A Campaign Against Declawing Kittens & Cats
Declawing is not what it seems
Imagine having the ends of your fingers severed at the first joint. It would forever change your life -- how you use your fingers, and the pain you endure, increasingly as you age. You'd likely give up some normal activities as being too painful. That is what it is like for a cat that is declawed.
ACAT's Pause for Claws campaign is an effort to educate the public and particularly cat owners about the cruel realities of the process euphemistically called declawing. It is a procedure banned in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, as well as some US cities.
Through education and awareness, and working with Alaska vet clinics to sharply curtail declawing, ACAT's objective is to eliminate elective onychectomy (declawing) surgery in Alaska.
ACAT prohibits surgically removing the toes of cats adopted through ACAT. Despite this clause in the contract signed by every adopter, some adopters have violated the contract and subjected their ACAT cats to this painful and life-changing procedure.
On May 6, 2016, ACAT further strengthened its stance on declawing by endorsing the Pause for Claws campaign. Initially, ACAT will use social media, person-to-person contact, our newsletter and other no-cost means to spread the word about the dangers of declawing. We will work with Alaska veterinarians and other rescue groups to save Alaska's cats from declawing.
We will also rely heavily on information provided by established organizations dedicated to eliminating declaws, such as The Paw Project and Little Big Cat. View The Paw Project's new video "The Paw Project Movie" online (for a fee) through YouTube, or as a paid subscriber to Amazon Prime, as well as other outlets. See The Paw Project website for details.
If you'd like to donate to this effort to help ACAT expands its educational efforts, please use the PayPal donation button and designate Pause for Claws in the description line.
Declawing is the surgical amputation of a cat's last toe digits along with the claws. Usually the front paws are mutilated in this way and the back claws left intact, but some people have all four feet declawed. The reason given for most declawing is to prevent damage to furniture. Other excuses are no time to train the cat, a baby in the house, or immune deficiency. Some vet clinics consider offering declawing surgeries a preemptive alternative to a scratching cat being euthanized. However, shelters and rescues across the country report that declawed cats are often turned over to them for physical or behavioral issues.
While declawing sounds like simply removing the toenails, declawing does much more, and impacts the cat for the rest of its life. These effects can include pain, an awkward gait, joint issues and arthritis. This can lead the cat to refuse to use the litter box, bite or exhibit other behavioral issues. Undergoing the surgery also presents risks to the cat, including infection, residual bone fragments, anesthesia issues, tissue necrosis and nerve damage.
This from the Little Big Cat website: "Many people report that they are happier with their cats after declawing, because it makes the cats 'better pets.' Unfortunately, as many people discover too late, declawing may cause far worse problems than it solves—research suggests that more than 30% of cats develop more serious behavior problems, such as biting and urinating outside the litterbox—after surgery. There are many better ways to treat behavior problems other than radical and irreversible surgery."
To learn more about the surgery, visit the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association's page on declawing.
Meet Alice Mae. Alice Mae was given into ACAT's care as a bottle baby, along with her siblings. When Alice Mae reached adoption age, she was adopted into a family through ACAT, and her new parents signed the agreement that said they would not declaw Alice Mae.
When Alice Mae was about 6 months old, she was declawed, along with a second ACAT kitten in the household. Alice Mae's life was forever changed.
ACAT's Pause for Claws campaign is designed to raise understanding about the perils, cruelty and life-long impacts of declawing. Alice Mae is our poster girl for that campaign.
We do not know why Alice Mae's family decided to declaw her and her adoptive brother kitten. Typically, it is because of complaints about the kitty scratching the furniture. Scratching is a necessary part of a cat's life, and should be treated as such.
Kittens and cats may need training to discourage inappropriate scratching. Rattle cans and squirt guns are excellent training tools -- they do not harm the cat but discourage unwanted behaviors. Furniture covers, clear plastic guards, sticky tape and citrus sprays are among the ways to keep your cat from scratching furniture when you are away. Toe nail caps are another option.
For those people unwilling to train a cat not to scratch inappropriately, and provide their kitty with proper scratching options, there is a simple solution — Don't Adopt a Cat.
If you'd like more ideas on how to save both your cat's claws and your furniture, contact ACAT.