Monday 7 December 2009

Are Leopard Cats Extinct

People ask, are leopard cats extinct. The simple answer is NO. This is in part because they have a wide range and are an exception to the rule that wildcats do not adapt well to human activity.

In Malaysia where the leopard cat's habitat, the forest, is being destroyed and replaced with plantations of palm trees, the leopard cat has adapted to the new environment and hunts almost exclusively palm rats rather than its usual diet of small mammals, birds and reptiles found in the forest.

So the wild Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) population is doing well in certain parts of the world. For the wild cat to survive in a human world it must adapt to the human way and the ALC does this admirably.

It is rated least concern (LC) by the IUCN Red List and its population is said to stable. I personally doubt this. Population size is unknown.

From to Home Page

Monday 23 November 2009

Cats are Nice or Horrible

The domestic cat polarizes people. Some people say cats are nice and some say they are horrible. Some people love cats and some people hate them. The truth is that the cat is always the same.

The domestic cat is a very predictable animal. They have their instincts and their routines and by and large these are always the same from breed to breed and wild cat species to wild cat species. They do have distinct characters, yes, but these are distinct not in terms of being good or bad but in terms of preferences.

What varies is us and our attitude and behavior towards cats. I love animals and cats. This will always mean that cats come to me and are nice to me. Cats are nice in my world. Sure, they have their own innate characteristics that must be respected but if we respect the cat and behave warmly towards the cat the domestic cat will be nice.

Conversely when people say cats are horrible it is because people are horrible towards the cat. The cat's behavior is a reflection of ours within the framework of their natural behavior.

So the polarization of views about cats is actually the polarization of human behavior. We know that a lot of people behave badly and a similar number behave very well. So the next time a person says he hates cats and explains how horrible they are have a good look in his eye and know that he is no damn good!

Cats are Nice or Horrible to Home Page main site.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Tiger Skins For Sale

Tiger skins for sale are almost the norm in China. It seems to entirely accepted and the ban on trade of tiger parts is largely unenforced. The profits are so large that they create high levels of motivation for the traders. And the profits are getting larger as the tiger becomes scarcer. It is all about supply and demand of course. It the demand side is maintained or rises and the supply side diminishes than prices rise, obviously. As prices rise the the trade becomes more profitable encouraging more traders so the trade becomes harder to stop.

And so as the tiger edges towards extinction in the wild the process of extinction speeds up. It is almost too late unless a massive effort is put in place and that effort must come from the Chinese authorities. Demand must dry up because it is all but impossible to protect the tiger in the wild.

View Larger Map

The video below was taken in Linxia, China, where an employee of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a UK based charity went undercover to act as a buyer

One thing that jumps of the page is that videos about this trade are hardly watched. People are not interested, really; it is true and it is this background apathy that allows the trade to continue. The burden to stop falls on a relatively small number of people. There really needs to be a ground swell of dissent at the loss of the tiger in the wild and tiger skins of sale is just one part of the problem.

The whole of the tiger is used as a product. Tiger bone is more valuable than its skin and particularly the forelimbs. It is sick.

Apparently one route for this obnoxious trade is that poached tigers in India where protection is lax are transported via Nepal to China (and other countries in Asia) where they like to eat the tiger for medicinal purposes.

A big push to preserve the tiger has been instigated by Russia, surprisingly. Something big needs to happen to save the tiger.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Retired Vet Says Declawing is Horrible

A retired Vet says declawing is horrible -- Yes, we are at last beginning to get the truth from veterinarians who have so callously and cynically misrepresented the effects of declawing on cats.

At the recent Berkeley City Council meeting to decide whether there should be a ban on declawing (which did in fact result in a ban) retired veterinarian, Jean Hofve, says that she regrets the time that she declawed hundreds of cats.

She described the procedure as "
horrible, cruel and inhumane". She also said that it is unconscionable to cause a cat to bite more readily, which is one of the behavioral effects of declawing. Thank you very much for doing the right thing in speaking up for declawing. It is very refreshing to hear a vet tell it as it is and not give us the usual mumbo jumbo.

Of course the California Veterinary Medical Association wheeled out one of their spokesmen, this time it seems Dr. Nunez was not there (it seems), to say the same old platitudes that a ban would take away decision making from the vet and client.

That is the whole point. Decision making has to be taken away from the veterinarian because they have routinely over decades made the wrong decisions. They cannot be trusted to make a decision that is for the cat's well being, which they are obviously under oath to do.

So the public through their representatives at Berkeley City Council banned declawing. That as far as I remember makes 6 cites that have banned it in California to beat the ridiculous deadline imposed by state wide legislation that forbids cites passing such legislation after Jan 1st 2010.

These cities including Berkeley have now all voted to ban declawing of cats.
  1. West Hollywood 2003
  2. Santa Monica Oct 27th 2009, who voted 6 to 1
  3. San Francisco November 3rd 2009, who voted 9 to 2
  4. Beverly Hills November 5th 2009, who voted 5 to 0
  5. The city of Los Angeles voted 11 to 0 November 6th 2009 to Ban Declawing of All Animals
I think the vets should start to get a bit scared. They now know officially that what they do is unacceptable. It is a massive slap in the face. Their credibility is being dramatically eroded. They say they are doctors. Doctors are meant to be admired, respected and looked up to but the greed of the vets in perpetuating and promoting the money spinner of declawing cats has undermined all that. They should be worried.

The veterinarian associations must begin to listen to what the people of California are saying and start to find alternative and honest means of generating revenue. It cannot be that hard to think of something that will substitute declawing and which is solely for the cat's welfare.

It is time the veterinarians stopped using their energy to justify the unjustifiably horrible and inhumane practice of declawing cats and start using it to make cats healthier.

From Retired Vet Says Declawing is Horrible to Home Page

Thursday 5 November 2009

Youtube Partner

I am a YouTube partner. My channel is called broadsurf. As of today it is the top pets and animals channel for the month according to the Channel stats (it will change downwards for sure!) -- (update 25-11-09: it is no longer the top for the month but as it is now featured as one of the top channels it attracts attention, which helps to sustain traffic levels - it is sort of self perpetuating, to a degree).


Above a screenshot as at 5th Nov. 2009 for the month. It is top! Great but I am realistic. Update 14-11-09: As at this date it is on page 3 of the all time number of hits -see below:

Youtube all time number of hits for broadsurf channel

My name is Michael Broad. I make videos about cats to publicize my website:

I don’t actually think that my videos on my YouTube channel have made a massive difference to hits to my website despite plastering my web address over the videos! And of course YouTube allows you to put a link to your website on your channel (your home page at YouTube).

Although Alexa (an Amazon web traffic measuring site) tells me that YouTube brings in 7.92% of the traffic to my website (see below). Incidentally this blogger site is not my main website. It is a Blogger subdomain that feeds some traffic to Pictures of Cats org, the main site.

youtube clickstream

Update 17-11-09: The upstream sites have changed showing more supply from YouTube. Although these figures are a bit wild and not to be completely relied upon. We should not be numbers reliant - use commonsense more:

POC stats

So what are the advantages of being a YouTube partner and how do you get accepted?


When I first made an application I got a pretty fast response to tell me that it would be unlikely to succeed. So I didn’t follow through. That tells me that if you don’t get such a response you are likely to succeed, which proved to be the case.

I made my second application when I had posted some videos of an F1 Savannah cat called MAGIC. This changed the dynamics a lot. The hits built as this cat was named the Guinness World Record tallest pet cat. Korea got hold of it and the video was embedded in some of their high hitting websites. One video in particular caught their attention:

magic savannah cat and Andeas video stats

These extra hits made all the difference. OK, the first thing for a successful application would seem to be the obvious; a considerable number of lively hits going on at the time of the application. Even with 30,00o hits per day I was only ranked No. 39th amongst all the UK partners (all divisions). The numbers are big in YouTube.

