Seeking Video of Declawed Cats


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I am seeking help to spread the world about cat declaw. I want video of your declawed cats walking – even if that walking appears totally normal (or not).

Over 20 years ago, I came out in the popular press and called cat declaws (Onychectomy) “barbaric.”  At around the same time, I co-authored a handout called, Think Twice Before You Declaw (which has been reprinted in dozens of places).

Back then, I thought declaw was ethically wrong – to amputate for the sake out of convenience. You likely know, a declaw is really just that, an amputation. A declaw is an irreversible elective surgical procedure. A cat’s toe has three bones. In a declaw, the veterinarian amputates the final section of the last bone which contains the growth plate and the nail; a declaw is like cutting off a finger at the knuckle).

Twenty years ago studies indicated, except for the pain immediately following surgery, there were no longterm long pain issues or behavior problems as a result of declaw. Today, we know better. A myriad of studies demonstrate there are, in fact, longterm problems often associated directly with declaw.

When cats are scratching in all the wrong places behavior modification was always an effective way to direct cats to scratching posts, rather than sofas or stereo speakers. Techniques like clicker training are effective but take some effort and may be complicated to do. Behavior modification also doesn’t offer instant results. Today, there are even more tools – including a pheromone product, called Feliscratch while results of using Feliscratch isn’t instantaneous.

Around 20 years ago, I thought about phantom pain being a potential issue for declawed cats, as it is for people who have lost a limb. Now, I’m hardly alone – including pain management and veterinary ethics expert Dr. Robin Downing.

What’s more, a myriad of veterinary studies demonstrates all sorts of long-term pain related issues associated with declaw.

On HouseSmarts TV, I explain why declaw is not the right way to go. No wonder, nations around the world have banned declaw, and increasingly it is being legislated against in America as it was banned in Denver in 2017.

Dr. Robin Downing

I will be speaking at two upcoming Fetch Veterinary Conferences with Dr. Downing about declaw. Too many cat caretakers continue to declaw. Happily many declawed cats in shelters are adopted from shelters or rescues.

Some declawed cats appear to act perfectly normal. But remember cats mask pain really well. Other declawed cats are obviously in pain, at least on occasion.  Dr. Downing and myself are seeking video of declawed cats just walking around – doing what they do….We don’t care if the cat in the video is clearly in pain or seemingly totally fine – we want the video. Dr. Downing and I may use some of these videos in our presentations to help communicate to veterinary professions that there may be repercussions to declaw by showing them. Please help us to convey the message. Videos must be under 30 to 45 seconds and as short as 10 seconds. Video can be emailed directly to me ([email protected]), sent through Google Drive or Dropbox or Facebook messenger. And also, feel free to share this post!

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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