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Declawing cats is approved by majority of pet owners

By Dr. Andrew Jones

The results of this poll surprised me.

Cats scratch and dogs bark. Is declawing or debarking the answer?

Nearly 60 percent of American pet owners, including 55 percent of cat owners, say it is OK to have a cat declawed, but only 8 percent approve of having a dog’s vocal cords removed, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll.

My thoughts?

Both procedures are unethical.

I have never removed a dog’s vocal chords, and I stopped performing declawing in my Veterinary practice over 10 years ago.

These procedures are painful- inspite of using pain medication.

On top of that they are permanent, altering basic instincts.

Your cat can NO longer walk normally, or defend himself.

Your dog loses his basic ability to communicate.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Please leave a comment…

Dr Andrew


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Topics: Cat Care, Cat Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 105 Comments »

105 Responses to “Declawing cats is approved by majority of pet owners”

  1. Avatar Betty Sribnik Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I would say that the majority of pet owners are pretty ignorant about this procedure. When the poor kitty wakes up from this elective mutilation, they are in severe pain. It often changes their personality. Many times they start biting since that is their only defense and will associate the litter box with pain and develop inappropriate elimination habits. It is usually because the owner is too lazy to cut the cat’s nails to protect their precious furniture. Most of the rescues I work with will not adopt to anyone who declaws. They do vet checks to make sure they don’t!!!

  2. Avatar Vicki Abbas Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I agree with you to not declaw or debark an animal. That is very inhumane. If God meant for them to be like that He would have created them without claws or vocal chords. What is wrong with people? That’s just mean.

  3. Avatar Nancy Cleveland Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Thank you, Dr. Andrew, for not being a party to these mutilations. We sterilize for the good…and later..health of our companions but declawing and debarking is selfish motivation I have never comprehended. One wants a cat? So…we know they have claws, know WHY they have claws; want a dog…we know they bark and why. Why have either one if it’s to be this “conditional”? Too lazy to train them? Then again I feel the same way with regards to cropping ears and docking tails….

  4. Avatar Elaine Wax Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Declawing cats is like a human cutting off their toes! I can see having their claws filed down, but declawing is ghastly! And cutting a dog’s vocal cords; outrageous!

  5. Avatar kate lake Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:20 am


  6. Avatar Margaret bensusan Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:21 am

    How cruel can a human being be to declaw a cat or to remove a dog vocal chords.
    The vogal chords I had Never about.
    Why have a pet???

  7. Avatar Ursula Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:21 am

    I agree with not declawing, could never think of doing such a thing! However, when looking for a new mature cat to adopt (I like to have two so they have company when we are out. I only consider cats that have been declawed (lots of them in shelters). Our first cat was declawed and don’t want one to have an advantage over the other.

  8. Avatar Sherryl M. Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Both proceedures are inhumane. People need to be educated.

  9. Avatar Valerie Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Declawing cats and removing dogs’ vocal chords should be illegal.
    People who want cats who can’t scratch and dogs who can’t bark should never we pet owners in the first place.

  10. Avatar Cindy C Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:32 am

    When I was younger , I worked in a veterinary practice that did both declawing as well as many debarking proceedures.

    I agree with Dr.Jones here. Each and every dog and cat that went through these proceedures were in horrible pain and fear when they awoke. The dogs needed to be “hung” by their back feet after the surgery (for a set number of minutes)on the table while still under the anesthetic so once the cords were cut this would allow the blood to come out.

    It was barbarrac to witness. And many dogs in time relearned how to bark again because the owners didn’t even take the steps necessary to retrain the dog after the surgery not to bark or even try. So it was often all for not.

    And the cat declaws I assisted with made my stomach turn. This vet even would declaw the back feet leaving the poor animal completely defenceless.

    I think it should be made illegal and call it what it is …. inhumane treatment of an animal. I think all owners who have these proceedures done on their dogs and cats should have to watch it done so they realize just what they have put their pet through.

    Keep up the great work Andrew.

  11. Avatar Jayne Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I have never declawed a cat and try to dissuade people from doing so, but with the cat population as high as it is, if it means the difference between a cat being declawed to stay in a home or being taken to the pound and more than likely put down, then which is the lesser of two evils?

  12. Avatar Judy Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I agree with above, all cats I have adopted (pet finders is great) have been declawed. I don’t think I could do it to a cat myself but I look for it when I adopt. I also have parrots and I want to be sure there won’t be any accidents (cat reaching in thru cage bars). I also adopt older cats, they are lazy like me!! I’ve had wonderful cats and people please adopt your animals, there are SO many that need a home.

  13. Avatar Lisa Champ Paluck Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Dr. Jones, I have been one of those cat people who use to declaw the front paws. I never thought of it as harming my little friends, and other than changing the kitty litter for awhile did not seem to be a problem for them. However, the cat we have now was not declawed, and any future ones won’t be either (my sons would never speak to me again).
    Years ago, an ex-boss had a party at her house. As we were all sitting in the living room chatting, I kept hearing this very strange sound coming from outside. I finally asked Pam what that strange noise was, and she said it was her two dogs who had their vocal cords removed. I was horrified that anyone would do that to their dogs, and asked her why….she said her neighbors had complained about them barking too loud…..It just showed what kind of person she was. As far as the vet that did the procedure, I hope they went out of business……Animals have feelings too, and I’m sure they knew they didn’t sound ‘right’…….That is the only time I ever encountered something like that during my 61 years, thankfully.

  14. Avatar chris Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:38 am

    I think most people don’t realize how detrimental it is for a cat or a dog.The ramifications ought to be spelled out by the vet.

  15. Avatar millie H Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Never would declaw. I just lost my 15 y.o. cat
    (unknown reason). As he got older I could see
    he was having trouble walking, favoring a leg,
    and he was weak. He needed his claws for the
    little climbing he could do, from low to higher

  16. Avatar Jim Brownlee Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I could not agree more. Our cats (2) love to spend time outside. We live in the woods in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and while they never leave the property, an occasional stray shows up and a fight ensues. A rare occurrence, but defenses are vital none the less. How many of those pet owners would like to be in a knife fight without a knife?
    And the vocal chords! Oh my gosh! My Bulldog has a very loud and deep bark, annoying at times, but also alerts me to the presence of someone in the driveway or coming to the door, not to mention defending the house or my truck. Aside from that, she talks to me in many different ways more than she barks. I could not imagine my companion not being able to talk to me!

  17. Avatar Becky Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I agree Dr. Jones. I worked in a vet for a while as a groomer. Sometimes I would go visit the sick animals that had to stay there for a while. It broke my heart to see these little kittys with their paws bandaged. They looked so sad. Declawing and removing a dogs vocal chords are both forms of animal abuse. I can’t imagine any veterinarian doing either one.