In order to get good hits the video has to have something different but it need not be a good video. There are a lot of poor videos getting massive hits. The more extreme the better seems to be the method, which is not my style and I think YouTube should promote pure quality as well (which it may do incidentally – I just have not noticed).

Next and most importantly all your videos must be your copyright. When you apply this is scrutinised. YouTube have been criticised over the way they have turned a blind eye (or at least that is what some people think and say) to breaches of copyright by people who upload videos. They probably can’t keep track of the uploads. But when a person applies to be a YouTube partner it means that they (YouTube) are directly involved and they can’t be seen to be partners with a person or persons who flagrantly breach copyright. So the application process contains a lot of references to copyright. It focuses heavily on that to the point where YouTube say that they will delete a video if a partner uploads one that has a breach of copyright problem on any media issue: still images, music, video, anything.

So, your videos must be free of copyright breaches. No not quite actually. If you disclose a breach they might still accept you as a partner. After all a breach of copyright is not actionable until the copyright holder takes action and sometimes the copyright holder might actually approve the breach because it helps them. And in any case copyright is not black and white. It is complicated and their is such a thing as fair use. Plus few people sue on breach of copyright as it is so bloody expensive to sue and the outcome is so uncertain. All that said keep the videos clean of copyright violations. Do it right and YouTube will like you.

OK, you have plenty of hits and your vids are clean: GO HERE to apply.

The Benefits

The first benefits I am going to mention are the ones in my mind, the outstanding ones: Monetisation and Customisation. There are others.

You can make money with Adsense. You need an Adsense account. I already had one. If you haven’t it is pretty easy to apply but it takes a bit of time. I would expect that if you are accepted as a YouTube partner you will also be accepted for an Adsense account.

How much can you make from Adsense? It is a numbers game, pure and simple. You need lots of hits because the number of people who click on an advert are small in percentage terms. I have 66 videos. I enabled ads for about 6 (10%) and made about £70 (GBP) in one month.

Customisation is good. You can place customised bits here and there, the most noticeable of course being the header. The process of customisation is straightforward.

What else? I am not that commercially minded but people who make videos to make money can do things like utilize their sales to sell their own ads.

The full set of benefits as declared by YouTube are here: Benefits.

Uploading Videos

When you upload a video you are given the option to monetise inside the video. The upload screen is different. Some viewers don't like inline Adsense as it can be irritating and I don't like it myself but it is more effective. You have to be in-your-face with advertising there is no doubt about it. And bottom line it is about making money.

If you select to have Adsense inside your video you have to complete a form in which you explain why your video is clear of all copyright breaches. You have to do this in 4 - 1000 characters. This is tight if the video has a lot of material from different sources in it. I have fallen foul of this, once.

The video concerned (shown above) is completely legal but I failed to explain fully that the images in the title sequence were creative commons images reproduced under license. That was my fault and monetising was rejected by Youtube (I was told in an email). I decided to respond to the email thinking that I would not get a response but I did (good on Youtube). It seems that one of the advantages of being a Youtube partner is that they do communicate with you if needs must. But they prefer, I suspect, that you don't.

Anyway, I explained the position but they have not allowed inline advertising in the video to this day. Moral: get the thing right first time and take your time. I have prepared a text that relates to most of my recent videos which I might need to modify a bit an d then I cut and paste it in the box.

Update 11-10-09: Maybe the YouTube team saw this post as I got an email today saying that the video might have a breach of copyright in respect of the audio content. This is incorrect (as it happens) as the audio was purchased from (a very good source of high quality music that can be used legally! And it is not that expensive at about $29 for a track). I had explained this earlier to YouTube when uploading the video as I remember it (no criticism intended by the way, these things happen).

Anyway I was pleased to see that the inline Adsense is now in place for this video. So all is well. I think the moral as I stated is for us to get it right first time, which means going a bit slower than one wants sometimes. Everything is high speed and instant on the internet and you gotta keep building the god content but there are times to slow down and just get it right and to make it better. You make it slower but it sticks around longer once published.

YouTube are constantly upgrading and expanding the partner programme. I notice that the peoples of ten countries can participate in the YouTube partner program and the latest countries to join the list are Spain and Brazil. The full list of countries are (I believe this is accurate - source Yahoo Answers): Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, U.K and USA.

Here is a video made by YouTube Partner support about the partner program:

Further Update 12-10-09: I uploaded another video (the one below) and fully explained the copyright issues to make sure that there would be no problems in YouTube accepting the video for inline Adsense (embedded in the video) and low and behold it was refused! I have no idea why. The people at YouTube email you and link to the standard guidelines which I have read more than once. I emailed back to say that the video is not in breach of copyright. Every angle has been covered by me. Here is the video. The music was bought and is licensed for use in a video. The video is mine and the title was paid for by me. The images in the video are licensed under creative commons or expressly by the photographer. There is nothing wrong that I know of yet it was refused for revenue sharing. But don't misunderstand me; no criticism is intended as I think YouTube do an amazing job to keep all the balls in the air with the kind of expansion that they have undergone over the years but I feel that the degree of expansion has caused some problems.

I guess every video uploaded by a partner that requests revenue sharing has to be reviewed by a person as opposed to a machine. I don't know how many partners there are but it must be above 5,000 and if they upload one video a month that makes a lot of people doing very boring work checking that the videos don't breach copyright. I think the speed at which they are checked causes problems if there is a lot to take in and digest as is the case with my videos as they are made up of several sources of material.

From YouTube Partner to Home Page

Savannah Cat Charms the Children

Titan is a wonderful, young boy Savannah cat in this video. He is so tolerant and adaptable to human activity and conditions. He takes it all in his stride. We know how children can be a little over enthusiastic with animals and the domestic cat. But this has no effect on Titan.

Titan is an F1 (first generation) Savannah cat of great quality both in appearance and character. Perhaps his great quality is his character. This is because he was raised at A1 Savannahs by the Stuckis. They take a great deal of time over socialising their cats.

You can see this video in large format with some more information on this page:

TITAN Charms the Children

From to Home Page

Wednesday 28 October 2009

The Savannah Cat Shake

The Savannah Cat Shake is a dance that I have just made up. It is great background music to this video. A credit to the composer is in the video. The Savannah cat is very energetic sometimes and very athletic. Of course that is not always the case. But they seem more alert and sharper than the conventional moggie and I am though talking about an F1 Savannah cat in this instance.

In the video I tried to bring together a bundle of quick moving clips to convey energy and a zest for life.

The video clips are by Kathrin Stucki and as you probably know she own and manages A1 Savannahs with her husband Martin Stucki.

The cats are MAGIC a female cat who happens to be the Guinness World Record Tallest Domestic Cat and TITAN a male F1 Savannah who is equally impressive and a really sweet boy cat.

You can see the video in large format here: Savannah Cat Zest

From to Home Page

Tuesday 13 October 2009

MAGIC Wakes Up Andreas and MORE

Here is another video about the awesome F1 Savannah cat MAGIC and Andreas who has a very close relationship with this cat.

In this video Magic wakes up Andreas but it is the jump on the bed that is stunning. See what you think:

Have a look at the use of Magic's tail too. She uses it like a hand to touch and caress Andreas's head. Is this scent exchange or just friendly touching? My cat does this but not nearly as well or in such a profound way. See Cat's Tail.

