you can get an answer to some of these important questions. #TakeTheHighRoad Houston Humane Society List of Staff Emails
Here is their facebook page Houston Humane Society Facebook Page
I also had my Feline Research Team call the Houston Humane Society in 2016 and ask them if there is any age limit that they declaw the cats. The findings were varied.
One employee, an assistant manager said, “We don’t like to do it but it is better for the cat to have a home.”
One employee said the age limit is “6 months- 4 yrs.” The employee was asked if there are any risks or negative consequences and the employee said, “no.” When they were asked if they use laser and they said, “no, they just clip it off.”
Another employee who is an assistant manager was asked about the age limit and he said, “6 months- 4yrs.” He was asked if the cat would be ok after being declawed and he said, “Yea they do it all the time, and they will be ok. Obviously there is a risk of surgery and I personally don’t recommend declawing cats but it’s pretty frequent thing they do here and most likely they will be ok.”
Another said that you shouldn’t declaw if your kitty is going to be an outside cat but otherwise it’s not inhumane if they are going to be inside cats and said there are no negative consequences to declawing.
2015 salaries for the Houston Humane Society Executive Director Sherry Ferguson — $152,109 plus $15,488 and the veterinarian who is in charge, Dr Timothy Harkness — $119,499 plus $8,593.(He has since retired)
Since the rate that they charged for declawing used to be $60 a couple years ago and now it’s $145, I wonder how much of their salaries are from the declawing of cats.
They even declaw kittens. VERY INFORMATIVE??? Why wouldn’t they just talk about the humane alternatives for this poor kitten?
Here is the Humane Society of the US information about declawing (HSUS is NOT connected to these independent humane societies in America) HSUS declawing info
Here is educational declawing information from the Winona Humane Society in Minnesota that maybe this HHS can use Educational Declawing Info.
Hopefully they will change their policy and not declaw cats at their clinic and when cats are adopted. If you can please politely educate and respectfully inspire them to join the rest of the Humane Society’s in the world that make people sign a form that says they won’t declaw any adopted cat and offer brochures and declawing information for people who come in to their adoption area.
Here is an example from the Oregon Humane Society and declawing info and other info they give to people who adopt their cats. Your New Cat- Oregon Humane Society
Please don’t threaten or be rude to anyone involved with this Houston Humane Society. We must do the right thing and take the high road and be respectful. It is wrong to threaten them in any way plus they will twist things around and play the victim. We know that the only victims are all the kitties that are being unnecessarily and cruelly declawed. We MUST continue to shine light on this cause and share all of these stories so that we show the truth about what is going on. We MUST continue to educate cat owners who are being deceived by their pro-declaw vets and who are NOT being told about how declawing is amputations and not good for the health and well being of their cats, how it is inhumane and very painful, and how there are humane alternatives that they can use instead of declawing.
The way that we make positive change is through peaceful and respectful actions and words. When you lash out and are threatening, it hurts our important cause and makes us all look bad, and in turn saves less kitties from this very cruel and inhumane procedure.
Also, sounds like they don’t want to hear from any of us or let the world know about this injustice since they just keep deleting every single comment on their social media pages that people post that are respectful and educational. Then they also block the people who write these inspiring comments.
It’s sad that these kind of people just don’t want to do the right thing when it comes to declawing cats at their humane society.
If you post a respectful and educational comment on their instagram or fb page then please get a screenshot of it and send it to me. Here are some of the many examples of what people are writing and then they are deleting.
As most of you know, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) , Long Island Medical Association (LIVMA), and other New York vet associations successfully stopped our Cat Protection Bill in that state. That bill would have banned the inhumane practice of declawing if it had passed.
The President of the NYSVMS, Dr Susan Wylegala, said our bill was “detrimental to animals” and fooled enough Senators that our bill was a threat to one of their coveted and common procedures, declawing.
After they stopped our declawing bill they said in boastful email to their 5000 members, “NYSVMS will always defend the licensed veterinarian’s right to make medical treatment decisions that are in the best interests of their patients.” NYSVMS smugly boasted their victory over the NY declawing bill
The President of the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Nicole Paccione-Gerbe, told her vet members that declawing was a “medical procedure” and asked all of her veterinarian members to call the NY legislators and even if they are against declawing, to go against their convictions and help stop our bill. She also used fear mongering to say, “If we fail to act, what other restrictions on the care of our patients will we face in the future?”
First of all, declawing is NOT a medical procedure. It is an elective, non-therapeutic mutilation procedure. And second, scaring her vets to be worried that other “medical procedures” will be taken away, and relating it to this bill that would have stopped this unnecessary cruelty and torture, is quite appalling.
Declawing has zero benefit to a cat, always harms it short term AND long term, and there are ALWAYS humane options to this inhumane procedure.
Speaking of humane options. Well these veterinary association leaders and vet associations say that they counsel clients about declawing and offer the humane alternatives…blah blah blah. They talk a great talk, but most don’t walk the talk.
I was informed about a comment the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association made on their facebook page. This person was trying to give LIVMA suggestions about the humane alternatives to declawing. Here is the post. (which they deleted a short time after they posted it)
Nice politically correct words by the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association. Also, here is a study that shows the the “number of declaws in the last decade” has NOT dropped as they say. Medically Unnecessary Procedures Study
When first time cat owners call the veterinary practice where the President of the LIVMA works, and ask about info and prices about getting their cat declawed, they tell you that Dr Paccione-Gerbe uses the scalpel to amputate kitty toes and the charge is $380 for two paws.
