Monday, October 29, 2012

You Can't Declaw with Love

Declawing Is Inhumane And Risky - Medically & Emotionally - For Your Cat!
Carole Recommends Felix Katnip Tree

Carole has been opposed to the declawing of cats since she began her practice, and has discouraged the practice publicly, and argued against it in her books, for over thirty years.
Too often, her advice and protestations fell on deaf ears. However, she is very pleased to note that a new wave of awareness of the harm caused by declawing, and resistance to this inhumane practice, is growing in America. This is important because America lags behind the rest of the world in this area. Declawing is illegal, or strictly regulated, everywhere else in the developed world.
Therefore, we are adding this separate page of declaw information and resources to her site. A number of Carole's subscribers have over the years written her on this topic. We are taking the liberty of including several posts below from readers and clients which summarize links to references, articles, and pictures which oppose declawing. If you have links to resources you think should be displayed here, send them to 

Laser De-Clawing is just as Inhumane
People are being falsely led to believe that laser surgery will somehow be a painless procedure, and that it is OK to have your animal declawed by this method. Long term problems associated with any amputation will still present themselves. For the details visit Jan-Jan's Kitten Kids:  

West Hollywood (CA) Declaw Ban Upheld by Appellate Court
June 22, 2007: The Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles upheld the 2003 West Hollywood (CA) Declaw Ban and overturned the 2003 ruling of a Los Angeles city judge. Justice Denis Perluss began the announcement of the court's 2-1 majority opinion by citing Mahatma Ghandi's now-famous statement, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.''
This decision may still be appealed to the California Supreme Court, as the West Hollywood law has been opposed since before its passage by the California Veterinary Medical Association (rather ironic, no?).

Big News: Norfolk (VA) Bans Declawing of Cats!
April 25, 2007:  Norfolk (Virginia) is taking a stand for its feline friends. If you want to declaw your kitty, you're going to have to go another city. Norfolk recently passed a law that makes declawing illegal for anything but medical purposes. The law also covers tail docking and ear cropping.
This news appears to have surprised Anti Declawing activists, whose attention was focused on legal efforts in West Hollywood (FL) and elsewhere.  But, as one activist put it: "No disrespect intended to West Hollywood (or Norfolk, for that matter), but if an "ordinary" city like Norfolk can do it, what excuse do other (presumably wealthier, more progressive cities. Editor) places have for NOT doing it?"  We heartily agree.

Hello Leo,
You are right that The Paw Project, Councilman Duran and Assemblyman Koretz were not specifically mentioned on page 34 in regards to the West Hollywood legislation. The Paw Project was referenced on page 36.

Nancy Peterson
Issues Specialist
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
301-258-3129 (p)
301-258-3081 (f)

Thanks for the resources.  In particular, has good scientific data in its FAQs section.  We just read HSUS's "Indoor Cats, Scratching, and the Debate over Declawing: When Normal Pet Behavior Becomes a Problem" and wonder why Paw Project was never referenced (unless we missed it).  That is the nonprofit that sponsored the only anti-declaw legislation that has ever been enacted in the US.  An unfortunate omission, we think. wrote:
FYI  Here are some great resources to use to counter Landlords that require declawing. I have always been shocked and appalled at the amount of landlords in my area that require this, and through my declaw research have sadly found that my city isn't the only place where this is common.
If any adopter is dealing with a landlord who requires cat declawing, please pass along the resources listed below, which can inspire and empower them to challenge the requirement. These resources include some of the anecdotal evidence that declawed paws can result in, or develop into, litterbox problems, which can lead to more expensive & extensive property damage for the landlords to repair.  
If you know of any landlords or apartment complexes that require declawing and you'd prefer not to discuss it with them personally, please email me their full address (email or land) so I can send along this information.
Many thanks!

The MAPCA's Pets in Housing Program
"Declawing of cats cannot be required by management. As the pet owner is fully liable for all destruction of property, management should not anticipate the possibility of damage and request this very painful procedure."

Best Friends for Life - Humane Housing for Animals & People
Published in 2001 by the Doris Day League and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals. page 50, "Declawing of cats cannot be required by management..."

Massachusetts Animal Coalition Tips For Landlords
DO and DON'Ts for Landlords
DON'T: Require declawing of cats. This is a cruel and disfiguring procedure which often results in more severe behavior problems. Scratching is better solved with behavior modification and management techniques on the part of the cat owner.
"Landlords should not require you to declaw your cat. As a renter, you are already fully liable for all destruction of property. Often, landlords don't understand that declawing is very cruel and can lead to chronic pain, neurosis, and even skin and bladder problems. Educate your landlord about declawing, pointing out that many declawed cats develop aversions to the litterbox and begin urinating and defecating outside of it.”