From to Home Page

Monday 28 September 2009

Cat and Boy in True Harmony

Here is a video of a cat and a boy in true harmony. This is special because the cat is the world's tallest domestic ("pet") cat (official, Guinness World Records) and the boy is Andreas Stucki the son on Martin and Kathrin Stucki who raised both the boy and cat.

I made the video with video material provided by Kathrin. For the technically minded the camcorder was a Flip HD. See the video in large format here: A Close Relationship Between Cat and Boy.

I think this is perhaps my favorite video (that I have made) because of the simple and palpable chemistry between these two. I think that this sort of video (if I may say so) helps to show how our relationship with other animals can and should be on a general level -- meaning more respectful.

We need to do lots more, as a species of animal ourselves, to learn to live harmoniously with other species on this planet rather than using and abusing them, which doesn't always happen but it does happen a lot nonetheless. The wildcats are gradually but with great certainty, I think, heading for extinction in the wild. This is because of us and our activities.

The video is a testament of how fantastically well socialised this cat is. She is an F1 Savannah cat called MAGIC but I guess you know that as she is pretty famous. It is also a testament of how comfortable Andreas is, with what is a pretty big cat, almost the same size as him!

Update: I want to show a video I made of Andreas sister Leonie with Magic too. This is fair. Here it is:

MAGIC is now lives with Lee and Kim Draper of the Bella Gattini Cattery(new window).

From Cat and Boy in True Harmony to Wild Cat Hybrids

Sunday 6 September 2009

F1 Savannah Cat MAGIC

I'll keep this short. Gotta show you this cat from A1 Savannahs. She is F1 Savannah cat MAGIC and the name is particularly good as this cat is pure magic. Is she the biggest domestic cat - not sure what are the rules for that accolade? But she is big and of so very beautiful. There is a heady mixture of the exotic, the domestic, the energetic, the intelligent and very wild at heart about her.

This is a rare mix in a domestic cat. Her father is a Serval and her mother a Savannah cat. Here is the video:

You can see it in large format here: MAGIC -- MAGIC is now owned by Kimberly and Lee Draper. Their cattery is Bella Gattini Cattery and MAGIC is at their high street shop (a world's first). Get along and see her! This page tells you more about the Savannah Cat Shoppe.

From F1 Savannah cat MAGIC to Home Page

Sunday 16 August 2009

Somali Cat “Chase”

When I look at the picture below of a classy, ruddy coloured Somali cat Chase I think of the good ole US of A and Oklahoma. And the Oklahoma wind. Heavens, it blew a gale, a warm gale for hour after hour after hour. Here is the effect it had on the doors of the show hall (I made it into a short horror film!):

Yes, these are heavy doors and they all blew out and back in unison. And then there is that scream…….! Man it was strange and scary.

One of the stars of the show (this was the Thunderkatz show in April 2009) was this little character;  Somali cat “Chase”. He is a ruddy Somali cat. Somali cats are long haired Abyssinians. And as I like foxes..well you can understand why this fella appealed to me.

As I recall he was well behaved and he takes a nice photo too. Of course he would being as handsome as he is!

Here is the video I made of Helmi and Ken photographing this foxey character, Somali cat Chase:

As bit about the Somali cat:

First this boy is ruddy coloured. The ground colour is “burnt sienna” (sounds like a colour of matt paint you buy at the local DIY shop!). The colour is glowing and gleaming and Helmi captures this beautifully.

The Abyssinian (the shorthaired version of the Somali and the more commonly seen cat) is known to be a bit of a performer and that seems to be present in Chase.

In America the overall shape of the Somali is considered more important apparently than the colour and quality of its coat. This cat breed is elegant, slender and strong. The body type is called “foreign” – see cat body types if you like.

The ears are large and the head foxey (my description). Technically it is a modified wedge (cat fancy speak to mean wedge shaped but with rounded corners!).

The defining characteristic of this cat, though, is its ticked coat. This is a tabby cat without the tabby markings, well almost. There is a vague vestige of a pattern on the tail and the head (the classic “M” tabby forehead is present but softened). The agouti gene is at work and the hair shafts in a ruddy Somali are banded with that burnt sienna, and black (what Gloria Stephenson calls the “indicative colour”).

Other colours are blue, sorrel and fawn and it just so happens I have a video of some blue (and ruddy) Abyssinian kittens being photographed too:

Both the Abyssinian and Somali are agile graceful climbers. They are intelligent and love to play.

The Somali should look exactly the same as the Abyssinian. Long haired Abyssinians were not wanted and were a by product of Abyssinian breeding caused by a hidden recessive gene that produced long hair – heavens forbid. Until someone decided how nice they looked and a new cat breed was born. And a very nice breed they are too.

See more cat videos here: Broadsurf’s channel: Pictures of cats.

From Somali cat Chase to Home Page

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Good Veterinarians Must Speak Out

The good veterinarians must speak out. What I mean is that the veterinarians in America who do see the cruelty in declawing cats and who do not carry out the operation need to provide courses and educational seminars for the public about declawing.

I don’t see this happening. I can understand why. It is totally understandable. They are in the minority and they might (probably would) alienate other vets. They might become outsiders in their own profession.

See lots more articles on why declawing is fundamentally wrong: Declawing Cats

And it is far better financially speaking to remain inside the group. But and this is a massive but, the good veterinarians who don’t speak out and try in a decent way to stop declawing, are undermining their own consciences. Indirectly, they are condoning it. In regards to such a profoundly abusive medical procedure as non-therapeutic declawing of cats the good and enlightened veterinarians who genuinely have the care of animals at heart (unlike the monsters who declaw) owe a duty to their patients to speak out.

This could, for example, take the form of giving seminars. Why not? The vet could charge a modest fee and present the facts about declawing to owners who were thinking of declawing their cats. There must be a large number of people who are unsure about it who simply need some clear guidance.

There is a lot of misinformation out there and very little really good research. All the vet has to do is to present the known facts, which can be summarised as follows:

Declawing is unnecessary. There is lots of evidence that tells us it can cause serious medical complications but we need further sound and objective research. Because of the real potential to cause short and long term complications that are unpredictable for any individual cat a vet should not carry out the procedure. The better course of action is to respect the cat for what he or she is and adapt to the cat’s behaviour and enjoy that behaviour. If that cannot be contemplated another animal as a companion should be chosen.

It a few hundred vets started educating the public about declawing by telling the truth (I am not asking vets to do what the AVMA does and peddle half truths and misrepresentations) then the gradual change away from this hideous practice would begin.

In lieu of that the only force for change can come from legislators who ban declawing at the local level - for example the West Hollywood ban. Come on good veterinarians you must speak out. The cat is looking to you for help.

From Good Veterinarians Must Speak Out to Home Page

Friday 7 August 2009

AVMA Misrepresents the Reasons for Declawing

Here is correspondence between a colleague of mine, Susan Woodhouse, and the AVMA in 2007. This is correspondence about surveys on declawing. The AVMA muddy the declawing surveys to suit their objectives and misrepresents the reasons for declawing. The true AVMA reason is to continue the practice for financial profit. However, one consistent argument that the AVMA puts forward for declawing is that it prevents relinquishment of the cat and therefore saves lives. This is incorrect. In addition to the arguments presented by Susan below please also see, Declawing kills more cats…. Susan says:

..note they cite a study where 1 in every 3 declawed cats having a behavioral problem is not "statistically significant" to matter! And another study where vets were asked to "guess" how many of their clients would relinquish without declaw! Absolutely NO protection, voice, or justice for our fellow felines!

