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Why We Need to End Declaw Surgery

Published May 8, 2021  |  Author: Dr. Laura Catena  |  Topic(s): , ,

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Declawing of cats is an extremely controversial topic worldwide. It is a procedure that I believe is not only unnecessary, but cruel. One of the main reasons that I developed the Procedure-Palpation style of ArmOR Hand Animal Handling Gloves was to provide owners with an alternative to seeking this inhumane surgery. With this style of gloves having the first 3 fingertips exposed, anxious or new pet owners are able to properly and safely trim their cat’s nails. Declawing surgery can potentially cause a lifetime of pain for cats. The procedure of declawing involves removing the bone on each part of a cat’s paw. It is a surgical amputation. The amputation results in a lifetime of pain, as well as behavioral changes. It is normal and healthy for cats to scratch; it is beneficial and necessary for them to extend their paws with all bones intact.

Lennart Nilsfors, a veterinary cardiologist in Stockholm, Sweden, and my close friend states, “Declawing is forbidden in Sweden under our Animal Welfare Laws. You may be subject to two years in prison if performed. Of course, vets in Sweden are not allowed to declaw if it is not for medical reasons, like a tumor (and deemed medically necessary). But it is not allowed to go to a country where it is allowed, and then bring your cat back to Sweden. What I have found is that declawing is banned in EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. In my view it is completely unnecessary and a cruel procedure that handicaps the cat for life. It is easy for the owner to trim the claws and provide the cat with scratching poles to avoid scratching furniture. And of course your gloves make it even easier and more secure to trim the cat’s nails.”

In the United States, we are working hard to make this cruel and mutilating surgery illegal. However, in the meantime, when owners approach me about this surgery, I always provide them with options to pursue and strongly advise against the surgery. Full disclosure – I do not perform this surgery myself. But, when working with these owners who want to get their cat declawed, I know that it is very easy for them to find another veterinarian who will do the surgery. I make sure that my time spent with these clients involves educating them on why it is not beneficial for their pet, but in fact extremely harmful. I provide them with safe and humane alternatives, such as providing environmental enrichment to prevent boredom (scratching posts of different materials and textures, climbing towers), nail caps to place over the pet’s nail, and of course, regular nail trims.

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Dr. Laura Catena is the Founder and President of The ArmOR Hand Gloves.

She graduated from The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine and is a small animal veterinarian. Dr. Catena developed The ArmOR Hand Animal Handling Gloves after a life-threatening injury she endured while working emergency medicine. She is a member of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and an animal welfare advocate.

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