Bryan Pease, an attorney with the Animal Protection and Rescue League in San Diego ,,,. “There's no way that federal law or any other law would require cats to be declawed because it's such a cruel procedure. It has been outlawed in several jurisdictions.”
Will Declawing my Cat Reduce Damage to Household Items? 
 Wisconsin Humane Society

* Published 2/1/03 on, "Eighty percent of the cats that are surrendered that are declawed are euthanized because they have behavioral problems. Declawed cats frequently become biters and also stop using litter boxes, One or the other”, said William Lombardi, shelter director, Gloucester County, New Jersey.
Lombardi, has been Director Gloucester County Animal Shelter for three years and an animal control officer for 25. “Cats with claws,” he says, “are always surrendered for human-related issues, mainly moving and can't take the cat with us.  Declawed cats, on the other hand, have behavior problems, and most who come in end up having to be euthanized.” Even when Lombardi works with declawed cats and tries to place them in new homes, they often come back to the shelter for not using the litter box.  “Almost all of our hotline calls are declawed cats with litter box issues,” says Pat Rock of the Oshkosh Area Humane Society in Wisconsin. 

*Almost all of our hotline calls are declawed cats with litter box issues,” says Pat Rock of the Oshkosh Area Humane Society in Wisconsin.

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

*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 than75% of the cats turned in for avoiding their litter boxes had been declawed.

In my own three-year experience, 95% of calls about declawed cats related to litter box problems, while only 46% of clawed cats had such problems and most of those were older cats with physical ailments. Of my calls, only declawed cats have cost their owners security deposits, leather sofas and floorboards. And it's mostly declawed cats that have been prescribed pain killers, anti-depressants, tranquilizers and steroids.  Two-thirds of my calls are about litter box problems. In 90% of those cases, the cat is declawed, sick or old. In 7 years, only 3 people have called about a scratching-the-sofa problem - yet countless healthy declawed cats have peed on sofas". Annie Bruce, cat consultant & author Cat Be Good,

* Anecdotal evidence of behavior changes occurring post-onychectomy provides compelling support for the observation that declawing cats increases their likelihood of expressing litter box avoidance and aggressive biting. The studies done so far to analyze this relationship have been limited in their ability to control multiple variables and form a definitive conclusion. However, the observations of many veterinary practitioners and behaviorists give strong support for these connections.

Dr. Susan Swanson, DVM, owner of the Cat Care Clinic in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, notes that "year after year, the declawed cats that I see in my practice have higher rates of litter box issues such as inappropriate elimination." Nearly every shelter and rescue group director in the country makes the same observation. Sore paws that don't feel like digging in the litter may be one reason why declawed cats are more prone to litter box rejection. (The accumulated stress buildup from lack of scratching may also be a contributing factor, as stress is implicated in half of all urinary tract problems). Why Cats Need Claws, Gary Lowenthal

* Asthma and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) have also been linked to the stress of declaws consider the possibility of post-surgery behavior problems especially litterbox issues and aggression reports abound among cat owners and some animal behaviorists also notice a link. Karen Overall, VMD, Ph.D a specialist in veterinary medicine, has seen transient aggression and reluctance to use the litterbox after declaw. There is also the issue of trust... Interestingly; the humane society workers have made these claims about declawed cats for years. "Declaw Details", Dr. Brenda McClelland, DVM, Cat Fancy Magazine Jan 2006 p. 44-47 

* San Francisco Care and Control: “Some declawed cats become more nervous biters; others are known to become even more destructive to furniture than before the operation; and many cats stop using the litter box." East Bay SPCA: “Deprived of their primary form of defense, declawed cats become nervous, fearful, and/or aggressive, often using their only remaining defense, their teeth. Some cats stop using their litter pan. This may be associated to the discomfort of scratching in the litter after the surgery". Palo Alto Humane Society: “We have a no-declaw policy." These organizations and the individuals working there are obviously highly motivated to find each cat a home and do not wish to see the cat returned. They have found that declawed cats, with a disproportionate rate of biting and house soiling, have a relatively low adoption success rate.  Dr. Jennifer Conrad, The Paw Project.

Our cat care coordinator was becoming increasingly disturbed at the euthanasia rate for declawed cats and decided to conduct an informal study. She discovered that more than 80% of declawed cats that were either returned or owner surrendered that year was because of litterbox problems or biting.

* In some cases, when declawed cats use the litter box after surgery, their feet are so tender they associate their new pain with the box...permanently, resulting in a life-long aversion to using the litter box. Other declawed cats that can no longer mark with their claws, mark with urine instead resulting in inappropriate elimination problems, which in many cases, results in relinquishment of the cats to shelters and ultimately euthanasia. Many of the cats surrendered to shelters are surrendered because of behavioral problems which developed after the cats were declawed.  Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter:"Among 218 cats relinquished to a shelter, more declawed cats (52.4%) than non-declawed cats (29.1%) were reported by owners to have inappropriate elimination problems." Source: World Small Animal Veterinary Association 2001

* Behavioral problems frequently haunt declawed cats. By far, the commonest thing we see is cats not using the litterbox. When cats have stress beyond what they can take, it often shows up as a litterbox problem and declawing makes them stress intolerant, in general, for the rest of their lives, Dr. Harrison, DVM. Dr. Harrison gets 3-12 calls a day about litter box problems in cats and, after ruling out medical problems, 90 percent of the cats with litter box aversion are declawed cats. Declawing: Behavior Modification or Destructive Surgery, Animal Issues, 1998

* Chronic physical ailments such as cystitis or skin disorders can be manifestations of a declawed cat's frustration and stress. David E. Hartnett, DVM 

*In a study published October, 2001, JAVMA by Dr. Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD., declawed cats were at an increased risk of relinquishment.

If you have links to resources you think should be displayed here, send them to