  18. Avatar Sis Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:58 am

    It is illegal to have cats declawed in Britian and Ireland. They also no longer crop dogs ears, like dobermans.
    People who declaw their cats never let them leave the house, so there is never a need to defend themselves. These cats become their “kids” and the idea that something could happen to them as they are out living a normal cats life is unthinkable, and if they are to be inside, well then they also can’t wreck the furniture.
    Indoor/outdoor cats have great lives, and you can train your cat to come in at night and let it out in the day when it is less likely to get hurt. But no animal is safe from any unforeseen accident. This is a part of a quality cat/dog/person’s life and as hard as it is to acknowledge reality, a quality life for any animal has its hazards…unless, of course they can’t leave the house. I find that unless the house if big enough, cats can become neurotic.
    But like everything, if it is an acceptable and common practice, cat owners never think about it and consider it a reasonable alternative. And I guess it is better than these cats being put-down and unloved. No one can disagree that the vast majority of these indoor declawed cats are very much loved and cared for. So in the scheme of things if it is still legal and available it is the owners choice, so long as it is an informed one. And like any handicap, a cat does adjust to it. Is it the best quality of life from a cat’s view-point? Probably not, but then again we are not looking at it from its eyes, but our own, and lets not forget that these cats are very much loved and cared for and often provide the owner with needed companionship and pleasure that perhaps other animals that require more care could not. People who declaw their cats are also usually making a commitment to care for their cats for the lifetime of their pets, and that isn’t a bad thing.
    I have never declawed any of my cats, nor ever would, but I understand why others might. Is it cruel? Maybe. But there are a lot of things more cruel than indoor loved cats in our pet world….

    I though would NEVER agree or advocate taking out the vocal cords of a dog…now that IS taking it a step too far.

  19. Avatar Margaret Churchill Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I agree 110% with you Dr.Jones!! I think it’s cruel and unethical to alter any part of an animal’s body. God created them this way- purrfectly and I would rather have scratched furniture and a healthy happy cat than ‘the perfect house furniture’ and a cat that is in pain and miserable. I guess some animal lovers just get it….that this loving creature is here for our benefit and we should respect that. How would they like it if the tables were turned and all their nails were cut off? It’s wrong!
    Also, to cut a dog’s vocal chords to stop them barking is a crime! What is the world coming too??
    Margaret Churchill-Animal Reiki

  20. Avatar Mary Beninato Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Do owners give any thought of how a cat that is allowed outside or gets out will defend themselves. They can’t climb a tree to get away or fight to defend themselves. My son has a large indoor dog that will bark if someone comes near the property. A policeman told me a barking dog is the best decurity system on could have.

  21. Avatar Patricia Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I don’t believe in either of those procedures, as I love it when I talk to my animals and they respond with a whine, a bark, a growl, and my cats with a purr or a meow. But I do have a rescue cat that used to be a cuddly cat when I first got her. Now if she want attention she comes to you, but you touch her and she is gone. You pick her up and claws come out, and can’t hold her or get a hold of her to cut her claws, so in some cases it is not lazyness on the owners part it is unable to get done. She now goes into hiding and comes out when I am at work and the house gets work over by her. furniture, plants, and if I wanted the caps put on her claws I have to take her to vet and get her sedated for this to be done, every 6 weeks way to expensive especially here.

  22. Avatar Mary Beninato Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Do owners give any thought of how a cat that is allowed outside or gets out will defend themselves. They can’t climb a tree to get away or fight to defend themselves. My son has a large indoor dog that will bark if someone comes near the property. A policeman told me a barking dog is the best security system on could have.

  23. Avatar Mary Beninato Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Do owners give any thought of how a cat that is allowed outside or gets out will defend themselves. They can’t climb a tree to get away or fight to defend themselves. My son has a large indoor dog that will bark if someone comes near the property. A policeman told me a barking dog is the best security system one could have.

  24. Avatar CJ Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I see no reason to declaw.
    BUT, dogs bark and continue to bark after being “bark altered”. They just bark softer, sometimes saving them from being euthanized for incessant barking. Lots of dogs are bred to bark, shelties bark to move livestock. They can be great companions, still barking, but quieter. Vocal cords are not removed, just have a notch cut out, not through the neck, but down the throat, with no down time, they wake up barking, jut quietly!

  25. Avatar Suzy Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I agree with other comments that many don’t understand how serious the procedure is and it’s negative affects on cats. I will never declaw my cats. My first cat as a teen many years ago was declawed due to my parents trusting advise from their vet at the time. I saw how it affected her for the rest of her life and I vowed I’d never allow it again. It’s too cruel and there are other more humane things you can do to protect against
    scratching. No furniture is worth the love of a cat who trusts me! I don’t see people removing digits of dogs’ toes if they scratch up doors and other property. Why cats?

  26. Avatar Leanne Teel Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I firmly believe declawing is a horrible thing to do to a cat. I’ve researched it and it’s such an ugly thing. I have 20 cats, they are trained to scratch thier tree, yes you can train them. If declawing is so great then why do those declawed cats end up in a shelter? But they do because some can handle the change and some can’t, and they develope behavioral issues. Sad. People need to be educated before doing anything. I have taught people how to clip thier cats claws, put on the pretty colerful plastic claws for problem cats because i’ve taken literature to show what declawing a cat does and what it could do.
    I’m against it, make it illegal in the US

  27. Avatar Deanna Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Unfortunately for an acquaintance who had a very much loved Maine Coon, whom she got declawed – she used to let him out in the yard from time to time – unattended. One day a neighboring dog ran through their yard (no fence in front), got a hold of the cat and killed him because he was unable to climb a tree to get away or use his front claws to defend himself. She heard her cat’s last scream. Her furniture was more important to her than her cat and if she gets another cat, she still intends to have it declawed. Adopt an already declawed cat? Nope, she wants a kitten that she can mutilate so that it will “bond” with her. Some people never learn.

  28. Avatar Watson Wilson Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I work at a vet clinic and with the new laser procedures, advanced multi-modal pain medicines, and high standards available in the best veterinary hospitals, it is not uncommon for us to see cats playing in their cages a few hours after surgery. There are good studies conducted by veterinary behaviorists on large numbers of cats that show that declawing does NOT have long-term negative behavioral effects. As someone who has personally both used soft paws and had my own cats declawed, I can say unequivocally that declawing was much LESS painful and less traumatic than repeatedly applying glue that caused long-term nail sensitivity every 4-6 weeks to my cat.
    When a cat can be a great pet for 20 years by undergoing a procedure that is no more painful than a neutering or spaying vs. being given up to the pound for euthanasia for destroying the furniture and the rest of the house, it seems INHUMANE NOT to declaw it.

  29. Avatar Yvonne Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Hi Andrew,
    I was horrified to read that so many people have their cats declawed & so many think it is okay to do it. I have had cats since I was a small child & my last beautiful lady died nearly 4 years ago from a stroke. I have three dogs (little ones) now & I would never consider ever of having their vocal cords removed & believe me at times when the doorbell rings & three dogs bark to let you know that someone is there it is very loud. How cruel people are. As a child of about 8 my thumb nail was removed due to my biting them & my mother tried everything to stop me biting them but the thumb became badly infected so it was an operation to remove it. I am 70 today & I can still feel the pain & throbbing that having that nail removed caused & for months later. If cats are trained as kittens & bought the proper scratching boards & so forth they will do very little damage. Mine never caused me any trouble. The claws are all they have to defend themselves with. A dog barks because it usually is trying to let you know something. To say I am horrified at the people that do this is an understatement. People call themselves animal lovers & do this sort of thing. Remove one of their nails & let them see what the pain is like.
    Sorry Andrew but I am disgusted to think people would do this to either a cat or a dog then have the hide to say they “love them”. Just at the moment my oldest little dog Angel whom I took on as a four year old was a shockingly abused. A disc went in her back last Friday night & I rushed her to the vet & because of the pain she was in & all of her other medical problems the vet kept her in the hospital until the next day. She barked half the night while there & her little bark is still not back to normal she is still horse from it & I love every bark she makes. My other little one lets me know by her bark that Angel is having a fit. If Sasha did not bark I would not know Angel was fitting because I cannot watch Angel the whole time so Sasha lets me know by the tone of her bark to come quickly. How would I go if there vocal cords were removed. This topic really hit nerve with me on both counts. Still cannot believe people would do this to something they are supposed to love.