There is no mention of soft paws or alternatives, just options for making appointments for the exam and the day she does those surgeries. When these cat owners asked if there are any negative consequences to declawing, the nice people at her practice reassure “kitty cat” owners that Dr Paccione has been out of vet school for 10 yrs and not to worry and say that she hasn’t had any issues with her declaws. They tell you your kitty gets to stay two nights at the hospital and they put bandages on their sore feet to protect them.
So I hired my independent feline research team to investigate this situation.
Both of these President’s practices are very accommodating to easily make an appointment to get your kittens or cats declawed. They have the prices for the declaw procedures readily available and are happy to make your declaw appointment.
I thought if it’s that easy to get your kitty declawed then surely they practice what they preach and it would be very easy and affordable to have someone at these two practices simply apply nail caps/soft paws.
The research team called these two President’s practices and asked if they offer soft paws/nail cap application services and how much they charge to put them on their cat’s nails.
The calls were all made within one week and the information that was collected is in chronological order. I wanted my researchers to keep the study going and call on different days until they got confirmation that a cat owner could come in and get Soft Paws put on their cat’s nails.
After all, it should be a service that is provided by EVERY veterinary practice in America. But the problem is that it isn’t a good money maker and is only a service that would benefit the cat so that it doesn’t get the inhumane alternative which is to have its toe bones and claws amputated.
I would say that I’m happy about this study since it shows that at the start, both practices said that it is not a service that they do or have available. This was very concerning since it seems like it would be much easier to have a vet tech apply these nail caps than to get a surgical team ready to do a declaw. After all, it should have been something that their employees offer people who call up and ask to get their cats declawed. Seems like this would be a humane alternative that would show that at least these two veterinary association “leaders” practice what they preach and “work hard to to give cat owners advice and choices.”
My researchers inspired these vet practices to at least have a Soft Paw application service available as a humane option and they now have their price information for clients that call them.
I know it’s wishful thinking, but maybe they will say to cat owners who call them and ask them to get their cat’s toes and claws amputated, “Have you tried using soft paws? We are happy to apply them to your cat’s nails and see if that works instead of the declaw.”
I also had my feline research team ask around to see what the no-declaw vets charge to apply the soft paws and most of them require clients to bring them in themselves and the rate to apply them is $10 for two paws.
Study 1. The President of the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association works at Bayport Village Animal Health Center.
Call 1- They don’t have nail caps or soft paws nor do they offer to put them on.
Call 2- They don’t have nail caps, there is no price in their computer for that, they would have to get back to the researcher, also, they do not have the glue that goes with the nail caps. They will trim your cat’s nails.
Call 3- Employee put researcher on hold and checked with the doctor. They said that they would charge for an office exam if you are a first time client since they would be trimming the nails to apply the soft paws on. You would have to buy your own Soft Paws and bring them in. The office visit is $57. After that if they needed to be applied again then they would just charge for the nail trim which is $15 and they wouldn’t charge to put them on. They said they stopped carrying the soft paws since they didn’t have much of a cause to carry them and they weren’t selling them.
This practice charges $1.50 per toe to apply a nail cap and Dr Paccione charges $38 per toe to amputate them. (Not laser declaw)
The President of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society owns her practice, Cheektowaga Veterinary Animal Hospital. Here is more info on how she addresses declawing at her practice. NYSVMS President and declawing
CAll 1- Employee “C”- “We don’t offer soft paws.” Researcher asked if they have an alternative and they said no. Researcher asked if they brought in their own nail caps would they apply them and they said no.
Call 2- Employee “K”- “We don’t have nail caps or soft paws available.” Researcher asked if they knew anybody else that would help them put them on and they said they don’t think there is anyone around that could help put them on. Researcher asked if they brought them in, would they apply them, they said if my cat has never been seen, they would have to see her vaccination records and have an exam for $47 and THEN discuss putting nail caps on because they don’t put nail caps on there.
Call 3- Employee “K2”- “We don’t have a set fee for that. We would have to see your cat and do an annual exam and make sure all the vaccinations are up to date.” Researcher asked how much the cost would be to apply the soft paws. (Employee put the researcher on a long hold and came back) “I will have to get back with you because it’s not something we have a set price for and I will have to get with the owner of the practice (Dr Susan Wylegala) and she’s with a client now.” Researcher said to the employee that it sounds like they don’t do them since they don’t have a set price and employee said, “no we don’t.”
Call 4- Employee said, “I’m not sure this is not something we do but I could put you on hold and check with the doctor.” (Researcher was put on a long hold) Unfortunately I will have to ask the doctor because it’s not something we typically do and she is not in.” Researcher asked if it is something they would do. Employee said , “I was told we had a vet tech that did it once upon a time but she is no longer works her so I’m not sure if any of the staff here know how to do it or can so I’d have to talk with the doctor to see if it something we could do for you and what the charges would be.”
Call 5 – Employee asked do you want 2 paws or all 4 paws. They said if it is a cat that they haven’t seen then they would have to do a $47 exam and to put Soft Paws on the front paws then it is $40. If you want them put on all four paws that would be $65. You would have to purchase your own Soft Paws and bring them in since they don’t carry them.
So the President of the NYSVMS’s practice charges $4 per toe to to apply a nail cap or $66 per toe to amputate them.
