We all know I like to shine the light on bad business practices and recently one was brought to my attention that makes me sick. I’m an animal lover, I rescue cats, I care for wild animals that I find, I care for animals PERIOD. So when stories like the “vet” in Texas hit the news it makes me sick. I hope they take away her license. But I digress, last night a dear friend of mine alerted me a situation in Livonia, MI.
Let me hit you with the facts. Declawing is cruel treatment.
Declawing is already banned in the following countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland,Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark,Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand.
- Declawing is the removal of the first joint of a cats toes. In very few cases does it do anything to benefit the cat. There are cases where a cat has allergies and instead of giving steroids that will shorten the cats life with each dose, a vet will recommend declawing to stop the cat from being able to scratch it’s skin off along with other non life ending methods of soothing the allergies.
- Declawing removes a cats natural defenses. Even if the cat is an “indoor only” cat, what happens if the cat manages to escape, it has no way to protect itself. It can’t even climb a tree to get away!
- Declawing is painful. Think about having ten amputations at the same time. Think you would like that? I think it would SUCK. And the phantom pain can last for weeks and months.
- Declawing can lead to biting problems. And the cat’s human may find themselves at the end of the bite.
- Declawing can lead to litter box issues too. A declawed cat can associate the pain from digging with the litter box itself and choose the nice soft carpet instead.
- Cats need their claws to help them exercise their muscles. Watch a cat stretch, whether horizontally on a carpet or vertically with a tall scratching post. He will grab the carpet or sisal with his claws, using the resistance to pull and stretch his muscles. Cats’ claws actually play a large and positive role in their amazing muscle tone and agility.
- Cats walk on their toes. If you cut off the first joint of their toes you are altering their gait. This can cause problems later in life in all the joints in their legs. It can result in arthritis in their hips and other joints.
So when it came to my attention that there was a litter of 7 kittens being offered on Petfinder that would be declawed before adoption I started checking into it.
So I started looking into it. The only information you can find on this “rescue” is a PO Box and two email addresses. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org The first email traces back to LesAnn Payne, a vet tech at Allen Animal Hospital in Livonia, MI.
The second email address traces back to one of the co-owners of the vet clinic. Karen Wroblewski.
So here we have two women, who are TRAINED and EDUCATED in animal science and should know that declawing a cat is cruel. Just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean that it’s right. And on top of that, they are charging $195 per kitten to help cover vet fees. I bet they are doing the surgery themselves, they are getting everything at cost, so it’s not a rescue, it’s a money making business for them. It’s a scam! And it gives actual rescues a black eye.
The AVMA has this to say on the subject:
(find the information HERE )
Declawing of Domestic CatsThe AVMA strongly encourages client education prior to consideration of onychectomy (declawing). It is the obligation of the veterinarian to provide cat owners with a complete education with regard to the normal scratching behavior of cats, the procedure itself, as well as potential risks to the patient. Onychectomy is an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery. The decision to declaw a cat should be made by the owners in consultation with their veterinarian. Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents an above normal health risk for its owner(s).
The following points are the foundation for full understanding and disclosure regarding declawing:
- Surgical declawing is not a medically necessary procedure for the cat in most cases. While rare in occurrence, there are inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, hemorrhage, infection and pain. If surgical onychectomy is performed, appropriate use of safe and effective anesthetics and perioperative analgesics for an appropriate length of time are imperative. Pain management is necessary (not elective) and required for this procedure. Multimodal pain management is recommended, and there should be a written aftercare plan. The surgical alternative of tendonectomy is not recommended.
- Scratching is a normal feline behavior, is a means for cats to mark their territory both visually and with scent, and is used for claw conditioning (“husk” removal) and stretching activity.
- Owners should provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior. Examples are scratching posts, cardboard boxes, lumber or logs, and carpet or fabric remnants affixed to stationary objects. Implements should be tall or long enough to allow full stretching, and be firmly anchored to provide necessary resistance to scratching. Cats should be positively reinforced in the use of these implements.
- Appropriate claw care (consisting of trimming the claws every 1 to 2 weeks) should be provided to prevent injury or damage to household items.
- Temporary synthetic nail caps are available as an alternative to onychectomy to prevent human injury or damage to property. Plastic nail caps are usually applied every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Declawed cats should be housed indoors and allowed outside only under direct supervision.
- Scientific data do indicate that cats that have destructive scratching behavior are more likely to be euthanatized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. Where scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, surgical onychectomy may be considered.
- There is no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of declawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.
While what this “rescue” (and I use that term very lightly here) is not illegal, it is unethical. To declaw a kitten before any attempts have been made to train it or before it has even shown any behavior problems is cruel. They aren’t helping these cats, they are setting them up for a lifetime of pain. The number one reason that a cat ends up in a shelter is litter box problems, declawing can cause litter box problems, they are setting these kittens up to end up in a shelter. Once in a shelter another rescue will come along, post and share their story, take up donations, rescue them and find good homes for them.
Do we really want to spend resources rescuing cats that should not end up in shelters because of this type of behavior from vets running rescues? Do we really want to encourage ANYONE to declaw a cat? Let LesAnn and Karen know how you feel. I did.
Allen Animal Hospital