ME (Susan Woodhouse):
AVMA, Regarding the statement, "Scientific data does indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population", I was wondering if you could provide me with the scientific data that you've found that cat scratching leads to relinquishment, etc for research for a declaw website that I am working on. I have only found that, according to the “Top Ten Reasons for Pet Relinquishment to Shelters in the United States" survey done by the NCPPSP, destructive behavior / scratching is not listed as a reason cats are relinquished from their homes but “house soiling , a common behavioral effect of broken down, declawed paws, is listed as a prime reason for disposing of a pet cat. This survey seems more reasonable since it is much easier to curtail natural scratching (trimming, training, Soft Paws) than it is litterbox issues.

We are in the process of completing and getting ready for publication a very extensive review of the peer-reviewed literature pertaining to onychectomy in cats. Part of the reason for doing this extensive review is frustration with all the misinformation that has been presented with respect to this procedure (on both sides of the fence). With respect to your specific questions regarding relinquishment and objectionable behaviors…the following information may be of value. Please understand that this information only touches the tip of the iceberg of what information is available.

  1. Relinquishment… In a 1991 survey of Ontario veterinarians (Landsberg, 1991) respondents indicated that approximately 50% of their clients would no longer own their cat if it had not been declawed. A comprehensive review performed by Patronek also showed that unacceptable behaviors increase risk of relinquishment to shelters (Patronek, 1996). Daily scratching was shown to increase risk of relinquishment, and declawing to decrease risk of relinquishment.
  2. House soiling… A survey of 57 owners of onychectomized or tenectomized cats reported that 3 of 18 (16%) ten ectomized and 13 of 39 (33%) onychectomized cats developed at least one behavioral change following surgery (including house soiling, increased frequency or intensity of biting, or refusal to cover feces), but the difference was not statistically significant (Yeon, 2001). Six of 39 (15%) onychectomized cats house-soiled following onychectomy (Yeon, 2001); however, because the overall incidence of house-soiling in cats (clawed and declawed) has been reported to be 16% (Morgan, 1989) there does not appear to be an increased risk of house-soiling following onychectomy. The study addressing risk factors for relinquishment of cats to animal shelters (Patronek, 1996) did not identify a statistically significant difference in aggression or inappropriate elimination between declawed and clawed cats.

THANK YOU for taking the time to respond to my question. I really appreciate it because I know how busy you must be. I reread the studies you sited in your response, and found some interesting points, such as in Dr. Patronek study where he found that in the multi-variate analysis, declawing was associated with increased incidence of relinquishment and in the Landsberg study where it said only 4% of the cat owners themselves said they would have relinquished their cat if it wasn't declawed, versus the 50% that Dr. Landsberg guessed in the survey.

I believe this is the exact kind of frustrating misunderstanding of this issue that you referred to in your email! I'm so glad to hear the AVMA is taking a serious look at cat declawing because much of the public is becoming disheartened & disillusioned since declawing is being sold as routine cat care by so many veterinarians, and even included in "preventive health care" packages like Banfield is doing, with absolutely no education being given to the human client about how natural & normal scratching is for felines, the short & long term realities of the surgery, and the easy alternatives that allow humans & cat claws to coexist without any scratched flesh or furniture.

I'm hoping the AVMA knows of any studies/surveys of vets documenting the number of cat parents (who requested declaw) who were sent home on a "30 day waiting period" so to speak, with education about the surgery and the alternatives, and who actually came back for surgery versus how many were educated & enlightened. Or studies of actual numbers of cats that were truly relinquished because a vet refused to perform the surgery. I'm also trying to find how much more financial profit vets make when they don't declaw cats and sell regular nail trims over the life of the cat, plus sell nail trimmers, cardboard scratch pads, etc out of their offices. Do you know of any statements or studies that contain this information? I can't find any.

Also, I found 2 other studies/surveys done in 2000 about how many cats are relinquished due to litter box problems with HUGE statistical differences than those relinquished for claw issues. These both confirm that litterbox issues are the number one behavioral reason cats are relinquished from the home. It seems to me that, considering the anecdotal evidence that declawing increases the likelihood of litter box problems, and these high percentages of cats relinquished because of house soiling behavior, veterinarians have even more reason to discourage the surgery and counsel/educate their human clients about the humane alternatives if keeping the cats from being relinquished from their home is truly their goal.

According to "Behavioral Reasons for Relinquishment of Dogs and Cats to 12 Shelters" (Salman, Hutchinson, & Ruch-Gallie) in the Journal Of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2000, "soils house" was the #1 reason cats were relinquished from the home, and "aggression toward people" was #3.

  1. Soils house=43.2%,
  2. Problems between new pet & other pets=18.9%,
  3. Aggressive toward people=14.6%
  4. Destructive inside=12.4%,
  5. Aggressive toward animals=12.4%,
  6. Bites=9.2%,
  7. Disobedient=5.9%,
  8. Euthanasia for behavioral reasons=5.4%,
  9. Unfriendly=5.4%,
  10. Afraid=3.8%

According to "Reasons for Removing a Cat from the Household" (Ralston Purina 2000) as tabled in the article "Indoor Cats, Scratching, and the Debate over Declawing: When Normal Pet Behavior Becomes a Problem" (Grier & Peterson), The State of the Animals III:2005, "Eliminating Outside the Litterbox" was the #1 reason cats were relinquished from the home, and "biting people" was #2.

  1. Eliminating Outside the Litterbox=33%,
  2. Biting People=14%,
  3. Intolerant of Children=11%,
  4. Scratching People=11%,
  5. Destroying Household or Personal Items=8%

p.s. Regarding the Landsberg study that you mentioned...if the AVMA considers this survey as scientific evidence where vets were asked to guess how many of their clients would relinquish their cats if they weren't declawed, wouldn't it be fair to amend your position statement where you state there is "no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral problems" and include the national shelter survey information that says 70-80% of cats relinquished with stated behavioral problems are declawed?

Even vets like Dr. Patronek have stated in JAVMA "Some cats may also exhibit behavior problems in the longer term, including soiling and aggression. We have no idea what the frequency of this is, or how to identify cats at risk". There are many vets, and many humane shelter workers, cat consultants, cat parents, and animal behaviorists coming up with this same conclusion - declawed cats use their teeth more and their litterbox less!

From AVMA misrepresents reasons for declawing to home page

See also: Declawing Cats for lots more links and AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats

Thursday 6 August 2009

Banfield Veterinary Group Policy on Declawing

The Banfield Veterinary Group Policy on Declawing is inhumane, horribly wrong, misleading and a denial of the truth. It should be brought up to date immediately. Their policy is to condone declawing of cats for non-therapeutic purposes (to stop the cat scratching the furniture). Kim Van Syoc, Senior Communications Specialist for Banfield tells us the reason for their policy, which I summarise below (I cannot quote verbatim as it would be a breach of copyright so this is a fair and accurate summary but there is a link to the original article just below).

The Banfield Policy:

Banfield perform declawing operations if they believe that a cat can't be trained to stop using its claws to scratch furniture or they pose a danger to family members. She says that not all cats are amenable to "behaviour modification". She says that fewer cats will be abandoned and euthanised if the cat is declawed. Recovery is very rapid, she says, leading to a stronger bond between cat and person. {note: Kim Van Syoc, Senior Communications Specialist for Banfield calls declawing "onchiectomy"}

This is totally misleading and simply incorrect. They follow the AVMA policy on declawing cats which is also wholly inhumane.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that onchiectomy is the castration of a man! It is not declawing which is onychectomy. If this is a direct quote from Miss Syoc, which I am told it is, then she doesn't know much about declawing does she? The original posting on is here (new window). It may have been changed as a result of this article as it is very embarassing.