And last but not least. Most veterinarians that declaw cats say they do it as a last resort and counsel clients but this is far from the truth. Why don’t they have information on their websites about declawing so that clients will at least know the facts? It’s a simple thing that these “leaders” of the veterinary associations could do but they don’t.
Please don’t threaten any of these “doctors.” We must do the right thing and take the high road and be respectful. It is wrong to threaten them in any way plus they will twist things around and play the victim. We know that the only victims are all the kitties that are being unnecessarily and cruelly declawed. We MUST continue to shine light on this cause and share all of these stories so that we show the truth about what is going on. We MUST continue to educate cat owners who are being deceived by their pro-declaw vets and who are NOT being told about how declawing is amputations and not good for the health and well being of their cats, how it is inhumane and very painful, and how there are humane alternatives that they can use instead of declawing.
This study was published in JAVMA in January 2016 and it involves declawing, debarking, and ear cropping. You have to be a member to read it, so most of the general public never saw this important information. Medically Unnecessary Procedures Study
Most vets find ear cropping and debarking to be unethical and wrong. Yet many of these same vets are declawing cats.
Don’t you think it’s time for a wake up call for these vets to start putting the welfare of cats on the same level as dogs?
Some of the things that I found interesting in this study are as follows.
1) The percentage of cats that are declawed in America hasn’t changed even though there is more education and awareness.
2) When declawing is performed with spay/neuter the cats were more likely to have postoperative complications than were cats that underwent either procedure alone.
We all know that most vets that declaw cats like to combine these surgeries and pass that concept along to their clients. They like package deals. A recent example is the President of the NYSVMS whose employees tell cat owners who ask for declaw prices, “We like to combine the surgeries because it is one stress on the body, and he’s only getting anesthesia once.” Veterinary Leaders and how they address declawing
3) A high percentage of owners reported pain, complications, and behavioral changes in their cats. Yet the AVMA didn’t add any of this info to their declawing position and the NYSVMS didn’t present this info to the legislators in NY. They only presented their declawing propaganda that supported their desires to keep declawing legal so they could keep amputating kitty toes and claws in NY. Here you can read their appalling info. Look at number 6 and 8. NYSVMS Declawing Propaganda
AVMA comment in this video, (at the 4.50 min mark) AVMA Declawing Video “Some people believe that declawing your cat will lead to behavioral abnormalities such as inappropriate elimination or biting. However, currently available scientific evidence does not support this claim.”
The AVMA doesn’t want to upset the majority of their 88,000 vet members who declaw kitties so they hold on to these antiquated and outdated myths and completely ignore facts and new studies. Facts that they publish in their own JAVMA.
Please respectfully remind them to UPDATE this video and their declawing position statement. You can let the Senior Media Relations Director of the AVMA know. Be nice though, because he is the one who sent my mom’s personal email out to all the veterinary associations in America. MSanFilippo@avma.org If you didn’t read the story, here it is AVMA sent my mom’s email out and warned the vet associations in America about me
The AVMA needs to update their last point in their declawing position statement so they STOP deceiving the public about this mutilating procedure. AVMA position statement
4) Veterinarians and cat owner declaw cats even though it is very painful for the cats.
5) Both long term and short term complications and behavioral issues were confirmed in these studies.
6) There is clear evidence of pain and postoperative complications with declawing no matter how it is performed, with a guillotine nail clipper, laser, and scalpel.
Here is the part of the study that involves declawing.
Declawing (onychectomy) is an elective surgical procedure that involves removal of the claws through amputation of all or part of the distal phalanx. Several variations of the procedure have been described, including removal of the entire distal phalanx with a scalpel or surgical laser and removal of
all or most of the distal phalanx with a nail clipper.
Removal of the distal phalanx with a surgical laser appears to be the quickest procedure and is associated with lower levels of postoperative stress and pain than removal with a scalpel. However, it has also has been associated with a higher number of postoperative complications in the days following the procedure. Transection of the tendons of the deep flexor muscle (ie, tendonectomy) is sometimes performed as an alternative to onychectomy, as it prevents extension of the claws and results in fewer signs of pain. Both onychectomy and tendonectomy should be performed only by veterinarians with appropriate anesthesia and postoperative analgesia.
Declawing is usually performed to prevent scratching-related injuries to people and damage to property.
Recent surveys of veterinarians indicate that aggression and property destruction due to scratching are frequent behavior problems reported by cat owners. Scratching of people and other animals is undesirable because of the potential for injury and infection, particularly in people who are immuno-compromised.
In some cases, this scratching may be intentional and related to aggression, but in others it is unintentional during play and handling. There appears to be a relatively high prevalence of aggression in owned cats, with recent research suggesting 36% of cats display aggression toward their owners and almost 50% of cats display aggression toward either familiar or unfamiliar people.
However, although declawing will prevent scratching-related injuries, it is unlikely to resolve the problem of aggression in general owing to the potential for cats to bite as an alternative to scratching. More research is needed to identify means to prevent aggression-related behaviors by cats toward their owners.
Scratching items in the environment is a normal behavior that serves a number of functions for cats, including territorial marking and nail conditioning.
Farm cats have been reported to scratch between 1 and 6 times a day. Scratching behavior is driven almost entirely by the presence of conspecifics but is still present in cats housed singly in homes. Although it is a normal behavior, environmental scratching is generally deemed to be undesirable by owners because it can lead to property damage. While recent estimates of the prevalence of environmental scratching are unavailable, 2 older studies suggest that 15% to 25% of cats show inappropriate scratching of property, with one of these studies indicating that scratching might increase the risk of cat relinquishment.
