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Declawing - where do you stand?
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Will Draper, DVM posted:
Declawing (the fancy term is onchyectomy) is the surgical removal of a cat's distal phalanx, the part of the digit that carries the sharp claws or "nails". Look at your finger and the joint just below your nail. If you were declawed, that would be gone. I'd have a difficult time typing this message if I were declawed.

Declawing cats is incredibly controversial -- and the level of controversy has increased significantly over the last decade. Whereas 15 years ago, many veterinarian practices were performing 10-15 declaws a month, that number has dwindled to 10-15 a year at the most. I attribute this to a more informed and educated sense of pet ownership, thanks to the internet and a new commitment to client education by today's veterinarians. But still, you'd be surprised at how many pet owners ask to have their kittens or cats declawed because they felt it was just the thing to do with an indoor cat. They think it is the only way to eliminate destruction to carpets, furniture, curtains, or family members' limbs and faces. But other options do exist, such as scratching posts and plastic nail covers.

In some countries (China and Japan, to name a couple), elective declawing is banned and labeled as animal cruelty, unless there is some sort of digital tumor or other illness that calls for individual declawing. Vets in America have differing opinions on this issue.

What about you? Do you think there is ever a situation that warrants declawing?
Dr. Will
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ponyrun2 responded:
I find declawing a painful and unnecessary procedure when done solely for the benefit of the human and not the pet....

When you get a pet you get the whole animal... if there are things you don't like about it (cats scratching, dogs barking, pocket pets biting) then don't get it.... or put the time and effort into teaching and training the pet not to do those things...

I have worked for vets before and seen this procedure (and other "cosmetic" procedures) done first hand... I have told people, like Dr Will mentions, how would they like it if the first joint of their fingers were cut off just because someone didn't like the length of your nails and you scratched them...

Should it become illegal ?? I'm on the fence there... I feel that by making it and other cosmetic procedures illegal could cause a rise in "back alley" procedures that are more detrimental to the health of the animal... It should be highly discouraged and used only as a last resort only after serious training has failed.... it's like giving an active child medication just because you don't want to deal with the problem...

I am of the same opinion for ear cropping, tail docking, dewclaw removal, and "debarking".... people need to realize that animals are living sentient beings that have emotions and feel pain just as we do... We need to remember that the next time someone wants to alter the way their pet looks... Accept them for who and what they are....
 
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kathykatt responded:
hi, my two indoor kitties are declawed, ages 10 and 6. at the time i had it done, i had no idea it was such a controversy. my landlord said it was required as i rented. both kitties had it done when they were fixed/spayed and appeared to have no pain/problems with their little paws afterwards. they did wear the E-collar for a short time, but i'm not sure if that was for the Paws or the lower area. since i've heard this procedure was questionable, i don't know if i'd have it done in the future but i can say, my own 2 kitties appeared to have weathered it with no trouble or pain and were their playful selves right away.
 
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Will Draper, DVM replied to ponyrun2's response:
Well said, Ponyrun2. I am in complete agreement with you that it should be considered an absolute last resort. That is how we approach this procedure in my office. Thanks for sharing.
Dr. Will
 
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Will Draper, DVM replied to kathykatt's response:
In my practice, if and when we perform this procedure, it is only done on young cats, and usually during the spay/neuter procedure. If done properly and carefully, there is fortunately minimal discomfort- as was the case with your kitties. Thanks for sharing.
Dr. Will
 
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kathykatt replied to Will Draper, DVM's response:
Thank you Dr. Will. both of my cats had the procedure done when they were however many months old, enough to be fixed/spayed, probably around 3-4 months and i have a very good Vet (someone i know even). not that, that makes her good, but i do trust her and the practice she belongs to is an excellent one. i don't have alot of money but i don't skimp on their kitty-care, tho i may stretch out their well-kitty checkups to 18 months if there has been no reason to take them in. if they have an issue, they go in right-away and make sure they are up-to-date on all shots. unfortunately neither of my kitties are fond of going in the car or visits to the vet.
 
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Bonenberger responded:
I am against de-clawing. I found a siamese cat in my basement. I also have a 'neighborhood cat' that stays in the basement who was none too happy to have company, as were my own cats upstairs. After a week, I put a found ad in the paper. The owner came to get the cat. Two days after that, Three! more people called to say their siamese cat with no claws had gotten out and was lost. Sammy, Simon, and Sugar. Now there are 3 cats out there in the cold with no claws to protect themselves. That's UN acceptable. They were born with claws for a reason!
 
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cathelper responded:
I truly believe that anyone who declaws their cats should have the ends of their fingers removed in the same way. If furniture, etc. is more important than their feline friend, then perhaps they should not have cats.
 
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Will Draper, DVM responded:
FANTASTIC and informative responses. Thank you!
Dr. Will
 
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jessiegirl53 responded:
Never....never...is there a reason to do such a horribly cruel thing to any living creature. This is such a painful experience for a cat. THEN...if, just IF, your precious baby, DOES escape the safety of their home and is targeted by an enemy, it can not flee up a tree, to escape. Yes, I am aware they fight with their back claws. Still, I only wish that everyone that has this barbaric practice done to their cat (so it won't scratch up your precious couch, rug, etc...material objects with no feelings), has it happen to them in the after life and realize the pain they inflicted on the pet they CLAIM to love so much. Pure cruelty. Also the reason it has been outlawed in so many places and why so many vets (if they have any morals), refuse to perform this type of surgery on a cat. A terribly BARBARIC prctice, indeed.
 
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livelifefun replied to ponyrun2's response:
I agree with you, I do no support declawing, however I do feel that if it becomes illegal it may result in people resorting to "back alley" inhumane ways of removing their cats claws themselves or abandoning their pet due to housing community rules and such. It's a very difficult issue to deal with.

Very nicely said.
 
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Janeist responded:
Yes. I personally had a situation where I tripped down the stairs (cat under my feet) and I fell on top of my cat and injured his back. He bit me and my husband when we tried to comfort him and we ended being held captive by him for 3 days as he would not let us get near him or allow us to enter the room he was in without being aggressive towards us. I had 2 small children in the house at the time. So the question was 1) re-home him or 2) have him declawed. I obviously went with the declaw. He is still alittle aggressive towards me, (It's been 4 years) but, I couldn't bear to have him not be a part of our family.
 
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armystitch responded:
Okay I hate to play the devil's advocate here but I am going to. I have 3 cats that are all declawed. I refrained from declawing my oldest cat until my 3 year old was being used as a scratching post. I also wrestled w/ whether or not to declaw the other 2 which are approximately the same age. After lengthy discussion with my husband at the time I agreed to declaw them too. Again I'm glad. My male cat has a tendency to attack without any warning. His bites are bad enough I can't imagine if he had claws. I mainly keep them indoors but my oldest cat especially whines if she can't go out. She's 15 years old and hasn't had a problem. Trust me they can still defend themselves and I have 2 puncture wounds in my leg to prove it. When cats are declawed its done safely and under anesthesia. I have a question for all of you who think it is very inhumane and scold us who have decided to do it. Do you have boys or are you a boy? Is your boy or yourself circumcised? After all you weren't born that way. Do you know that circumcision is performed w/o anesthesia? Some doctors don't even use lidocaine. I know this b/c I am a neonatal ICU RN. If a cat is declawed yet in a loving home and very happy then I don't see the harm. Oh and all of my cats are rescue cats and spayed and newtered which is also technically an elective surgery. I'm just saying don't be so quick to judge. Better a declawed cat in a happy home than a none declawed cat in a shelter waiting to be euthanized.
 
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care4animals responded:
I don't think it should be done. period.


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