Secondly, the concept of training an animal to do what we want is incorrect. If we don't like what a cat does we shouldn't keep a cat - simple. That one act of not keeping a cat would reduce the feral cat problem massively over time. So vets encourage irresponsible ownership by declawing. They foster the idea and encourage the notion that we can modify a cat's anatomy to suit us. That debases the animal and leads to more abandonments and an arrogant approach to cat keeping that is wholly against the interests of the cat's wellbeing. Banfield, you are encouraging bad behaviour in people who keep cats. You encourage the wrong people to keep cats.

Question to Kim Van Syoc. Even on the basis that your policy is OK (which is obviously is not) how do you manage it? Do you ask people about how they tried to train their cat? No. Do you instruct them how to train their cat if what they are doing is incorrect? No. Do you even check if they are training their cat? No.

"Behaviour modification" needs to be directed at the people not the cat. It is the people who need to be trained. Trained to stop seeing the companion cat as a "possession" to do with as we please. These people are getting confused between a cat and a sofa. One is living and the other is dead. The former feels pain and the latter doesn't. Got it!

It is false to say that declawing prevents abandonment. This is just something the veterinarians peddle around the place to support their mutilation of companion cats. They use it as the main argument to justify this inhumane behaviour. In a scientific review of research into complications of declawing surgery it was found that:

"..........declawed cats were at an increased risk of relinquishment"

Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD: Assessment of claims of short- and long-term complications associated with onychectomy in cats.

Please read this Miss Kim Van Syoc: Declawing cat kills more cats.

Finally, there is no definitive scientific evidence (and vets must work from science and not hearsay) that cats recovery rapidly after declawing.

In conclusion Miss Syoc your arguments are worse than poor. They are misleading and the Banfield Veterinary Group Policy on Declawing results in the mutilation of innocent animals and encourages irresponsible cat ownership leading to more mass slaughter of unwanted cats that are already slaughtered by the millions in America every year.

July 29th 2010: Please sign the petition to change Banfield Veterinary Group Policy on Declawing - Petition

From Banfield Veterinary Group Policy on Declawing to Home Page

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Declawing Cats Kills More Cats

The often repeated mantra of people who have their cats declawed is that it saves the lives of cats. Veterinarians also use this argument and probably (almost certainly) use it when justifying the unjustifiable, the declawing of a cat to prevent furniture being scratched. What they mean is that but for the declawing of cats, they would be given up and euthanized.

There are two counter arguments to this that come to mind. The first comes from a report that is available on the American Veterinary Medical Association website. It is a research project conducted by Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD called: Assessment of claims of short- and long-term complications associated with onychectomy in cats.

Dr. Patronek went over previous research projects to try and answer the question as to whether there were short and/or long term consequences of declawing of cats. In fact he found out that there was no research project that provided a clear picture, which meant that American veterinarians were carrying out a major and serious operation on the whim of the cat's owner with reckless disregard for the outcome - bizarre but true. I will take the liberty of quoting him verbatim:
It seems unthinkable that an elective surgery performed on a quarter of owned cats could lack definitive evaluation, but that appears to be the case. (2001)
However, the point I want to make is that in his review of the earlier research when a variety of factors are taken into account (called multivariate analysis - meaning multiple variables are taken into account when analyzing the findings) he states that:
"..........declawed cats were at an increased risk of relinquishment"
What he saying is that cats that were declawed were then at a greater risk of being given up to shelters. This is the exact opposite of the often quoted and false argument that declawing cats saves cat's lives.

Here is another point and this may be what Dr. Patronek's research was getting at. I say that declawing cats kills more cats. Lets assume that we wake up tomorrow and declawing is banned. A brave new world arrives. The people who have bought or adopted cats on the basis that they will have them declawed give up their cats. These are the people who feed the declawing business (a $20 billion dollar business by my reckoning). They want cats but don't want cats. They want an animal companion that looks like a cat but that does not act like one.

Immediately after a nationwide declawing ban there would be a huge number of cats given up. There are over 20 million declawed cats in the USA. Millions of cats would therefore be euthanized as a result of a declaw ban - initially that is. And this is the point. All the people who would have had their cats declawed (about 20 million of them) would no longer keep cats. We know that the people who request declawing are the wrong kind of people to keep cats - that must be a given. People who request declawing are prioritising furniture over the health and wellbeing of their cat. That shows us where their priorties lie. They are the kind of people who give up cats on a whim. They must be the kind of people who are more likely to give up their cat on the simple basis that they value furniture over the cat's health.

These irresponsible owners would be out of circulation. Over time the number of cats given up and then euthanised would be reduced dramatically. As about 2 or more million cats are euthanised each year in the USA, over time there would be considerably less cats killed. There is no doubt in my mind that declawing cats kills more cats as it feeds the concept that cats are inanimate objects to do with as we please. It creates a carelessness of ownership of cats. It devalues and debases cats and fosters irresponsible ownership which is the absolute underlying problem that faces us all in regard to the wholly unacceptable state of affairs that is the yearly mass slaughter of cats in America.

Note: As I have said previously, I have a high regard for America and the American people but I am justifiably critical of what I consider to be a blind spot for the American people - the declawing of cats for non-therapeutic purposes.

Note: the best way to introduce a ban on declawing would be gently and progressively, which is what may happen in any case. This would allow people time to adjust and there would be less cats given up. There would be a gradual change in culture that would help the cat companion.

See more articles on declawing cats.

From Declawing Cats Kills More Cats to Home Page

Monday 3 August 2009

No Definitive Evaluation of Declawed Cats

I talked about this in passing on this page: Declawing kills more cats than saves them. Here, I discuss the fact that there is no definitive evaluation of declawed cats in more detail. Shocking as it sounds, at 2001 (and I believe it is still the case) there was no definitive scientific evaluation of the short and long term complications associated with the declawing of cats. What I mean is that veterinarians in America have no clear, scientifically based idea whether the declawing operations that they routinely perform in the tens of millions causes short or long term health problems. Staggering but true.

Of course there is a pile of anecdotal evidence and vets have some ideas of their own (always biased I would say, if they declaw) but there is no sound and reliable survey in existence upon which a decision could be made by the American Veterinary Medical Association or individual vets whether to operate or not. In short all the veterinarians in America who carry out the operation act recklessly in performing a brutal operation for the convenience of the owner without being able to formulate an assessment as to the medical effects and risks, which by the way are all extremely negative.

That must be a act of mass medical negligence. Responsible medical personnel should never perform medical procedures without knowing the risks. That is obvious but the American vets do not know the full risks because they do not understand the full extent of the complications. The information for what I have said comes from a research paper on the AVMA website entitled: Assessment of claims of short- and long-term complications associated with onychectomy in cats - by Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD. It might be fair to say that his conclusion came as a surprise to him. He says this at the end of the article:
"It seems unthinkable that an elective surgery performed on a quarter of owned cats could lack definitive evaluation, but that appears to be the case."
"Unthinkable" means, "Impossible to imagine; inconceivable"....Is this a criticism of the AVMA? You bet it is. The AVMA is presiding over a state of affairs in relation to the declawing of cats that is impossible to imagine by any right minded person and this assessment is on the AVMA website.

He did, however, go over a mass of data all of which was almost inconclusive at a scientific level, he said, but which nonetheless points to some real post operative problems, which I touch on below.....