Although declawing is 1 method of preventing scratching damage, there are alternative methods that do not involve surgery.
For example, owners can provide appropriate outlets for scratching and trim their cats’ nails regularly. Therefore, when this procedure is requested, every effort should be made to educate and assist owners of cats to pursue possible alternatives that could alleviate the need for surgery.
The National Council for Pet Population has estimated that approximately 14.4 million of the 59 million cats in the United States are declawed. Similarly, a recent study43 reported that 20% of cats admitted in the Raleigh, NC, area had undergone declawing or, more specifically, onychectomy.
Interestingly, the percentage of cats that are declawed has apparently not changed in the past decade despite the growing controversy surrounding the procedure.
In a survey conducted by Yeon et al, cats reportedly continued to make scratching movements following declawing, but 91% of owners surveyed had an overall positive attitude about the procedure, whether onychectomy or tendonectomy.
Various studies have demonstrated that onychectomy causes postoperative pain in cats.
For example, Carroll et al examined postoperative pain in cats receiving either butorphanol or no analgesia following onychectomy and found that in comparison to control cats, butorphanol-treated cats had higher analgesia scores during the first 24 hours after surgery. Further more, according to owner reports, butorphanol-treated cats were more likely to eat and act normally and to have lower lameness scores during the first day after
discharge. Cloutier et al found that even when cats were treated with butorphanol before surgery, they had evidence of postoperative pain, as determined by comparison with control cats that underwent a sham procedure. Both of these studies involved removal of the distal phalanx with a scalpel or clipper, but recent studies assessing the effect of laser removal suggest that this procedure also results in postoperative pain, although to a lesser degree than that associated with other methods.
Clark et al found that cats that under went laser onychectomy were less reluctant to jump after surgery than were cats in which onychectomy was performed with a scalpel or clipper.
Similarly, Holmberg and Brisson compared pain scores during the 10 days following onychectomy with either a scalpel or a laser and found that both groups had elevated pain scores during the first 9 days but that the mean score over the first 7 days was higher for the scalpel group, compared with the laser group.
Finally, Robinson et al assessed limb function by measuring ground reaction forces following laser or scalpel onychectomy and found that forces were reduced in both groups following surgery, but the reduction was greater in the scalpel group.
Researchers have also studied the pain associated with tendonectomy versus onychectomy, but differences between the procedures are unclear. While
1 study found that tendonectomy resulted in lower pain scores, compared with onychectomy, during the first 24 hours after surgery, another study found no differences in pain scores when comparing the 2 procedures.
Jankowski et al reported differences in post-operative complications associated with the 2 procedures. Of 18 cats that underwent onychectomy, 1 had severe postoperative pain and another had long-term lameness. Of 20 cats that underwent tendonectomy, 1 had long-term lameness, but owners of 6 cats expressed dissatisfaction with the procedure because of continued scratching and issues with claw growth and trimming.
Although both onychectomy and tendonectomy have the potential to cause acute postoperative pain, it is likely that a multimodal analgesic approach will provide adequate pain control. Although a review of all studies assessing efficacy of analgesic regimens for control of postoperative pain following onychectomy and tendonectomy is beyond the scope of the current discussion, we encourage future research to determine which analgesic regimes are commonly used in current veterinary practice and whether they are sufficient.
A number of studies have assessed short-term and long-term postoperative complication rates following onychectomy. Short-term postoperative complications following onychectomy include pain and associated lameness, hemorrhage, swelling, infection, and changes in behavior.
Pollari and Bonnett examined the risk of postoperative complications when onychectomy was performed alone or in combination with other surgeries and reported that cats that underwent onychectomy in combination with ovariohysterectomy or castration were more likely to have postoperative complications than were cats that underwent either procedure alone.
This was particularly concerning because 53% of cats underwent both procedures.
One common long-term complication of onychectomy is claw regrowth, with rates reportedly ranging from 3.4% to 15.4%, depending on the study
and the method of claw removal.
One study found that claw regrowth was more common with use of a nail clipper than with use of a scalpel or laser
(15.4% vs 6.5% and 3.4%).
Other long-term complications include persistent lameness and signs of chronic pain.
Clark et al reported the highest rates of pain-related complications, with up to 23% of cats having ongoing lameness and 42.3% of cats showing signs of pain on paw palpation.
Owners have also reported long-term behavioral changes in cats following onychectomy such as house soiling and an increased resistance to allowing the paws to be handled or an increased incidence or severity of biting, compared with behavior before the procedure.
Alternatives to declawing include regular nail trimming and use of artificial nail caps to minimize property damage and provision of appropriate
scratching surfaces such as scratching posts and substrates.
A study of 128 Italian cat owners found that sexually intact male cats were more likely to scratch other surfaces when a scratching post was absent from the environment, and Cozzi et al reported that a feline interdigital semiochemical, a cat pheromone replacement made of fatty acids, can be used to control excess behavioral scratching through placement of this substance on a desired scratching location.
Behavior modification methods may also decrease environmental scratching.
Given clear evidence of pain and postoperative complications with declawing, this procedure should be considered as a last resort after all other behavior modifying measures have been attempted and when the only other alternative is relinquishment or euthanasia.