  30. Avatar ML Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    NEVER, NEVER would I do this to a living being! If you want a pet, DEAL WITH IT that they have habits which annoy. We probably annoy them a lot, too, but they love us anyhow. Horrible procedures!

  31. Avatar Barbara Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Disabling one’s pet on purpose in oreder to suit our petty wants is selfish and irresponsible. If you put your wants before another living being’s needs, well I call that being arrogant and horrible! Indoor cats have no need to be declawed, I can’t see a single reason for it, if it’s about the furniture, well that’s what scratching posts are for! And if it’s the fear of being scratched let me tell you one thing, cats scratch for a reason! A cat doesn’t just need claws as defence, but also as a vital climbing tool, and as an integral part of their spine health, when they scratch they stretch also, keeping supple and healthy. Declawed cats walk in a way that tells all about how much pain they are enduring, and for their entire lives, and for no reason other than a vet’s greed and an owner’s selfishness. Whoever justifies that should have the equivalent of declawing (fingers cut off) performed on themselves. As for debarking dogs, that is also madness! Would you cut your kids’ vocal cords if they kept screaming and annoying the neighbours? I’d rather move home than harm my own family members, thank you!

  32. Avatar lgb Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Ok…..plan to go to your Dr after dropping off your faithful precious kitty…..and have your fingernails removed….at least your nails will grow back in!

  33. Avatar Andrea Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Good for you that you dont peform that horrific surgery on cats. If you are concerned about cats scratching furniture you should not have cats. Its a mean selfish and painful thing to do to an animal.

  34. Avatar Paula Powers Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I own three cats at present, used to have four, but one died of cancer. None of my cats that I have presently are declawed, no cat that I have ever had was declawed-I think it is a barbaric practice. As to debarking dogs-I want my dog to bark to warn me if something isn’t right, or that someone is at the door-that is one of the main reasons I adopted her-to protect me, to protect my home. I deeply love all of my pets and would never dock ears, tails, or alter them in any way-God created animals to be as they were made and it is bad enough that we have tampered with nature to breed animals that are not as originally created. My cats and dog are all “mutts” all rescued, all neutered or spayed so as to keep the population of animals down, but they are “natural animals” not cosmetically altered to suit some human’s idea of beauty or whatever.

  35. Avatar tk Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    It is hard to judge when you don’t know the reasons behind. I have a handicapped nephew who loves cats. When he gets hurt, he will not let you attend to his wounds. A cat scratch or bite – as we all know – can become quite infected.

    Nine years ago, I was at my grandmother’s property and there were (and probably still are) ferral cats who had just had litters. My cousin decided she was going to control the ferral population and took all of the kittens away from the mothers as soon as they were born (guess she did not realize this would put the mothers straight back in heat and be hard on them). Anyway, she left for vacation and left these 2 week old kittens in a box outside in the middle of summer – she is not the brightest lightbulb in the box.

    Her sister found the kittens and brought them out. I fell in love with a little grey one and brought him home with me (didn’t know it at the time but should have brought his sibling as well). Took him to the vet and all was well.

    He had one issue though, his claws and teeth were the size of a full grown domesticated cat. And he used them well. My nephew was over all of the time and I did not have time to train him to not hurt my nephew. So I had him declawed (all four) for the protection of my nephew.

    I was up all night with him crying the first night I brought him home. In addition to being declawed – he has other issues and does not handle conventional medications at all. My husband (fiance’ at the time) was going to propose to me the night he came home. We had already had theatre tickets and he was going to take me on a horse and buggy ride after. I asked him if we could just come home after the theatre – not knowing about his other plans.

    He got this bit of a sad look and said that it was ok. He proposed to me then – it was the sweetest proposal I could have ever gotten. He knew how much it pained me to have done what I did.

    I am not a proponent of declawing either – but some circumstances require. Since, he has been the most spoiled cat and he knows it. We have provided plenty of entertainment for him, plenty of running room. He is never cold, never gets in a fight, and is well loved and cared for.

    I was not able to have children so he became our child – who without his permission gained a “sibling” at the age of 3. He let us know that “being the alpha male” we did not get his permission to bring a “cat” of all things into his world. They get along great now.

    Thanks for reading.

  36. Avatar Bev Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Well I pretty much agree with everyone here. I am glad to hear of those that like to adopt those without claws. That means house cat only. Also, those that liket the older ones.
    I also think, especially cats should be adopted by 2’s. That is 2 from the same litter. That way they are happier. I know when I seperate my new little ones they do complain!
    I would never declaw! Just for their protection alone.
    As for the dogs, I would rather see their vocals taken out than put down.
    I do like to take in cats that they are about to put down. The ones no one else wants! They may be the ‘problem’ kitties but I will work with that.
    I also tend to feed any cat I see that ‘moves’, it might be hungry.
    Oh, one more thing. I will not use the clumping litter. That stuff get on the feet. Then kitty being very clean, washes the feet, then it is in the system. Imagine eating cement!
    A tip I just heard about. To take care of those parasites: Put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in the water. Works for both Dogs and Cats I am told.

  37. Avatar lynn a Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Any kind of mutilation to a pet should be prohibited including docking tails and ears! All of it is inhumane in my opinion.

  38. Avatar Joney Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Shocking that pet owners are so inhuman and in such a high percentage! Was this a world wide poll or just American? These are barbaric, violent and downright evil practices and should be banned. I don’t understand why the Veterinary associations or vets speak up against it in unison. Just think, as a human, would we like it if some alien were to remove our vocal cords becaufse they didn’t like the way we sounded, and break our toes and fingers so that we could not exercise our will?

  39. Avatar Dana Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I have 13 cats, nary a one is de-clawed. Couldn’t bring myself to do it once I found out what exactly is done to the poor kitties paws.
    Our couches which are old anyway are pretty much wrecked and some of the wood furniture is scratched, so are a couple of door jams.
    Sure they use the scratching posts but still use the furniture too. Train them???? hahahahahaha!
    Sure wish I knew THAT secret…lol.
    Love your furniture that much??? Don’t get ANY animals…AT ALL! (Or have any kids for that matter…)
    I suppose you could get a horse…they live in a barn. But that’s a whole nother kettle of fish, so to speak.

  40. Avatar Joney Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Shocking that pet owners are so inhuman and in such a high percentage! Was this a world wide poll or just American? These are barbaric, violent and downright evil practices and should be banned. I don’t understand why the Veterinary associations or vets speak don’t up against it in unison and in great numbers Just think, as a human, would we like it if some alien were to remove our vocal cords because they didn’t like the way we sounded, and break our toes and fingers so that we could not exercise our will?

  41. Avatar Joney Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Shocking that pet owners are so inhuman and in such a high percentage! Was this a world wide poll or just American? These are barbaric, violent and downright evil practices and should be banned. I don’t understand why the Veterinary associations or vets don’t speak up against it in unison and in great numbers Just think, as a human, would we like it if some alien were to remove our vocal cords because they didn’t like the way we sounded, and break our toes and fingers so that we could not exercise our will?