Note: People will say that if there is no definitive scientific research on the complications of declawing sugery how can people like myself say it is bad. Well, this is the answer. Firstly, there has been research and it points to the fact that serious complications exist. The author of the report mentioned above concludes:
"The most that can be said about adverse behavioral sequelae to onychectomy is that they remain as hard to dismiss as they are to quantify."
In other words he is saying that we cannot say that there are no adverse complications. Secondly, as a matter of pure commonsense if an animal has the tips of their toes removed by a knife (usually) and given large amounts of pain killers afterwards it can be concluded that there will be a lot of healing to do over a long period of time. It is major surgery causing a very serious injury. What people like me say is that to put an animal through that for the sake of a piece of furniture that might well be thrown out before the cat dies is madness.

The act of declawing is nicely described by the dictionary definition of "to mutilate", which is this:
  • To deprive of a limb or an essential part; cripple.
  • To disfigure by damaging irreparably.
  • To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.
I have quoted the (I hope they will excuse me if it is a minor breach of copyright).

Thirdly, it is not for us, the people who object to declawing to prove that it is wrong at a scientific level. It is for the perpetrators to prove that it is acceptable. The onus falls on them to carry out all the research before the procedure is accepted. They are the "doctors" who do the mutilation. They have to justify it and act professionally. Fourthly, there are a significant number of owners who requested and got declawing and who regretted it. Over 5% had a negative attitude about 9 months after surgery - remember that this is from people who favour declawing. If there are 22.5 million declawed cats and 2 cats per household that makes 11.25 million owners requesting declawing of which more than 500,000 would report problems 9 months after surgery (if the survey could extend to such a sample size).

A small selection of summarised findings of the report, Assessment of claims of short- and long-term complications associated with onychectomy in cats - by Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD.. The reason why the selection is small is because the findings are not precise enough. You can see the whole report here - (it will cost you $15)
  1. Declawing is a common elective procedure. About 25% of all domestic cats at least are declawed. If there are 90 million cats that makes 22.5 million cats that have been mutilated.
  2. The author says that the AVMA takes "a cautious approach". How can this be? The author concludes that vets carry out declawing not knowing what the consequences will be. Isn't that reckless rather than cautious?
  3. As at 2001 in respect of a study on adverse behavioural outcomes of declawing cats it was found that:
  • biting was reported for about 12% of declawed cats
  • house soiling was reported for about 25% of declawed cats (is this why declawed cats are given up? - Declawing Kills More Cats)
The author says that veterinarians are well aware that declawed cats suffered unrelieved pain in the past (all that pain for what?). Modern techniques "substantially reduce"....pain. But by how much and what about the long term pain? Do we know if the cat is feeling pain?

The author says that information on the long term behavioural outcomes of declawing cats is desperately needed. That was in 2001. It has not happened to the best of my knowledge. Wrong? Please tell me. If research has been conducted it has been buried and if that is the case it would be an horrendous indictment of the callous and cavalier approach that the AVMA has towards the domestic cat. There is still no definitive evaluation of declawed cats.

From No Definitive Evaluation of Declawed Cats to Home Page

Sunday 2 August 2009

AVMA Veterinarians Admit Declawing is Inhumane

AVMA Veterinarians Admit Declawing is Inhumane by implication. In a survey conducted some time ago (mid 1990s, it seems), domestic cat owners who had put their cats through declawing (onychectomy) or the procedure to stop the cat having use of its claws (tendonectomy), were asked questions after the operation. The purpose was to compare behavioral problems after the operation and the see what the owners thought of the operation. The survey sample was 18 cats that went through tendonectomy and 39 cats that had the tips of their toes removed (onychectomy). It was confirmed that the most common reason to put their cats through the operations was
"to avoid damage caused by the cat scratching household materials. Avoidance of injury to humans or animals was chosen more often by owners whose cats underwent onychectomy than those that underwent tendonectomy"
The fact that furniture is more important to these people than their cats shows how ridiculous the AVMA policy on declawing is and that declawing in the US is almost always done for non-therapeutic reasons (meaning for the benefit of the person not the cat). The policy states:
"Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s)."
It seems therefore that these people had tried to prevent their cats from scratching. The policy is drafted so widely that it is hopeless, worse it is a sham. Under the policy a person can try for a couple of minutes on two occasions and pass the test. The survey results say that,
"Significant differences were not detected regarding behavior problems after surgery......Although tendonectomy and onychectomy involved some medical complications and behavior changes following surgery"
This means that there were behavioral problems doesn't it? So much for the arguments by countless thousands of people who put their cats through this cruel procedure who say my cats fine after the operation. Vets admit that there are "some complications." Finally the report concludes (as this report is on the AVMA website):
"Tendonectomy may be a humane alternative to onychectomy...( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43–47)"
So cutting pieces of tendon out of the cat (Tendonectomy) is a humane alternative to removing the tips of the toes (how bizarre is that by the way?). By implication this clearly states that declawing is inhumane. And as this is a survey published on the AVMA website, it is an open admission that their veterinarians are behaving in an inhumane way on a regular basis in defiance of common decency and against the interests of their patients.


Signs of Cat Mouth Disease

It is something that we tend to put to one side. We are too busy etc. Our cat is there, utterly reliable and he or she takes care of herself just fine but we should really keep an eye on some basics and we, as companions to our cats, can do quite a lot in the way of inspections. Grooming and inspecting for fleas is the classic example.

Inspecting for signs of cat mouth disease is relatively straightforward too and should be picked up early so that preventative steps or early reactive steps can be taken. We don't even have to inspect our cat's mouth at the outset because there are early signs of cat mouth disease.

One of the first signs of cat mouth disease is that the cat has difficulty eating because the mouth is sore. It wants to eat but stops. The cat might look at the food longingly and even try and eat but stop.

As the mouth is sore another sign will be an unkempt coat as it is too painful for the cat to groom her coat in the usual way by licking. If the cat does groom itself it may drool. This will be indicated by saliva on the cat's chin and/or chest below the chin.

Another sign and one that is pretty obvious but you gotta get close is bad breath. The likely causes of bad breath would be Stomatitis (an inflammation of the mucous lining of any of the structures in the mouth) and Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums around the teeth without loss of the tooth attachment). Bad breath may also be caused by tartar build up.

If these signs are present the mouth can be examined but your cat won't like it particularly as the mouth is sore. If you are right handed, to open a cat's mouth, place the left hand over the cat's head and the finger and thumb of the hand against the corners of the mouth and press in gently. The mouth will open and it can be opened slightly further by pressing down on the chin with the index finger of the right hand. Warning: be careful and if in doubt see a good veterinarian. Preferably one who does not practice the crime of declawing cats for non-therapeutic reasons (in the USA) as this will be a sign that the vet is more in tune with the cat and less in tune with turning a profit.

Here is a nice cat having its teeth cleaned. This is taking proactive measures! Difficult though and I would say that this cat is more accepting of having his teeth cleaned than most. If the mouth is diseased, however, a visit to vet is needed and not teeth cleaning. Too late for that for us to deal with unless you want a good scratch!

From to Home Page

Saturday 1 August 2009

Why I declawed My Cat

This is why I declawed my cat. I’m fed up with being told I am a monster when I am not. I love my cats. I had lots and I had them all declawed because I think it is a helpful thing. It makes the cat more liveable with, doesn’t it?

I looked after them really well after surgery and they did great. I can’t see anything different. Yeh, I changed the litter to a paper litter that you can buy in pet stores which helps. But you anti-declawers are all PC. You’ve never lived with cats, have you?

A lot of cats are left to die in SPCA because people can’t live with their furniture being wrecked. If you cat lovers would stop having a go at people like me who sees the practical side then maybe more cats would be re-homed from cat shelters and loved and cared for. Why don’t you cat lovers show pictures of cats being euthanized at cat shelters? Isn’t that lots worse?