We strongly believe that in a clinical setting, surgical procedures should be performed on animals only if they have or can be expected to have clear benefits for the animal or the population as a whole. At a minimum, the procedures discussed in the present review all cause some degree of acute pain and are associated with some risk of infection or other adverse effects.
Society’s attitudes toward dogs and cats have changed over time, likely because of decreased social distance, with the result that attitudes toward certain procedures that were once considered acceptable are now being reconsidered.
In many countries, discussions among broad ranges of stakeholders have resulted in legislation banning surgical procedures that are considered elective or unnecessary.
People are willing to acknowledge that animals experience pain but do not always appear to be willing to take appropriate action to treat or prevent
that pain. This appears to be true in the case of the procedures discussed in the present review, which are known to be painful but are still commonly performed. We recommend the following strategies for enacting change in Canada and the United States with regards to MUSs in dogs and cats.
First, further research and education are needed on effective methods for preventing or treating the underlying behavior problems that traditionally have resulted in declawing, devocalization, and defanging.
Second, further research on public attitudes toward MUSs is needed; specifically, understanding the beliefs and values held by the public must be a priority, as only then will it be possible to encourage policy and legislation that accurately reflect the views of current society.
Third, veterinarians should take a leadership role in educating both owners and the broader public on the important topic of MUSs in dogs and cats.
The facts are that the veterinary associations and pro-declaw vets don’t want declawing banned because they say that they are the “licensed professional veterinarians” who know how to make the best medical decisions for their clients and patients.
I think we have given them enough time to step up to the plate and show that the educate cat owners and the public about the humane alternatives and also about what declawing really is.
In my humble opinion and from all the information that I have gathered in the last 3 years, it is obvious that most pro-declaw vets perform declawing as a first option, don’t counsel clients, or make sure their clients have seriously tried all the humane alternatives that are available.
I’ll let you be the judge. Here are just some of the many examples that I’ve found on veterinary practice’s websites or social media pages.
Please meet Mouse the kitten.
She is the little kitten from the Midwest that I did a post about yesterday. Her mom was going to take her to get her declawed in two weeks.
I called her “Cutie” because I didn’t know her real name. The intervention post worked and her mom said that she is going to try using Soft Paws instead of getting her declawed. I personally shipped out a couple of boxes of Soft Paws to her today and will update this post when she sends me a photo of Mouse with them on.
Her mom was never counseled about declawing from the veterinarian she goes to, or told that she should use the humane alternatives since kittens can always be trained. She said that when you call up her vet and ask for a declaw, they just make the appointment for the procedure and they offer no counseling about what declawing really is or that it is bad for a cat or ask if you have tried the humane alternatives. They charge $125- $200 for the declaw.
The reason I did the post yesterday was to create awareness about how many cat owners hold on to the belief that declawing is ok. They trust that if their veterinarian declaws cats and doesn’t say it is bad for them, then they don’t feel anything is wrong or bad about it.
The majority of veterinarians in America who declaw cats, which is around 80% or more, do NOT practice declawing as a last resort, do NOT counsel clients about the negative aspects of declawing, that it is an amputation surgery, or teach cat owners that the humane alternatives are the best route. The majority of vets who declaw cats just simply acquiesce to their clients and do it as a common, first option procedure.
This is why, in my opinion, the reason declawing is so common in America is 100% the fault of these veterinarians. They are the gatekeepers. They are the ones who clients trust for their best medical decisions for their cats.
If you called up your vet and asked them to declaw your dog because it was ruining your hardwood floors, these same vets wouldn’t do it and say that’s inhumane and would give you suggestions to remedy the issue. Same if you called up and said your dog was chewing up all your pillows and shoes and needed its teeth pulled. Yes with cats, they simply do this very inhumane procedure that has many humane alternatives that are always successful.
Something similar to this information should be on every veterinarians website. These declaw “doctors” should take at least 15 minutes going over this information with clients because most all cat owners would not go through with this inhumane surgery if the vets passionately tried to talk them out of it and told them how it harms and is bad for their kitties. I know this for a fact since two of the veterinarian contestants in the top ten of America’s Favorite Veterinarian contest from last year, stopped declawing and told me they have only had one or two clients that went elsewhere to get a declaw.
The vets should teach each and every one of their employees who answer the phones as to how to address declawing and also how to not make it like it is just one of their routine surgeries and is ok. Why Cats Need Their Claws Why declawing is bad for a cat
I want to thank everyone who sent me advice on how to address this issue. Even if there is a lot of heartache and it is time consuming, it’s hard to let something go when you believe you might be able to save even one kitty from going through this unnecessary and inhumane procedure. This woman also told me that many of you respectfully and nicely reached out to her on facebook and gave her great tips on how to address scratching issues and claws on cats. Thank you for doing that. You are the noble ones for this important cause. Your message gets through to cat owners.
Sadly she also said that some of you said some very bad things to her and I am quite disappointed after hearing that. As I always ask with these kind of posts, please don’t threaten or attack anyone because it is wrong, it hurts the cause, and you never get through to anyone by taking that path. I know it’s hard to not be angry and upset when it comes to this horrific procedure but we must take the high road even if other people don’t seem to be.
Many of these cat owners are holding on to long held beliefs and it is only through persistence, passion, education, and inspiration that we will make a positive difference. Sometimes it is difficult and harsh words are exchanged on both sides but you can always be respectful in the way you go about it.