  42. Avatar Joney Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Response to TK

    t is hard to judge when you don’t know the reasons behind. I have a handicapped nephew who loves cats. When he gets hurt, he will not let you attend to his wounds. A cat scratch or bite – as we all know – can become quite infected.

    This is the most ridiculous reason for de-clawing that I have come across, not that there is any reason for de-clawing at all. Animals were not made for aunt’s to coddle their nephews. Animals have their own lives, their own existence over and above human’s enjoyment of their “pet” or should I say “slaves”? If you were so concerned and love your nephew, you should not have gotten the kitten in the first place. I do not sympathize with you at all and your reasoning is flawed and selfish.

  43. Avatar Linda Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:52 am

    If you have a small kitten and you want to declaw do it then
    though only do it if your cat never goes out

    I beleive in declawing cats do claw everything but find a good vet
    this is painful make sure your cat will get good pain medicine

    ITs better to do it when there little then older so they forget about it when there bigger

  44. Avatar Dianne Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I am so glad that you brought this up and do not declaw. We adopted a cat that had already been declawed and it took him years to allow us to touch his front paws. He must have still experienced pain and/or remembered the painful event. The cardboard scratching post works great, esp. with catnip, for our other cats with claws.
    The former owners that had him declawed dumped him outside in our neighborhood. He was defenseless against dogs and predators.
    I will not go to vets that condone declawing.
    I am not for having a dog’s vocal cords removed nor having their ears docked.

  45. Avatar Connie Mar Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 8:58 am

    People who have their cats declawed are ignorant and lazy. Trimming a cats claws and training them to scratch in appropriate places is what is needed to “protect” furniture and people.

    I used to work as a physical therapist with patients who had amputations – phantom pain is very real and excruciating. Imagine walking on the stubs the rest of your life. Yes, some cats may not seem to be harmed by this inhumane procedure, but most are.

    There is a reason cat declaw is banned in many countries. It is only for the profit of the vet and the so-called convenience of the pet parent.

    If your child has a behavior that you don’t like, will you have surgery performed to alter the child?

  46. Avatar Thelma Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Declawing is absolutely injumane and cruel. If by some accident the little guy gets outside it would not have much chance of protecting itself. This procedure along with debarking our dogs should be completely against the law and prosecuted very strongly. I don`t care what people`s argument for it is! IT IS CRUEL and absolutely avoidable. Train your pets.

  47. Avatar Katie Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    The survey shows where 60 % of these people origin from, the scum of Europe, lucky us they left. These procedures are barbaric and not heard of in Europe, even in pet abusive France. Vets who perform procedures like that should have their license revoked and put into prison for life after minor surgery to their fingers and vocal chords. They are not vets but simple butchers. People who prefer that procedure are not lazy but right down stupid, they don’t have the intelligence to keep and train an animal so they resort to this kind of tactic. I think it’s genetic.

  48. Avatar Sis Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    If you want to stop declawing or debarking….you have to change the law that allows it.

  49. Avatar Hayden Moore Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I absolutely agree, these are both barbaric practices. We looked ater a declawed cat when the owners were away and refused to give it back when they returned. We just felt so very sorry for it.

    It enjoys your feline vitamins.

    Hayden Moore

  50. Avatar annette Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I think in most cases it says more about the owners not wanting to be involved in training the animal than it does about the “problems” os having such an animal. ALL my cats scratched the furniture….all of them learned (for the most part) to scratch at their posts and get regular nail clips. OK, in the process a few things have some claw marks in them, but to me, why do you think they call it FURRRniture. It is meant to serve both man and beast. I pray that the STUFF in my home will never take priority over those who live in it. – EVER-
    As far as dogs, well there I can’t say. My dogs were trainable to not bark except when a stranger approached until they were given the signal from a family member that it was OK, this person could be trusted. I’ve heard of training colors that give mild shocks when they bark. Not sure that is much better and not realizing the extent of the surgery’s ability to lower (rather than remove) their vocal ability, can’t say much.

    I realize there *may be* exceptions to any rule, but they are to be few and far between.

    For those who say that cats who are declawed are forever indoors. Have you ever seen how many end up in shelters? You have no idea how the next owner will treat them. Life doesn’t always turn out as we expect.

    We are to PROTECT and CARE for these little ones, not modify them for OUR CONVENIENCE.
    Seriously, in college I did research on child/elderly abuse. The way a society treats (disrespects) animals directly reflects in the numbers of cases of child/elderly abuse in the same nation. Respect for life begins with respect for ALL life.

  51. Avatar Dana Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for this article and the variety of responses. I’ve had a variety of cats, never declawed (a barbaric practice). One feral simply wished to remain wild: cuddly one minute then suddenly she would get a far-off look in her eyes and attack, holding my wrist with front claws, batting my arm with back claws, and biting deep little wounds in my hand. I was thankful for Bacitracin and stretchy self adhering gauze. Eventually Alice ran away into the woods, to return periodically, sit at a distance, and just say hello before rushing off again. Sort of a feline White Fang.
    We know that the English are more civil than we. They not only forbid surgeries such as you describe, but also reject dogs from the show ring if they have been “MUTILATED,” the very appropriate term they use for tail and ear amputation.
    I have a question about spaying and neutering: I have been told by a breeder-trainer friend that the veterinary profession is casting severe doubts on these processes being done before the animal is 18 months of age. They say makes dogs highly vulnerable to bone cancer later in life. Please comment, Dr Jones.

  52. Avatar Nance Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I would never debark a dog. I have two the breeder debarked previous to them coming to live with me. Poor Storm has problems now whether from scar tissue or what but he regurgitates every meal and it is so sad to watch. He also has his full bark back – that is good – he loves to let me know what is going on outside. Little Tiffy did not get her bark back. What a cruel thing to deprive a dog of their means of communication.

  53. Avatar Nina Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I disagree that it is inhumane to declaw cats. I’ve had three cats since living on my own and all 3 had their front claws removed. They did not become nasty cats, they used their litter box without issue till the day 2 of them died, still were able to scratch themselves (using back claws) and didn’t resort to biting each other or anyone else.

    The cost of declawing them far outweighed what it would have cost me in furniture and wood replacement in my homes. I had one that would attached herself to the wall and affix herself to wood frames and swing in the air!! The other would pick up cushions and carry them w/ him and use them as scratch posts.

    I tried everything before going the route of declawing them to no avail. My male lived to be 16 yrs and my female to almost 20 yrs. Both lived with dogs w/ no issue. They NEVER went outside. To let them outside w/out claws to defend themselves is inhumane. I knew when I had them declawed they would never go outside and were OK w/ being indoors. I would never have brought a dog into the house that I feared would hurt them.

    My female w/out claws lived well w/ other cats I brought in w/out issue and was still the Queen of the household – even w/ the dog. But this is because I managed behaviors not their managing mine or each others.

    I now have 2 cats – a female who is declawed because she has and still does use my furniture as a scratching post. I took in a male stray about 2 yrs ago now and he’s got his claws and will keep them. He USES his scratching post NOT my furniture. He’s also good w/ my other cat and dog – despite having claws he doesn’t use them when playing with either of them. He realizes the other cat doesn’t have them.

    My plea to people would be if you declaw them do not let them outside and make sure you’ve decided they are with you for their natural life since you are consciously altering their ability to defend themselves; you’re their defense now.

