Response to Declawing

Two readers responded to our article on declawing in the last newsletter. One was concerned that the article gave the impression that we euthanized every declawed cat which came into the shelter and wanted to make sure we let our readers know that this is not the case. We appreciate this feedback and are happy to say that those declawed cats which show none of the problems mentioned in the article are put up for adoption and have gone to great homes.

Another reader wrote to say that all the vets she had talked to had no problem with the procedure and that it was better to declaw the cat than to euthanize it for clawing. We agree that declawing should only be used as a last resort when all the other methods have been tried. It is better than euthanizing an animal as long as the animal does not then begin to exhibit the behaviors we so often see in the animals turned in to us. Many vets we have spoken to do not like to declaw cats and often try to discourage owners from taking that route. If the owner insists, however, they will perform the procedure.

At a recent seminar, a shelter veterinarian in New York City spoke on the subject. She had found the same behaviors in her shelter that other shelters were reporting from declawed cats. She researched the available literature and found that any research done on the topic had been done on cats regularly seen by veterinarians. It stands to reason that vets are seeing only the animals that do not exhibit these symptoms. Until a study is done on declaws turned into shelters, the true impact cannot be ascertained.

Thank you for writing. We like to keep the lines of communication open and are always looking for your input.