I was reluctant to take the time to try to changes this person’s heart and mind but I thought of this story and it inspired me to keep trying.
Even if it was just one kitten, it was worth it and now Mouse will hopefully live her life as a cat should, with her paws intact and her amazing claws. She will truly live a happy and healthy life.
Please thank this woman who had the courage to write me and tell that she really did think about this whole thing and after going through the research that I sent her, she saw things differently and realized why we all are working so hard to try to help save all kitties from being declawed.
Please keep trying to make a difference for all the kitties in this country.
Please ask your own vet to stop declawing and if they don’t let them know you are taking your business to an ethical vet who doesn’t declaw cats. Here is a note you can use to sent to them. Note to send to your vet who declaws cats
Good news! Mouse’s mom received her Soft Paws from the wonderful people at SoftPaws.com and look at her now! Here is the note that her mom sent me about the soft paws!
“Dear City, She was not easy to take pictures of lol. Those things are awesome. I wish I’d known about them a long time ago. I might have been resistant at first , but I love them. I put them on her myself. It was pretty easy, granted Mouse was not happy, but she doesn’t act any different now. Thank you for saving my kitty. I love seeing them on her and knowing a little discomfort to put them on is better than a lifetime full of pain.”
This is serious my friends. I was threatened with “legal ramifications” and “harassment” if I don’t cooperate and this person said I have no idea who I started a fight with. YIKES! This has the hair on my body standing on end and scared me so much that I called 1-800- LawyerUp to get one on standby.
I want to open with this. The reason I’m posting this story is to show what is ALL wrong with declawing in this country and in so many veterinary practices. Too many pro-declaw vets have shaped the mindset of their cat owners in America to believe that declawing is humane and ok. This cat owner obviously trusts her vet and his advice about declawing. She has zero problem that he has her poor declawed kitten up on his website to show how kind they are to “heal” after they’ve “harmed”, and for purposes that help his business. Yet she doesn’t want this poor kitty’s photo used to help educate cat owners that declawing is bad for a cat and that there are always humane alternatives.
If you used the photo of the kitten that was just declawed with a laser getting its wounds “healed” with the pulse therapy laser treatment” FROM MY POST a few weeks ago, I’m being a responsible journalist and telling you that the owner is requesting it be taken down because it bothers her and also she doesn’t want it used for this cause.
I was told about this animal hospital by some of you who saw it on their video post on instagram. I can’t show you this particular photo that I’m referring to since I took it down and I don’t want to be sued or harassed by this lady who must be a tough cookie, but the animal hospital has it on the front of it’s website so you can take a look at it here Take Down the Laser Declawed Paw photo or in the spay/neuter/declaw section VanLoonAnimalHospitalSpayNeuterDeclaw
or it is on their facebook page too Disturbing photo of a declawed kitty paw
My question is this. When you send me heads up about veterinary practices putting out declawing propaganda and photos, should I just look the other way and let them keep deceiving cat owners that declawing is fine for their cats and they have a “humane” way to amputate kittens and cat’s toes?
The NYSVMS and all the other veterinary associations like to say that they are the ones who know best about the medical treatments for animals and stopping declawing is a “detriment to animals.” (Yes the NYSVMS President said that our bill that would ban declawing is a “detriment to animals.”) So can we trust the pro-declaw vets to make the right decisions for all the kittens and cats in America? Especially when they have those $35,000 lasers and need to do a lot of toe amputations to pay it back.
I will let my mom tell the back story about this… A couple weeks ago, some of you let me know about a video that a veterinary practice posted on Instgram and with the caption, “The power of laser surgery. This little guy was neutered and laser declawed two hours go and hasn’t skipped a beat!!” They also tagged their location and veterinary practice on the post.
After all, many businesses use instagram to get the word out about their services and companies.
So in a nutshell, this is what I did.
I called the practice and even had someone sitting next to me to listen to the phone call as a witness. These days they accuse you of the craziest things so I always need to cover my bases.
I respectfully told the vet tech of 10 yrs/manager of this practice that I was wondering if I could email some declawing information so that they would be educated about the facts of declawing and so they could pass it along to their clients. I told them that people had sent me their video that they posted for the world to see and I had seen the actual post on instagram too before they took it down.
This woman didn’t take well to that and accused me of attacking their practice and said other clinics declaw cats too. This experienced vet tech said that they get their educational info from the AVMA and they didn’t need mine.
In case you didn’t see what their declawing info said on their website (They since have taken it off their website), here it is.
DeClawing of Cats
Safety for our children; 70% of cats sleep with there owners;children frequently wake up with scratches around their eyes leading to concerned parents. Behavior problems are the number one cause of relinquishing pet ownership;high gloss furniture scratches, couches for scratching posts and lace drapes destroyed by claws are not acceptable for some clients.
Is Declawing Humane?
Most of the bad public relations about declawing comes from years ago when laser was not yet employed; we brought the first surgical laser to the LaCrosse area in 2000 and have not declawed a cat without it since. Provided patients are corrected as kittens this is a “very humane” procedure. We routinely see patients playing with their paws right out of surgery. Through the use of laser surgery, local nerve blocks and state of the art pain drugs we are able to make this a very humane procedure…all of our declaws are fully insure, receive antibiotics and follow up pulse therapy laser treatment to further suppress any pain.
Here is the full story in case you didn’t read it Story
I never heard back from the practice after I respectfully emailed them declawing info and also sent them the AVMA position on declawing.