    I’m not opposed to declawing for the right reasons. Debarking I have no experience with fortunately as I’ve never had a problem with my dogs in this area. I do think that if I had a dog that barked and I’d truly exhausted all other options I may consider it but again I haven’t had to walk in those shoes and hope I don’t have to. I have walked in the shoes as an avid cat lover where nothing I did changed behavior so I had to make the declaw decision and I’ve never regretted it with any of my 3. I make the declaw decision on a cat by cat basis and how they behave knowing they won’t go outside and they have a home with me for life.

  54. Avatar LesB Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    First of all I just plain DO NOT BELIEVE this poll! It’s just too bizarre. Dr. Jones, is this poll from a reputable source? Even if it is, statistics lie sometimes, and when they go in the face of common sense it’s time to take a closer look.
    For those that approve of declwing cats for whatever reason, seriously think about how you’d feel about having your finger nails and toe nails surgically removed! I despise the attitude that animals are considered somehow below humans when it comes to abusive treatment.

  55. Avatar kiwi smit Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Terrible, barbaric practices. Animals aren’t here to fulfill our needs. They are great companions, true, but they as all nature must be respected.

  56. Avatar Jenna Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Absolutuely DREADFUL! I am outraged whenever I hear that pet parents feel these procedures are ok. I knew virtually nothing about felines until 3 years ago whenever my husband gave me two lovely orange kittens for my birthday. One thing I did instinctly know was that declawing seemed both unnatural and cruel; and this was before i began reading, researching, and studying the feline species. I have several co-workers who have declawed and even a friend! I am stunned when I hear from them that this practice is acceptable. I see the joy my cats get when they sprint over to their condo and scratcher and extend their little bodies to begin their scratching routines. They look sooooo happy and I could not even fathom taking that pleasure away from them. Cats have descended from the “big” cats…let these domesticated house pets retain some of their natural “wild” self….as Martha Steawart says…”its a good thing” 🙂 PS. The little sweeties turn three next week!!!

  57. Avatar Jeffrey Coolwater Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 11:53 am

    In a way, though it is terribly saddening, I am not surprised at the results of this poll. As an Abolitionist Vegan, I have come to be increasingly aware of the ignorance or disconnection most people have with regard to nonhuman animals in general.

    While I strongly support the foster and adoption of existing “companion” animals, I also feel the whole Institution of “pets” represents centuries of manipulative exploitation and should ultimately be abolished along with all other animal use. Most people, when confronted with the cruelty involved in “food” animal use for example, are outraged. Unfortunately, few understand there is no such thing as “humane” exploitation. The same is true of pets. We allow millions of animals to be brought into a completely unnatural and dependent existence constantly. And many millions of them end up neglected, abused, abandoned, and euthanized every day. And as the poll results suggest, many are mutilated needlessly as well.

    I encourage readers who so obviously love their pets so dearly, while consuming and using others at the same time, to learn more about this “moral schizophrenia” our species suffers from and to learn more about what justice and respect for animals really means. Visit http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

  58. Avatar Ellen McGrory Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    See – only the people who know what is involved have responded here. I just think people don’t know and if their vet approves they think it is okay. We never did the ears on our Dobie’s either, but their tails were already gone when we got them. My vet wouldn’t have done it anyway.

  59. Avatar Philis Raskind Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I suppose when man’s cruelty to animals no longer exists, he will then come to the realization that cruelty to human kind is not good either. Aaah, what a better place our world could be.
    Philis Raskind

  60. Avatar Janiss Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Who are these people who took this poll? I live in the U.S. and NO ONE I know approves of declawing cats, especially after learning the truth about this cruel and maiming procedure. But then, I live in California, where we are a little more enlightened about such things. Several cities, including the one I live in, have outlawed declawing.

  61. Avatar marja Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I’m a cat-sitter and have one kitty client who was de-clawed. She seems tolerant of her condition, but one night as I was petting her and caressing her little paws, I noticed heavy callouses on the tips of her front paw-pads, just below where her claws would have come out. 🙁

    Poor baby. I wish her mom had discussed it with me before getting the operation. Kitty is tolerant of having her paws handled — very gently — but those callouses made me think. They really DO need their claws, even for some balance when they walk. [And the fact that baby cat was tolerant of having her paws handled begs the question, “why didn’t “mom” simply clip her claws?”]

    I have heard of the laser procedure &c. but still definitely recommend AGAINST de-clawing if any of my clients ask me about it. I demonstrate with a chopping motion on my fingers, right above my fingernails. Then I say, “imagine your pet gets outside, even for a few minutes. How will she defend herself if need be?”

    De-barking? Sounds absolutely heinous. Get a breed that isn’t so “bark-y” if you live in an uptight neighborhood. [Frankly it’s one of the reasons I prefer cats; they do not bark bark bark for what seems to me to be no reason — maybe, as cartoonist Gary Larson suggested in a memorable drawing, they’re just saying, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”. I know the *dogs* have their reasons! We humans just can’t hear or smell them!]

    It shocks me that 60% of Americans still believe in performing this procedure, which seems to me to be almost solely a profit-maker for kind of skeezy vets. [But then, Americans make a lot of dubious choices re: important decisions. Just look at our politics]

    I am always glad to hear of vets who refuse to perform this procedure, along with de-barking, docking &c.

    Those of my cats who cannot stop clawing my furniture I still love. I try to discourage them from it by giving them TALL, STURDY scratch- posts, enhanced by catnip, but they each have their personal “ways” about them and sometimes ignore “mommy’s” strictures. I love them anyway.

    Many problems can occur subsequent to de-clawing and that is why many de-clawed cats wind up in shelters, but these cats were many times owned by insensitive idiots in the first place, who would not, could not, work with their cats to overcome issues disturbing to the owner. Re-homed, these cats have a much better chance at a sweet life, even de-clawed.

  62. Avatar dora kreymborg Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Veterinarians who perform ‘mutilation’ such as declawing, debarking, cutting the earflaps and the tails of animals are the main culprirts of all this animal cruelty. Dr. Jones you are trully helping animals by educating the public about health,nutrition and natural home-therapies. Science Diet is saturated with very poor quality ‘cheap’ ingredients and artificial flavor. Veterinarians sell Science Diet because they get high ‘commission’ from the manufacturer.

  63. Avatar AJ Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    People seem to think something is “OK” if they themselves are guilty of it. They will rationalize ad nauseum how they truly exausted all other options had no choice, better than euthanizing etc. If one values inanimate possesions like furnature more than a living sentient being they do not deserve the love and comfort animals provide. We all make mistakes but better we should learn from them and not make them again than keep rationalizing our wrong actions. Shelters are full of declawed cats because they develop other “unacceptable” behaviors. But if a human continues to commit crimes we keep giving them more and more “chances” This arrogant self loving above all else is killing our entire planet and many have clearly lost their capacity to love others as we should already. Any animal mutilation for human conveniences is plain wrong. Vets keep doing it because they worship money more than they care about what they are doing to another living being. They too will rationalize how their “special blend of pain meds makes it humane for them to do” Just excuses excuses! How I hope judgement day for all who would hurt others in any way will be equally painful as they stutter and stammer through their empty “excuses” We need to get over ourselves and realize yes we do make bad decisions and mistakes but to keep doing them over and over knowing fully well the harm they inflict makes me see those as non sentient beings. Maybe we can do unto them some of their justified cruelties.Its all EVIL