Sure declawing can be done badly but my vet is good and he recommends it. I just take good advice. What am I supposed to do. I look to my vet to give me the best advice and I think he does. My cats still have their paws to walk on. Amputation would leave her nothing to walk on. She just has no paws so when she plays rough she dont scratch me. Or scratch my dry wall when she is done with the litter box.

Look, its not something I wanted to do but I am not giving my cat up to someone who lets her keep her claws that she didn’t need anyway. Shes an indoor cat. Why does she need claws. Animals adapt well to the change and in no time act like nothing happened to them.

And anyway I have a baby and I'm frightened she will scratch my baby’s face and eyes. Cats are unpredictable particularly with children. Cats don’t need their front claws for balance. My cats walk fine without claws.

Anyway how can people agree to spaying and neutering and hate declawing. I don’t understand. Neutering is removing internal organs isn’t it? There is pain with that too.

Also I have declawing done before she was 2 and i was told that’s OK by my vet. It doesn’t cause any personality change. I just think that anti declaw people show us the worst cases, Not all cats have terrible experiences. Mines an indoor cat so it won’t need to defend itself. he walks fine and stretches and he is not changed.

If you think it is horrible it is your business. I don’t think that most anti declawers have cats. How do you know. You are just guessing. I could not have a cat unless it was declawed and anyway it saves lives. It saves me time and energy. Declawing does not cause arthritis. There is no proof that it does. It doesn’t make sense. I am sure it doesn’t cause psychological damage. It is just laughable what people say.

You guys who hate declawing make a drama about it. They heal in a week anyway. And to say that in some countries is is banned or illegal is irrelevant. If you think they care more in those countries well they eat them so why bother declawing!

----- this is a submission about why I declawed my cat by a visitor to this site and does not reflect the views of the site owner.

From why I declawed my cat to home page

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group

I have got to spread the word of a Flickr group that I started called, cat-photo-technique. It was started to encourage better cat photography. There is a lot of cat photography, as we know, on the internet, and I would like to see some more well worked out images using good technique that are based on the work of the best cat photographer, Helmi Flick.

In fact, it was the fantastic quality of Helmi's photographs that inspired me to create the cat-photo-technique Flickr group.

And maybe this was foretold or meant to be. Flickr is similar to Flick is it not! Anyone can submit photos to the group, amateurs or pros. They are all feed into the stream as seen above. And the best get to go on the home page of PoC the main site where they will get seen by thousands each day. Featured photos are also presented on the cat-photo-technique page of the PoC website - here are some links to have a see for yourselves:

From Cat-Photo-Technique Flickr Group to Home Page

Monday 27 July 2009

Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog

I would strongly advise using Google My Maps to Improve your blog. I use this fantastic software to create maps to illustrate the geographic ranges of the wild cats. OK, that is pretty specific stuff. But the potential is awesome. You can also use third party software to embed your maps into you blog. I am guessing but I am pretty sure that Google will be doing this themselves soon.

At the moment you would normally produce your map using My Maps and then link to it. But having produced some maps of my own I found a means to embed them. Here is an example:

In the above map, the range of the African golden cat is illustrated in blue. Little is known about this wild cat so my idea is that if the map is public and anyone can upgrade it, this should in time result in a greater knowledge of this cat, which in turn should assist conservation efforts. The original map that feeds this embed is here: African golden cat range. This is serious but stuff but it can be fun too. You can see the page on the range of this wild cat here: African golden cat geographic range.

The kinds of things that can be done with Google My Maps are outlined in this Google video:

This next video you have probably seen! It is that good but it illustrates how you can let other people collaborate on your maps (if you allow it) and allow the map to be public or private:

Most people will use Google My Maps to, for example, plot routes to places which can then be published. A classic purpose might be to show people how to find your house if you are having a party or selling it. You can add photographs and videos to places that are identified by flags, which can be dragged into position very easily.

There are just so many possibilities for Google My Maps to improve your Blog. On the basis that you can embed the map and write notes, add photos and embed videos about the places marked on the map you can virtually build an entire page around a map. Of course, for SEO reasons you'll need to add some words to the article too!

From Google My Maps to Improve Your Blog to Home Page

Tuesday 21 July 2009

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing

USA Cities Must Ban Declawing -- In the following linked article I urged people to oppose California Bill SB 762. Well, as I thought it, has been passed by the Californian government and signed off by the governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It passed the Assembly recently on a 59-6 vote. Earlier it passed the Senate, 31-6. This is a pretty conclusive vote for the bill. The problem is that the politicians are rather short sighted. On the face of it Bill SB 762 looked OK. The idea was to ensure uniformity of legislation and regulations concerning the professions throughout California and to stop local legislators such as the wise men and women of West Hollywood enacting laws that regulated a profession at a local level, in this case veterinarians who wantonly declaw in breach of ethics and against the interests of the patient.

But the successful ban in West Hollywood meant that there were different rules across the state. The important point that the politicians who passed Bill SB 762 didn't recognise is that the ban at West Hollywood is the right law.

Bill SB 762 (is it now an Act, I am not sure) comes into force on January 1st 2010. This allows a shortish window of opportunity for any other city or municipality to enact new legislation along the lines of West Hollywood's ban. One such city is San Francisco who have shown an intention to do this. The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare recommended to the Board of Supervisors that they should enact legislation that bans declawing in the city for non-therapeutic purposes.

To an outsider like me it is shocking and bizarre that these local bans are so slow to be enacted. It is obvious that declawing should be banned when it is for the convenience of the cat's owner and when the veterinarian associations fail to act to curb their veterinarians. How complicated is it?

Anyway, all cities who have been thinking of banning declawing for non-therapeutic purposes need to get their skates on. Over to you guys....USA Cities Must Ban Declawing in my opinion.

See: Declawing Cats for lots of links and comment on this provocative subject.

From USA Cities Must Ban Declawing to Home Page

Saturday 18 July 2009

Short Legs of Dwarf Cats

The short legs of dwarf cats are thought to be due to pseudoachondroplasia a type of short-limb dwarfism. It affect people as well. The prefix “pseudo” is used as the affects of this genetic mutation is not the same as achondroplasia dwarfism. The difference (as I mention on the dwarf cat health issues page) is that while pseudoachondroplasia is characterised by short limbs and a normal head, achondroplastic dwarfism is characterised by short legs and an enlarged head.

I don’t know how settled the assessment of the genetic mutation is dwarf cats is. But I do know that recent research has uncovered the cause of the canine equivalent of the dwarf cat, the dachshund.

Research indicates that the short legs of the dachshund (a dog with a normal body and head like dwarf cats and short legs) are due to the mutation, thousands of years ago, of a single gene.

The American National Human Genome Research Institute discovered that all short-legged purebred dogs carried an extra copy of a gene that codes for a “growth-promoting protein called fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4)”. This gene is thought to be, “a retrogene that was inserted into the dog genome some time after the ancestor of modern dog breeds diverged from wolves.”

Its presence results in the overproduction of the FGF4 protein, which is believed to switch on growth receptors at the wrong time during foetal development. This in turn causes the legs to be short and out of proportion.

The question I have is whether this research has any bearing on the creation of the short legs of dwarf cats? Answers would be welcome and can be submitted, please, on a form at the base of the Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats page.

From the Short Legs of Dwarf Cats to Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats

Friday 17 July 2009

Oppose California Bill SB 762

Before I start and ask people to oppose California Bill SB 762, let me say that I am an outsider. I am not American. That has benefits and detriments. On the upside it means I am more likely to see the bigger picture, to stand back, to not be indoctrinated by tens of years of culture that considers that the declawing of cats is acceptable. And there are many millions of people in America who profess to love their cats and who believe that they do love their cats and yet assault them viciously in requesting that a veterinarian declaw them for non-therapeutic reasons.