So here is where it gets crazy.
I did that post and blocked out any names of the vet practice or veterinarian, to educate America about the FACTS about declawing and to show people that the majority of pro-declaw veterinarians are deceiving their clients about this mutilating, elective, unnecessary, and inhumane procedure. Whether it’s that they don’t educate the cat owners, or teach them about the humane alternative that work, or put up really bad propaganda that makes cat owners believe that declawing a cat or kitten is completely humane or ok.
I got 3 emails on facebook from a woman saying that something about the photo bothers her, then another note saying that the photo of the cat with the open wounds on its paw, being treated with the pulse laser, was her photo and that she wanted it taken off my post.
I have been harassed by a lot of fake accounts lately so I wanted to make sure that she was the true owner of this photo and told her I would take it down but needed to confirm with this veterinary practice the next day, Monday, when they were back to work.
Here is a little of our dialogue. Her comments are in red.
Hey City the Kitty, there’s something about this photo that bothers me. Would you please take it down?
Hey City the Kitty, I am the owner of this picture and you do not have copyright rights. Would you please take it down?
Hey City the Kitty, there’s something about this photo that bothers me. Would you please take it down?
Can you please let me know if you are the owner of this cat that was laser declawed at Van loon or if you work with van loon animals hospital. I reached out to them but they never got back with me in a phone call or emails. I’m out until midnight and won’t be able to do anything about it until then. Why does the photo bother you?
No I am not an employee. This is my underaged daughters kitten. I did not give you permission to place this photo on your site therefore you must take it down as soon as possible.
I asked her how she heard about this photo and if this vet informed her that declawing was amputations and that it was bad for the health and well being of her kitten. I asked her why using her photo anonymously to educate cat owners about the truth about declawing bothers her and it doesn’t bother her to see the photo on this veterinary practices website. I told her how many pro-declaw vets were deceiving cat owners like her about this mutilating procedure. I sent her the link to my website so she could read some of my stories about this. She wrote me back.
What the hell is wrong with you? I am not answering any of your questions. I want my picture taken down or you will have legal ramifications not to mention harassment. Plus you are too over bearing and pushy on this subject. Why don’t you put your energies like this into human abortion or something. Maybe even the presidential election. Or here’s a good one….go become a veterinarian. Last but not least you obviously do not understand what was really happening in the picture and you are putting it way out of context. Pull the picture down NOW!
I asked her to please tell me what was happening in the photo and that I am a journalist and write a lot of educational posts about declawing. So I tried to calm her down and remind her that I would have my lawyer (that I needed to find) reach out to this veterinary practice the next day to confirm that the photo is hers and then I would take it down. I told her that I work full-time on this cause as a volunteer to help save kitties from this unnecessary and inhumane procedure. I said thanks and hope she can clear up some of this confusion by answering my simple and respectful questions. (they aren’t overbearing and pushy) I told her that I hoped she and her family were having a happy Fathers day.
She wrote back.
First off I don’t care that you are a journalist of that it is your mission in life to prevent cats from being mutlated. Would you like to know that the kitten in the picture is a rescue kitten? Yes we took him in to prevent a horrible life that he may have encountered. We live in a busy highway….perhaps I could take pictures of cats that are run over in the highway….that fits for it a definition of mutation. I do not have to prove to you that is my kitten or my picture. I am telling you it is and I am requesting you take the picture off all social media sites as I am finding you are posting it elsewhere in other social media sites. Shame on you!!! You might be from New York but we are not not that in the Midwestern part of the states. So please keep your thoughts to yourself . Obviously you need to get a job. You have too much time on your hands to worry about something you have no control over. NONE!!! Put your efforts into something more worthy. And please do have your lawyer contact Van Loon Animal Hospital. You have no idea who you have started a fight with!!!
So then I was quite taken aback. She was upset that I needed to simply confirm that she was the real owner of the photo and that I was dedicating my life to helping to end this barbaric cruelty to cats??
I was confused even more because it truly sounds like she feels that a cat has to be declawed if it is rescued. I asked her if this vet told her that it should be neutered AND declawed to take into her home. After all, I’m the curious kind and wanted to know where she got that mindset about rescuing and automatically declawing a kitten.
I told her that I’m from the Midwest, born and raised in Michigan and Indiana and that I know what good morals and values are. I know the importance of honesty and compassion. I was raised to treat all animals and people with respect and care and not hurt them or be cruel to them and torture them. I asked her to do a simple 5 min google search to see the facts about declawing.
She sent me a very cute photo of her orange kitty laying on its back with its arms outstretched and said this,
Here is Scooter the now cat that was a kitten in the picture. He is absolutely happy and the best cat we have ever had. He was NEVER mutilated. I would send you better picture but I fear you will spread that one too. Further more I no longer will be communicating with you unless it’s through my lawyer. And expect a fine if you don’t take down my picture from all social media sites unless you want to pay for the picture rights. I will be communicating with Van Loon staff in the morning as I am sure you will be harassing them more tomorrow. Have a good day and find something more constructive to do with your time.
Ok, so now, sending an email to the clinic to ask them to confirm whose photo this is, is now considered harassment. So when you attempt to educate someone respectfully, it’s considered “starting a fight”???? I told her that declawing IS a very important issue.
No it’s only important to you…..quit harassing me.
Hmmmm, so trying to have a normal, intelligent conversation with someone with educational info is considered harassment. Okie dokie.