  64. Avatar Dale Says:
    August 19th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I have written about this topic before and am not feeling the least bit guilty about having my cat, Yoshi declawed. We had her done when she got spayed at probably a year of age. She is a Siamese and a beautiful cat, but she was very mean as a baby and vicious with her claws both to people, our other dogs and cat, and of course can’t forget about the carpets she ruined and the lazy boy. It was either find her another home (I did try with no success), put her down or declaw her front feet. She is now a very sweet, loving cat of 16yrs. She is of course an inside cat. I do not regret my decision, we love her to death and silly me, got another Siamese just recently that I am very seriously thinking about getting her claws done as well. She seems to have the same type of temperament as Yoshi. Not at all like my first Siamese. I tell you now, if you had a cat that was that vicious, there is only a few things that are available to you, once you have tried the scratching post, and every time you move the wrong way, you get long painful scratches down your arm, and you can not trust her not to go after a dogs face, perhaps scratching the eye, you would think that isn’t such a bad idea. Even at this age, she doesn’t realize that it is not working for her. Worked for us though 🙂

  65. Avatar Linda Burrell Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    If you wish to declaw or debark go and buy an ornament and leave the real animals for pet and animal lovers……

  66. Avatar Greta Jones Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Fact: The average undeclawed cat has a life span of 6 years.
    Fact: The average declawed indoor cat has a life span of 13-17 years.
    Fact: One abscess from a cat fight with another cat is potentially much more dangerous and painful than a one time declaw procedure. The average undeclawed cat that is allowed outside gets 1-3 abscesses per year.
    Fact: Declawing may seem inhumane, but it is, in fact, the reason millions of cats are able to be in millions of homes where they get infinitely more love and care and live longer, healthier lives than they ever would (if they were not simply picked up by the pound and euthanized).
    Fact: I believe it is inhumane and irresponsible NOT to spay or neuter your cat. These are also potentially risky, painful procedures especially without the proper pain meds but we realize that it is an acceptable risk because of the alternative. The same goes for responsible declawing.
    If you outlaw this HUMANE procedure, you essentially destroy the opportunity for millions of people to experience the joy of cat ownership or you force those owners who have a problem to let them outside where they will experience much more pain, inhumanity, disease, and possibly death.

  67. Avatar Dianne Yonan Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Sorry, I can’t agree with everyone here about declawing. I have declawed my cats for many years now and have never had any of the problems that are mentioned in the above comments. I would never let my kitties outside if they have been declawed or otherwise unless they were leashed or confined in a protective enviroment. So I suppose that neutering and spaying is not a form of “mutilation”?
    Spaying and neutering are painful for a short time as is declawing, but my 12 cats that were declawed came through these procedures fine and never showed any signs of missing their claws. I would not however debark a dog. I feel that that is a totally different situtaion than declawing.
    Calling people evil that do have their cats declwed is extreme. Each to his own opinion.

  68. Avatar Magda Mallory Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I believe that the humans who want to have either of these horrible procedures done should have the procedure done to themselves first, as a prerequisite before the animal procedure. They should be de-nailed and de-barked. Then lets ask them what they think! Oh yes, they will not be able to so easily now!

    My outdoor/indoor cat with claws lived a healthy and active life for 19.5 years.
    I would not clip my Blue Great Dane’s ears either.

  69. Avatar Magda Mallory Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I believe that the humans who want to have either of these horrible procedures done should have the procedure done to themselves first, as a prerequisite before the animal procedure. They should be de-nailed and de-barked. Then lets ask them what they think! Oh yes, they will not be able to so easily now!

    My outdoor/indoor cat with claws lived a healthy and active life for 19.5 years.
    I would not crop my Blue Great Dane’s ears either.

  70. Avatar Karen Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I have had my kitty for over 17 years…with claws intact. I never once even considered declawing even when she tore up my new couch. My three year old pup is a barker…but again, would never do anything surgical to stop her. I have a very hard time respecting vets who do these types of procedures. It’s nice to hear that you never did/stopped!

  71. Avatar Susan Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    My English Setter “Hammer” recently died from complications of being debarked by a vet for the convenience of a registered dog breeder. I found resistance from vets to even help him. He was only 10yo. I believe this is too young for any English Setter or any dog to die. I raised the de-barking issue with the RSPCA in Australia and I was ignored but it was then claimed my letter was never received. I have not had time to re-send because I have been fighting to save Hammer’s life. I wonder if it will make any difference though. In Australia vets are primarily motivated by money which they have placed above caring and compassion. Mutilating procedures like debarking and declawing should have been banned long ago.

  72. Avatar Trudy Scheibe Says:
    August 20th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Over the last 40 years I had many cats ( 3 at one time.All of them in Your care since you opened your praxis.They destroyed at least 2 couches,1 bed and all my carpets in the house.I love my cats dearly and would never consider to declaw them.Now I have only one very happy cat who climbs trees and defents her property .So NO to delawing !!!!!!!!

  73. Avatar del Says:
    August 21st, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I have 5 cats, they were born with claws, and they will die with claws. My dog was born with his vocal cord, and he will also die with his vocord. I would not want someone to come in and have my vocal cord cut out or have me declawed, and why would I do that to someone else? To me that’s just plain selfish. As far as furniture goes, if you love your couch more than your pet, then “don’t have pets”

  74. Avatar Rose Says:
    August 21st, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I absolutely DO not agree with declawing or removing vocal chords… just cut the claes shorter when it gets too long so our pets do not trip over grass or other things but that’s their defence. I had a pet cat & it scratched the underside of my divan bedto ribbons but I accepted that was the nature of cats to scratch.
    As for my present time, though there are times I wished it would not bark so loudly (for a maltese, he’s got a LOUD bark)I would not do a tradeoff but cutting his vocal chords…. love them for what they are – they certainly accept us for our foibles & wierd behaviours too!!

  75. Avatar Arabella Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I linked this article to the Facebook group Declawing CrippledmyPaws.

  76. Avatar Katie Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I agree that de-clawing a cat should be outlawed. People who permit this inhumane procedure to their animals make feeble excuses like handicapped children, expensive furniture or aggressive behaviour. Like all sentient animals, cats can be trained and conditioned to their environment in a positive way. It doesn’t take an Einstein but patients and information about behaviour of animals. Aggressive kittens especially expensive pedigree ones should be vetted by their potential owners, like history of breeder, seeing the parents in action and interaction with other cats or dogs, it will give a clue of why does a kitten react aggressively. It’s not the kittens fault but primarily the breeder who didn’t do his job right. There are even in the US animal behaviour specialists who know their job and can help and they are not too expensive. A vet for advise is a poor option as like everywhere a lot of them are more interested in the welfare of their bank account than the welfare of your pet. Some very good books which I recommend reading are “The Cats Mind” by Bruce Foggle and “Why does my cat….” by Sarah Heath, they are very helpful and informative and hopefully make some people understand that this cruel mutilation of an animal is not necessary. Ignorance about a pets natural need is not a virtue. Spaying or castrating and de-clawing an animal are two completely different subjects, one is necessity and the other one an ignorant and selfish act.

  77. Avatar lynn kalish Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 10:52 am

    It should be illegal to do unnecessary procedures on animals – period! De-clawing cats and removing the vocal chords of dogs are abusive and cruel practices. Both leave the animals with critical health issues and compromised spiritual contentment. Mutilating animals in such ways should never be sanctioned by any vet or pet owner — not for profit and not for convenience!

