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Veterinarians Mutilating Cats

Written by PETA | August 11, 2011

When veterinarians gathered for the annual American Veterinary Medical Association conference in St. Louis, they were met by  members of the St. Louis Animal Rights Team (START), who wanted to know why the organization continues to support mutilating cats’ paws to please their owners. PETA, START, and other groups have been taking the AVMA to task for years for its refusal to condemn declawing.

Declawing is not just an extreme manicure. It is 10 amputations of cats’ toes, removing the last joint of each digit. In addition to enduring the excruciating pain of the surgery itself, declawed cats can have difficulty walking; experience weakening of the back, shoulder, and leg muscles; have been known to stop using the litterbox; and often become withdrawn, irritable, or aggressive.

Declawing cats to keep them from scratching is comparable to mutilating dogs’ vocal chords to keep them quiet. Yet the cruel procedure of debarking is something that 92 percent of people oppose. We wouldn’t lop off our children’s fingers for getting into things or have our babies de-vocalized for crying, so why would we mutilate our companion animals? Nearly two dozen countries—including Australia, Japan, and England—have banned or restricted declawing, and many veterinarians refuse to perform this cruel surgery for the sake of human convenience.

While scratching is a natural and necessary feline behavior, there are many ways to protect furniture and belongings without resorting to having cats’ toes chopped off. Providing suitable places to scratch—such as sisal, wood, or cardboard scratching posts—and protecting furniture with double-sided tape or covering cats’ nails with Soft Paws nail covers are all easy and affordable options. (Find more tips in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You.)

If you know someone who is intent on acquiring a feline animal companion only to mutilate the cat’s feet, please remind him or her that animal shelters are full of declawed cats who have been discarded and who would love to have a home.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

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  • Printer Toner says:

    This is a great job!

  • MA says:

    it’s definitely unnecessary. cats will scratch you if you provoke them, or sometimes when you play with them they could scratch you but not like you’re gonna die with that. be a responsible owner, that’s the key.

  • Mary W. says:

    I would never pull out my cats teeth if they bit, i would never skin my animal if i was allergic. noone would do this. why would i possibly take my cats nails off if it scratched?? if you can’t figure out a way you two can work together, accommodate etc,, then don’t own a cat that isn’t perfectly docile already. Our animals can’t keep sacrificing for us, sometimes we need to sacrifice for them too. Pet them the right way, and they will not scratch. if it continues scratching you, maybe you need to leave animals alone.

  • Bunnymaster914 says:

    I think animals need to get declawed when they are hurting other people Children (who don’t know how to handle cats) can get scratched

  • Dawn Jeralds says:

    Personally I hope before a vet preforms any surgery ever on an animal he would see to it that the owner has first taken responsible action and have the pet spayed or neutered. I think it is the responsibility of veterinarians to make sure of that and protect their patients like a Dr. for humans does.

  • jenn.pierce says:

    I remember my friend adopted 2 cats from our local shelter and was telling me how they almost wouldn’t let him adopt because he was going to have the cats declawed. He thought that it was just ridiculous and didn’t seem what the issue was. I had never heard of having a cat declawed before but didn’t think much of it. Now that I’ve read this, I think I’ll give the next person a piece of my mind.

  • Gena69 says:

    I’ve never had a cat declawed. And from now on, whenever I get a cat, I will never have it declawed. You can train them and you can clip/file their claws. There is NO need to have em declawed. There are many products out there that help file and trim the claws, like that file scratch pad I saw on TV that’s a scratching pad that does the filing FOR YOU as the cat scratches it and plays on it. There’s also something called PEDI PAWS PET NAIL TRIMMER! I got one myself. Cheers cat lovers! Gena kissing

  • Dan says:

    I grew up with cats and fine antiques. Was never a problem. My mother put the slightest amount of cayenne pepper into the furniture wax as a preventive. I think the smell was enough. Most likely their good behaviour was because the cats had an enriched environment and plenty of places to play and scratch. We only had rescue animals, by the way. De-clawing is horrible. The animals loose their balance, and balance is everything to a cat. I agree it should not be done.

  • Mary Roberson says:

    I would also like to see docking and cropping dogs tails and ears prohibited, its cruel and un-necessary!

  • Patricia says:

    Please stop declawing these beautiful animals. Most Veterinarians do not declaw now. Please follow their example.

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