And then a short time later, she obviously told one of her friends to send me a note which said…
I think it’s kinda rude that you can stalk people sites about their cats and on top of it call the vet and talk to them about declawing cats. That’s fine it’s ur choice of an opinion, but keep it to urself and don’t harass people how they want to take care of their pets, I think theirs alot of other animals I’d be worried about bad breeders
It’s people like you…..
So then I respectfully asked her about the stalking comment since I was told about the video that this veterinary hospital posted for the world to see by some of my followers.
I asked her if she was just a dog person and didn’t care about the welfare of cats and this cruelty.
She wrote back…
Obviously you checked out my Facebook page, really do ur preaching to people who would like your opinion, if people don’t want to hear it than it means stop
Hmmm, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I told her that I didn’t check her out and that one good lesson in life is to never assume anything. I told her that it was sad that she and her friend were choosing to not educate themselves about the facts about declawing and that I wasn’t the one coming on their page and telling them off.
I simply told her friend that I would confirm that it was her photo the next day and if it was, I would take it down. I have every right to tell them the facts about declawing especially when they are buying into the propaganda that this veterinary practice was putting out to their clients.
So here is the note I sent to this practice to confirm who owns the photo and asked them to find out how much money she wants to use her photo since she said “And expect a fine if you don’t take down my picture from all social media sites unless you want to pay for the picture rights.” I would pay for picture rights since this photo is a sad example of how a laser burns off a toe bone on a cat’s paws.
“I need to confirm who owns the photo of Scooter getting his mutilated paws “treated” with your laser after he had his toes amputated. The photo is on your website and someone wrote me and said it was her photo and I need to not use it in my story or else I will need to pay for rights.
Can you also find out how much the owner would charge to use the photo once you give me her name
Need to know these things ASAP since whoever this was wanted this resolved quickly.
The practice manager wrote me back and said this,
(owner of the cat) does not want to sell you rights to her photo. She wants the photo removed immediately from all social media. You may have your lawyer call, I know that ____ has already contacted hers, and if necessary, we will contact ours.
Okie dokie…I told her that their video was sent to me and many people saw it and their practice before I posted anything. I told her that I will remove the photo from my social media posts and website. Not sure why they were throwing the lawyer words around when I simply said that I would take the photo down once I get confirmation about the owner.
So here is where I need your advice. I do my best to respectfully and privately reach out to these vet practices and hope that they will at the very least start doing what all their veterinary associations say, INCLUDING the AVMA, as far as educating cat clients about the facts and counsel them with the humane alternatives.
The sad part is that it seems like all the veterinary associations do is write the politically correct declawing policy words but they don’t enforce them or care if their policies aren’t being used by the pro-declaw vets in America. The AVMA, AAHA, and AAFP don’t enforce their declawing policies.
Remember when I did a post about a veterinarian who had this terrible info up on her website about declawing and it was deceiving her clients to believe she had a humane and better way to declaw cats. I posted this post ANONYMOUSLY without her name on it and without the practice’s name on it. Since she was an AVMA vet, I sent it to the senior media relations specialist with the AVMA and was naive to think that he would simply reach out to this vet and ask her about her special declaw technique and politely ask her to stop deceiving cat owners. “We are proud to offer a declaw like no other”
Instead of this media relations specialist just simply reaching out to this vet and asking her to use factual info on her website and following their guidelines, the AVMA sent MY personal email out to all the veterinary associations in America, warning them about me! Instead of reminding them about their declawing policy and trying to instill a more modern and compassionate mindset in all their 88,000 member vets, the AVMA warned them about cyber attacks. How could there be “cyber attacks” against their clinics if their names and practice names aren’t being posted? They defend their vets no matter what they do in regards to declawing.
I just am at a loss as to what to do anymore because I don’t need this drama or vitriol.
Please don’t threaten any of these “doctors.” Despite this terrible and deceitful path that they are taking, we must do the right thing and take the high road even though they aren’t. If you threaten them in any way, they will twist things and play the victim. We know that the only victims are all the kitties that they are senselessly and cruelly mutilating and harming.
We must never give up on educating the public with the facts about declawing and we can shine light on their unethical and deceitful ways.
Tell all your friends, family, and co-workers to ask their vets to stop declawing and if they won’t stop then ask them to take their business to an ethical, no-declaw veterinarian.
And on a last note, this totally could be a coincidence and I can’t say if it is anyone connected to this, but the day after I posted this story, I started receiving notices that my email was being used to set up accounts on various sites. Well they started with adult x-rated sites and just yesterday signed me up to a nice Christian site.
Needless to say the person who is doing it isn’t that smart because everything online is traceable. So far, with the help of these sites and after filing a police report for harassment, we are making progress on finding where the person is from. The nice Christian website people sent me all the online data and guess what state they are from. Yep.
Wisconsin. (I know the specific town but am not going to post it)
And let me tell you. I’m 100% sure that God isn’t happy that these beautiful and perfect little creatures are having their much needed toes and claws amputated for the sake of lace drapes, couches, or high gloss furniture.
On a footnote. Remember, the President of the NYSVMS who “aggressively” (NYSVMS words) lead the charge to stop our Cat Protection Bill in NY that would have ended declawing in that state, says that burning off cats and kitten’s toe bones with a laser is “much more humane” than the traditional way. Although what is confusing is that she also offers this less humane , traditional way, at her practice. NYSVMS President and Declawing