  78. Avatar Annalisa Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I’m sorry, Greta, but that argument is just ridiculous. Declaw a cat so it can get a home. Give me a break. Similar arguments have been used throughout human history to justify whatever it was that someone wanted to justify (including other forms of cruelty to animals, as well as cruelty to people such as: slavery, forced movements of Native Americans, genocide, etc., etc.). Those types of arguments are illogic at its finest. What about all the MILLIONS of cat owners, including in countries around the world where declawing is illegal, who somehow manage to own a cat, with claws, and survive. If you cannot meet the animal on its own terms, don’t bring it into your life. Get a fish tank that won’t claw your precious furniture, which you can’t take with you when you go anyway. Declawing is NOT comparable to spay/neuter which controls pet overpopulation and reduces aggressive behaviors in pets. Declawing is simply maiming of an animal for NO benefit to the animal, only to the human. It should be illegal and punished severely if it does happen. I don’t agree with de-barking either. It’s as disgusting as de-clawing, especially considering how imminently trainable dogs are, IF the human bothers to invest the time and care in the animal, rather than taking the easy way out.

  79. Avatar arabella Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    This is one more example of how homo sapiens (latin, means ‘wise man’ wtf??) changes his environment to his benefit (just because scratching and barking does not suit his daily life) instead of adjust himself just as any other animal does.
    Only, environment here even means ‘other living creatures’. How egocentric is that? No wonder this species is gradually destroying his own habitat (but even worse, the other animals’ habitat as well).

  80. Avatar arabella Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Greta, FACT: life span is not an argument. A cat put in an artificial coma even has a longer life span than 17 years. The quality of the cat’s life is what counts, not the time span.
    Let the cat be cat and not a creature misformed by man to his benefits.

  81. Avatar Kathleen Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I am former vet tech and I am strongly against declawing because of my experience in assisting with the surgery and the aftercare. The Associated Press was asked after publishing this poll if the respondents knew exactly what declawing entails, and the AP’s response was that giving people that information “would skew the results”. And in that respect, it is a good reflection of people’s true attitudes, because in my experience and according to several studies, the majority of people who know that declawing is amputation elect NOT to have it done. The problem is that not many American vets are as forthcoming with all the facts about declawing as they are ethically bound to be.

  82. Avatar Jacquie Austin Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 1:37 am

    In England we would never do such a cruel thing to our animals.

    My thoughts, “Why keep a dog and bark yourself”?
    What when someone tries to break into their homes?
    It is entirely possible to train dogs to bark or not to bark on command, so what’s wrong with doing that? To lazy I guess!
    I’ve met a debarked Sheltie that came over from America to live here and the other dogs don’t understand what’s wrong with him and his play is being spoiled because of this.
    If you don’t like dogs barking and cats having claws, then “DON’T HAVE ONE”!
    To do this you are deliberately changing the animal from it’s nomal way of life. I cannot believe that veterinarians would ever do this,
    how unethical can you get? And to the people who have this done, “How could you”?

    Jacquie Austin England.

  83. Avatar Muffy Says:
    August 27th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    My cat was declawed 5 years ago and he’s still the same cat he has always been. A great one. He healed just fine. He’s an indoor cat. All this talk about it being terrible for cats is just that, talk. My neighbor’s cat is also declawed. She’s an outdoor cat. She climbs trees, she fights other cats, she’s a healthy happy cat. My neighbor has had her for almost 12 years now. My skin and furniture is important. I love my cat more than material things, but those things are important. We cannot just replace something every time it’s ruined, we’re not rich. We also don’t want painful scratches. My mother has always had cats, but none of them were declawed because she didn’t know too much about it back then. Our very first declawed cat wasn’t even our cat at first. My mother was cat sitting for a friend because that friend was evicted from her place and the person she went to live with didn’t like cats and owned dogs. The cat was sleeping in the trunk, so she asked us to keep her cat until she gets another next place. When she moved into her new place, she never came to get her cat back, so she[the cat] became our cat. We found out declawing was the best thing since sliced bread. She was a great pet for years, but she became sick and we had to put her down, but her declawing played no part in her illness. To tell you the truth, she was more pissed about being spayed(also done before we owned her) than being declawed.

  84. Avatar Coralie Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 6:40 am

    I am honored to know such a kind vet.
    It is difficult to believe that cat and dog owners allow their pets to suffer so much pain and be deprived of their natural instincts.

    Hopefully, it is because they did not know how they change their pet´s natural instincts and put them through so much pain before allowing this. Any other excuse seems more like plain cruelty! It´s better not to be a dog or cat caretaker if doing this is so important. Please find a new kind owner for your pet instead of mutilating it.

  85. Avatar Chantelle Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 8:38 am

    My cats are coming up on 17yrs old. When I got them as kittens I was planning on having kids and made the decision NOT to declaw my cats in case my kids accidentally let them outside. I wanted them to have a way to defend themselves. I started clipping their nails every two weeks right off the bat and have never had any trouble with scratching of furniture or cutting their nails. In fact after a couple years I could walk up to them pick up a paw and clip their nails without holding them.
    NEVER EVER would I consider de-barking my dogs!!! Even with the racket they cause everytime something dares to move outside a window. NEVER!!!

  86. Avatar jean matthews Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I am amazed so many people can be so ignorant , re the welfare and good health of the Pets they have , I dont know why i still get shocked over Peoples behavoir , It is just DISGUSTING NO OTHER WORD WILL DO . It must Stop…..

    jEAN Norfolk England

  87. Avatar Muffy Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    People who do it are not ignorant. Stop believing your opinion is fact.

  88. Avatar Becci Says:
    September 1st, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Both procedures are disgraceful. Humans need to learn that we cant just change everything that isnt to our liking, its deplorable & self absorbed. If you want to share your house, lives with ANY animal, you take it as it is or not at all. If you cant accept it you shouldnt even consider getting a dog or cat, & you should really think about what kind of person you are to think that its acceptable. Animals are better off without you.I have two beautiful Labradors & welcome their communication, I actually feel sickened to think how far humans are prepared to go. When will we learn..probably when its too late. Im overjoyed to know that Dr Andrew Jones perfoms neither.

  89. Avatar Sandra Tucker Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Would never declaw or remove vocals on a dog. How inhumane. I adopted a cat rescued from a fire and discussed declawing and was told she didn’t like doing it because it was very painful to the cat…but she would do it if it meant the cat would have a home. I woul NOT do it. Luckily, Miss Kitty was not a clawer/scratcher. Let dogs and cats be dogs and cats. If humans can’t accommodate them for what they are and make some allowances in their homes, they don’t need pets.

  90. Avatar Irona Deranger Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I am absolutely against cutting the vocal chords on dogs!! They can no longer communicate. You just have to take the time to train your dogs to obey commands.

    Now on the other hand about cats being declawed, I am for it under certain, possitive, responsible people. For example, I had my daughter’s cat declawed, but only the front claws. She is a total HOUSE cat and NEVER goes outside. She is part ferrel cat, so she uses those front claws, if she had them, to rip you apart! There is no way she would fit for inside the house if she had front claws!! She has learned how to use those back claws for climbing onto furniture. There has been no problems with her having no front claws. She is almost 13 yrs. old now. She is only tamed-acting toward my daughter and she loves that cat with all of her heart. I am not looking forward to that cat dying. I’m really worried about my daughter’s mental state when that happens!