On the downside it means I have to charter my way through a minefield of legislation that looks a bit odd. Why oppose California Bill SB 762?

The objective (or at least one of the objectives) of SB 762 seems to be to ensure uniform statewide governance of licensed professions. That is to prohibit cities or counties from restricting procedures that are licensed by the State Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). In relation to the declawing of cats this bill seems to refer to (and be a reaction to) the West Hollywood declawing ban that was at first successfully challenged by the California Veterinary Medical Association; the decision then being overturn on appeal by the Court of Appeal who upheld the anti-declaw ordinance, which is the only one of its kind in the nation.

On the face of it, California Bill SB 762 would seem to be concerned with blocking any more cities and municipalities who are thinking about doing the same thing as the now famous West Hollywood. Yet:
It is important to note that this bill does not seek to undo the West Hollywood ordinance and includes a grandfathering clause that preserves the City of West Hollywood's 2003 anti-declawing ordinance. (quoted from website)
However, the bill would seem to be about preventing similar actions. Supporters of California Bill SB 762 say that:
....without legislation ensuring uniform statewide governance of licensed professions, professional standards will be dissimilar and discordant. (quoted from website)
The last argument, in my opinion completely misses the point. It is a very narrow argument. Any decision should be based on what is correct and proper. It is patently obvious that declawing is wrong and no matter how many weasel words or smoke screens that are used by veterinarians, it is right and proper to ban it through legislation at any level if the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) don't do their job and at least regulate the practice far more closely (or better still plain ban it).

On that sound footing it is argued that it is state legislation that is "discordant" and out of step with the city legislators who reflect the proper course of action. In short, the West Hollywood legislation is correct and the state should follow. This may sound like an extravagant thing to say but in the USA, the city of West Hollywood is at the forefront of much needed change. It is the beginning of change and that is why they are currently alone. If the state followed West Hollywood, there would be complete uniformity and the objective of this proposed legislation would be met. If state legislation tries to prevent cities doing the proper thing it will only cause future litigation and problems. And I call upon all those cities who are or have considered passing ordinances banning declawing to go ahead as this might disrupt things.

It seems that the only way to ban declawing (if the WVMA and other associations won't and it would be far easier if they did) is to do it piecemeal in small "bite sized pieces" and thereby chip away at it. This is because the bigger legislators are unprepared to do it probably because at the state level there is too many people pulling in different directions and it becomes unmanageable.

Another point of note is that not all vets are affiliated to the AVMA and that could lead to discordant regulations. Legislation would provide an umbrella of rules to ensure a uniform approach.

Opponents of California Bill SB 762 say:
...that local jurisdictions have the right to make specific decisions relating to professions and that the appellate court's decision should be upheld.
Yes, because it is the only way to get the job done of stopping the legalised yet criminal assault on innocent cat companions by unethical veterinarians who routinely recommend it against the interests of the patient, the cat and in breach of their oath. More to come. Any errors in this? Please leave a comment and it will be corrected.

Oppose California Bill SB 762 - See:

From Oppose California Bill SB 762 to Home Page

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing

On reading letters from veterinarians to the council of the City of Berkeley, California, in support of not banning declawing in late 2003, I note that Veterinarian's arguments for declawing include the following:
  1. Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.
  2. If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats because, for example, immuno-suppressed people "can have an increased risk of infection from a simple cat scratch" or "scratches can be harmful to the frail and elderly"
  3. People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive (so one vet said) so why can't we accept declawing.
The Cat Fanciers Assocation says that the "majority of American veterinarians perform declawing surgery, either routinely suggesting it to clients or as a last resort for cats that would otherwise be euthanized.."

Please Note: I like America and Americans but strongly dislike the culture of declawing. Everything that I say or do in relation to the cat is on the basis of treating the cat as I would a person, with respect. Declawing is highly disrespectful of our cat companions - worse, much worse.

Note: As I understand it the Supreme Court of America has since 2003 allowed the ban on declawing to proceed in Berkeley as it was claimed to be against the freedom to conduct business.

I would like to address the above arguments:

Decisions on declawing should be made between the veterinarian and the client and without interference from legislators.

Yes, in an ideal world the above statement is true but American Veterinarians have in general shown themselves to be incapable of behaving morally in respect of declawing and are frequently in breach of their code of ethics and oath in this regard. As the American Veterinary Medical Association policy of declawing cats actively, by implication, promotes poor behaviour by vets in relation to declawing of cats there is no other course of action to protect cats from the criminal acts of declawing other than the outright banning of it. And we should all praise and commend the council members and major of Berkeley for being enlightened and courageous enough to see this legislation through. Well done. See: American Vets are Unethical Towards the Cat, AVMA Policy on Declawing Cats, Psychology of Declawing. Note: to describe declawing as a "criminal act" is not a biased, subjective or emotional statement but one made in the cold light of the fact that it is exactly that in many countries in Europe, where it is banned. What happened to America?

If cats were not declawed there would be more abandonment and euthanasia of cats

This might be correct but the argument is based on two wrongs making a right and we all know that that is not a good argument. There is a counter argument. Cats that are declawed can and do suffer from behavioral problems such as urinating outside the litter box. This behavior can and probably will lead to cats being relinquished.

In any event, the answer is not in compounding the victimisation of the humble and silent cat companion by killing it because it doesn't fit in (because it is scratching - a natural act), but to better train and educate people to make proper decisions in relation to whether they should keep cats. If all people made decisions as to whether they should keep a cat on the basis that it would be kept intact (and not declawed) then the decision would be made on a sound basis.

If the answer is to not keep a cat that might initially result in more cats in rescue homes but you can't make a right by adopting mutiple wrongs. There has to be a return to sound fundamentals and then the problems of over breeding of cats and feral cats will gradually be resolved. Declawing actually encourages the breeding of cats because it allows people who would not normally keep cats to adopt a declawed one. A person who insists on declawing must be unsuitable to keep a cat because the relationship is based at the outset on the human companion brutally assaulting the cat companion. What kind of relationship is that?!

Unfortunately millions of cat keeping people in America see no problem with declawing. This, I argue is the result of years of indoctrination by American veterinarians insidiously conditioning the public into believing that it is acceptable and pain free bla, bla, bla.

Immuno suppressed people and frail people shouldn't keep cats if it is dangerous as vets seem to say.

People accept cat neutering and spaying which is more invasive so why can't we accept declawing

This sounds like a reasonable argument until you think about it. One way to look at it is to refer to humans. We accept sterilisation of ourselves in many millions because it is a practical way of dealing with a flawed situation. It is the best compromise. Globally one fifth of married couples rely on the sterilization of the female as a birth control measure. In places like India and China the figure is higher at 33% of married couples (Earth Policy Institute).

The best practice way of dealing with and managing the cat population is through sterilisation. The procedure has a profound and important purpose and we do it to ourselves as I said.

99.9% of the time declawing has no purpose other than to protect a person's personal possessions! This is not a good reason. Plus we do not do it to ourselves (amputate the top joint of each finger) as we know it is totally unacceptable. The thought of it is bizarre. We should not do to cat companions what we would not do to ourselves.

I am surprised that educated veterinarians can make such ill conceived arguments in favour of declawing. Perhaps, though, it is not surprising as they were desperately searching for arguments to justify the unjustifiable and they themselves (in large numbers) are also conditioned into believing it is alright. Veterinarians' arguments for declawing are weak and flawed.

From Veterinarians' Arguments for Declawing to Home Page

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