    So, in certain circumstances, I believe declawing front claws is okay. If someone’s cat ever goes outside, I do NOT believe in removing the claws! I don’t believe in just declawing for no important reason!

  91. Avatar tk Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 12:24 pm


    Judge lest you be judged – I feel sorry for your children, neices and nephews.

  92. Avatar Alicia Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Humans are the most unhuman beings in this world.
    If people get annoyed with scratches on the sofa or on your arms; go get a toy instead. It will not bark or pee or scratch.
    And there are NO IMPORTANT reason for doing such a crime to our beloved PETS, are hey our beloved pets??? would we do something like to our children?

  93. Avatar mhaey Says:
    September 22nd, 2011 at 7:43 am


  94. Avatar barbara Says:
    September 24th, 2011 at 2:49 am

    you should be arrested if you do such a thing 🙁

  95. Avatar Debbie Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    This topic sickened me to read, and the description of the procedure by the vet nurse made me cringe.
    The capacity of humans to inflict pain on animals astounds me, but what distresses me more are so called professionals who conduct such procedures and financially profit from this. Disgraceful!!
    I had persians who lived inside 24/7, my oldest lasted to 20 years, 10 months. I regularly trimmed their claws since they were kittens, supplied them with an appropriate scratching pole and trained re boundaries. Never did I have a problem.

  96. Avatar AJ Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Every day I am sickened by the capacity for humans to destroy, damage and reek havock on the world and the beautiful animals that want the same things just live and let live. Its high time people start acting responsible and suffer consequences for not doing so. Any one who could so torment a defenseless animal deserves the same done to themselves. This lust and greed for money money money is the downfall of what once was a beautiful planet.Will man ever realize we are all connected? Man is killing himself with his evil ways.

  97. Avatar Kaz Says:
    July 16th, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. Cats and Dogs are very different animals, and take to be trained differently. A dog can be taught to bark. A cat though? A cat will always scratch, no matter if you squirt him with water, provide boards or posts, or yell, or anything. I’ve grown up around declawed cats, and I declaw my own cats as an adult. They can’t walk normally? Are you insane? Have you even SEEN cat who’s been declawed? They are perfectly normal cats who don’t even care or notice that don’t have their claws anymore. What are your thoughts on spaying/neutering? We’re destroy/altering nature doing that too. Are those proceedures wrong? Certianly they’re painful too, one of my dogs was sick and couldn’t move for 2 days after being spayed. But that’ ok I guess. Cause declawing a cat is “evil” compared to just dealing with them in heat, and keeping them inside. Riiiiight.

  98. Avatar Jay Says:
    September 8th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    A 6 month old Kitty showed up at my home. I tried to find it a good home but no one would take him. I have never had an inside cat there are a couple neighborhood cats but I was worried this kitty would not make it out in the wild but was not ready to have my home destroyed as this kitty had already ruined my 1k leather sofa and I was not happy. The alternate take the kitty to the shelter where there were so many kitty’s for adoption they were only charging $4 dollars with all shots,fixed and micro chipped so what would happen if no one adopted the kitten ? Bottom Line I had to think long and hard and I had to make a decision that the only way I would keep the cat was to have it dewclawed and I did so. He has a loving home now and he is very sweet he was running around after 1 day as if it never happened and although I read about the procedure and what everyone here is saying I believe little Chase is very well cared for and loved greatly and that is far better than what I see with the other cats that are outside fending for themselves in my neighborhood i see them get sick etc,. I know everyone here may feel i was cruel in making this choice but I felt it was better than not keeping him the only other alternative I felt at the time.

  99. Avatar Johna45 Says:
    August 20th, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I really like and appreciate your blog post.Thanks Again.

  100. Avatar Winterhawk Says:
    January 22nd, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Working in Interspecies Commune-icaion for over 20 years, I come across this a lot from my clients regarding declawing and vocal alterations–Should I do it, Is it really OK like my vet says, does it really not pain or injure them like some say…I did it and I regret it, I did it and now have exacerbated other fears and behaviors, I did it and our relationship has changed, I can’t get over what I have done now that I understand it-my guilt and shame are a tremendous impact in my life–I feel I can’t ever face her without crying, will he ever understand or forgive me…

    These are all un-necessary events and outcomes!
    Mutilation is mutilation,, whether for the sake of your couch, skin or however it may appear to solve and issue in your life.
    Body parts are not to be forfeited for someone’s convenience. Even it if means you get to keep them and “love” them.
    Training, healing, flower essences, herbs, even removing an animal to a more appropriate situation where he can live as a healthy and whole Being are better alternatives.
    If you brought a yappy dog or hound to a home where your neighbors will complain…Why? It your mistake, do not make her pay with a miserable life, that is beyond cruel-just so you have something you need. What you need is someone to love, that fits into your life, not that is altered to do so. Animals can learn to do well if their fears are addressed and their jobs at home clarified!
    this includes barking behaviors, scratching, and so forth. it all can be solved IF you are willing,
    and it is up to you, isn’t it. Kitty cannot call the commu8nicator, dog cannot call the trainer or herbalist.
    I will never demean a client for having made this error, but help them to understand and prevent it in the future AND to give healing to the animal it has happened to, much can be done however long after the fact.
    and, share with you vet the results of this, if you feel you should not have been so advised. they really need to hear it. they need to get strong to really educating people rather than being hired to alter them so the animals can keep their home.
    Dr. Jones is an educator. all vets ethically must become so, at whatever cost. thanks for this, Dr. Jones.

  101. Avatar Mary West Says:
    February 9th, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Declawing? Debarking?
    These methods are for those who want the “perfect” pet and are too lazy to train them properly.
    We have 4 cats, indoor cats, never go outside because we live in a high rise.
    Our furniture is intact and they are well behaved and well loved.
    we respect them as they do us.
    declawing them makes me sick to even think about. That is like cutting off the fingers at the first knuckle.
    Totally absurd the reasons I have read here; the “comforting thoughts” these people give themselves to say it was okay to do so.
    I am stunned, and quite frankly, disgusted at these excuses they give.

  102. Avatar Linda Poulni Says:
    March 26th, 2016 at 10:38 am

    We need to stop referring to it as “declawing”. That sounds so benign. Call it what it is – a first digit amputation – and maybe many cat owners would think twice.

    Love your blog!

  103. Avatar Nancy Arnwine Says:
    May 4th, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I can’t believe that so many people are OK with de-clawing! What is wrong with them? Don’t they know what it is that is being done to these animals? Perhaps if their vets would tell them that they are going to amputate the cats toes, they might see things in a different light? I suppose the majority of vets wouldn’t tell their clients the truth because they would probably lose business and profits. It’s a shame that their concern for an animals well-being goes out the window when money can be made. Don’t Vets take an oath, like people Dr’s do, to ‘do no harm’? Even if it is a legal procedure, if they really cared about the animals, they would refuse to perform this cruel, painful & inhumane procedure. If people don’t want to be scratched, maybe they should get a stuffed animal instead. It’s not right to mutilate an animal so that it will fit better into your life. Cats scratch and dogs bark. If you don’t like it, don’t bring either of them home.

  104. Avatar juneybug Says:
    June 23rd, 2016 at 10:39 am

    shame on all the people that declaw their cats….

  105. Avatar Frances Says:
    July 28th, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    People that do this do not deserve the privilege of having a cat! This is barbaric and it is outlawed in Europe! Why can we not be more civilized in the USA?


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM