Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19.  This is because there is a concern amongst some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals. Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were

Tenectomy or tendonectomy on Cats

Performing a tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is a cynical way for American veterinarians to wriggle around the impossible moral difficulties that they face when carrying out the brutal and unnecessary declawing procedure.

Declawing is big in America. It is simply big business (about $20 billion on my estimate) and it is that which drives vets to do it. But despite all the feeble attempts to justify what is cosmetic surgery for the benefit of the cat owner (and to dress it up otherwise is nonsense) declawing is a problem for vets. Some even refuse to do it! I am shocked!

On the basis that declawing does present moral questions for a small percentage of American veterinarians they had to devise an alternative that seemed more acceptable to the public. A procedure that repackaged the process but which still brought in those precious dollars.

And they came up with the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats (it can be performed on other animals). This procedure is defined as "the surgical resection of part of a tendon". Notice the jargon of the word, "resection". Resection means, "the partial or complete removal of an organ or other bodily structure". In other words the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is the cutting and removal of a part of the tendon of the cat which in turn is part of the mechanism that controls the extension (flexing) of the cat's claws.

In removing this piece of the cat's anatomy the cat's claws cannot be retracted (drawn in) and are rendered almost useless, as I understand it. The after effects are as high as for declawing (although this is still work in progress it would seem). Incidentally, the level of short-term after surgery complications for declawing is not as low as some vets make out. They can be as high as 50% and in the long term as high as 20% "Feline Onychectomy at a Teaching Institution: A Retrospective Study of 163 Cases," Veterinary Surgery, Vol. 23, no. 4 (July-August 1994): 274-280). My thanks to this website:

The procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is becoming increasingly common. The cat owner will need to trim and maintain the cat's claws regularly after the operation. I wonder whether they do bearing in mind that a request to carry out this procedure is likely to come from people who are not that inclined to devote a lot of time to their cat? This may result in more health problems for the cat.

As the procedure is newish there have been no long term analysis as to its effects on cat welfare. On that basis alone it should not be carried out or recommended by veterinarians and in any case it is the same story. A wholly unnecessary surgical procedure that is prohibited under the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (note: the procedure is not referred to by name as it is new but is still covered by the convention under Art 10 as it is non-curative and totally unnecessary in respect of benefit to the animal).

Article 10 – Surgical operations
  1. Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other non-curative purposes shall be prohibited and, in particular:
    1. the docking of tails;
    2. the cropping of ears;
    3. devocalisation;
    4. declawing and defanging;
  2. Exceptions to these prohibitions shall be permitted only:
    1. if a veterinarian considers non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the benefit of any particular animal;
    2. to prevent reproduction.
This procedure simply adds to the problem of the unethical approach of American veterinarians in regards to their propensity to conduct non-curative operations on cat companions.

Further reading:

From Tenectomy or tendonectomy on Cats to Home Page


Babz said…
What is it with (some) people in the USA? Why can't they let cats be cats and stop messing around and changing them to suit their own selfish convenience. HOW do they think people in the 37 countries of the world where it is banned manage without resorting to mutilation? The thing is if there wasn't the supply then the demand would be forced to fall which is why we MUST get it banned asap!
Michael Broad said…
Hi Babz, I blame the vets for playing a major role in indoctrinating the public into thinking that "customizing" a cat is acceptable.
moxie said…
I get upset when people suggest cat declawing or tendonectomy. People don't realize how paralyzing it is to take away that part of the cat. :(
Michael Broad said…
Hi Moxie, I get upset too. And angry! I feel helpless about it. Something needs to be done and it has to be radical, I think.
What do you think needs to be done? Any suggestions?

I feel very down too..
Michael Broad said…
Response to the last comment. This is what needs to be done:

1. A Revolution!

2. To begin the change in culture that considers a cat something that can be customized as if it is an inanimate object. It will take as long to change it as it took to make it - say 20 years.

3. Sue under Animal Welfare legislation one particularly obnoxious vet and make an example of him/her.

4. Boycott all vets who are listed the website until they change and become moral and decent.

5. Start up another veterinarian association: "The Ethical Veterinarian Association" and canvas for members. A decent percentage of vets don't like declawing etc. and might join.

6. Everyone should do their bit, no matter how small to create change.
Kat S. said…
I think that change has to come from all angles. I live in the USA and do cat rescue. I am horrified by the levels of ignorance that I have witnessed regarding declawing. I've actually had people tell me that they thought it was "good for the cat!" I blame the AVMA for not having the guts to stand up for the animals that they are supposed to be treating and protecting. They cater to the money and the whims of shallow people. I am working towards becoming a vet, so that I can be one more voice for the animals on the inside of the industry. Several cities in California have recently adopted declaw bans, but we need federal legislation that defines cosmetic mutilations as cruelty.
Anonymous said…
Ok I'm all about animals not suffering, I was raised vegan, but I have two cats both of which came to me starving. I took them in fixed them, and got there shots. Niether one of them where kittens.
They have now ruined my antique couch. I'm talking fabric literally hanging off. With both of them being full grown street cats its hard to teach an old cat new behaviors. I've been a cat owner and lover for 16 years, all declawed accept these two. It seems very stressful on all 3 of us. They are getting repremanded for something there body tells them to do. I remember being a teenager and telling my cats "tear it up" and encouraging there natural urge because they couldn't destroy anything. I have tried everything with these cats. Every suggestion I've found in the natural cat book and online, and nothing is working. I love these guys and the last thing I want to do is hurt them. So don't make it seem like every person that does either one of these procedures is an ignorant or bad person. If I had the opportunity to raise these cats from the beginning maybe they wouldn't be this way. But in the end I saved there lives. Consider that while your bad mouthing people who use these options.
Anonymous said…
I am a 20 year old American. My cat had a tendonectomy on his front paws when he was younger (not by my choice and out of my control). At the time, even though he wasn't in casts, he was still in a lot of pain constantly pawing at the walls leaving little blood streaks. Now, he's 4-years-old. It's near impossible for him to clean his claws. I have to regularly push out his claws (which hurts him because of scar tissue making it a huge ordeal any time I have to touch his paws) to clean them for him to prevent infection and STILL he's gotten an infection before. I have to regularly clip his claws anyways, and they're brittle from non-use, sometimes causing a nail to split into the wick (very painful!). Overall, I pretty much have to check his paws every day, if not at least twice a week (and still I'm the only one he'll let touch his paws). He still uses his enclosed litter just fine, but he'll sit and bat at the sides of the box for minutes on end trying to get litter out of his paws. He loves to 'scratch' the furniture and the corners of the rugs so if I don't maintain his claws he can still catch the fibers. If he somehow gets caught on a fiber (happens sometimes on loose fabric blankets) he's pretty much helpless to get unhooked without my help.

He's a great cat: funny personality, well mannered (for the most part), and loving. I'd do anything to undo what was done to him. If you're even thinking about getting a tendonectomy as an 'alternative' to de-clawing, remember all of this and hopefully think twice about doing either procedure.
Dreamcass said…
To Anonymous #1
Here's a helpful suggestion. Get rid of the couch and replace it with a cheap one. Put a slip cover over it and replace the cover when it gets too tattered. You can't change your cats' behavior, so why not adapt to them instead of adapting them to your wishes? A couch just a thing anyways, not nearly as important as your cats' well-being! I can't understand why so many people value their furniture and other material things over their animals!
Anonymous said…
But I've lost thousands of dollars in carpet, hundreds of dollars in curtains, hours and hours of sleep as they try to claw under bedroom doors and rip up more carpet... (no cats in the bedrooms if you ever want to have guests who are allergic, like mom).
How is that aesthetic only? You mean the aesthetics of my house or the aesthetics of the cats? Sometimes, in order to actually ENJOY the pet it might be a last ditch effort - aside from giving them away or putting them down...
But I imagine some people indeed would say de-clawing is worse than putting them down and giving away a beloved pet is a good option...? There will always be 2 sides to this debate.
Anonymous said…
Response to last comment. You are an idiot. You are clearly doing something terribly wrong if your cat is costing you thousands in damage. If your mom is allergic and you lock your cat out that is your mom's problem. She caused the problem. Don't keep a cat.
Anonymous said…
Every cat I have owned has had the tendonectomy. All have been extremely happy animals. Lets not humanize cats. They are animals....They forget about the claws as soon as they heal up.
Anonymous said…
I chose tendonectomy surgery for my 4 month old kittens yesterday! I had them under anesthesia and following the spay was prepping the female for her declaw when my Dr. Suggested this alternative. I have always had to declaw my cats in the past and hated it but chose it as the lesser of two evils. I am now hoping my babies will be better off. I can tell you the surgery was fairly bloodless, they do not seem painful, of course I am giving them pain medication and they are both running around the house as usual. Hope I made the right choice. I don't want to have to go back and declaw them down the road.
Anonymous said…
I am curious as to what countries the original writer of this blog and other posters here are from, since it appears that the abuse s aimed at American veterinarians and pet owners who chose declawing or tendonectomy surgery.
Anonymous said…
There have been no conclusive scientific studies to conclude that tendonectomy is detrimental to a feline's psychology nor does it cause them undue strife. In families with young children, this is ideal to reduce the chances of accidents. However, it should be noted that this procedure should NOT be performed for outdoor cats as it takes away their defensive abilities. This should be strictly for indoor-only felines.
Anonymous said…
Both of my cats were rescues,( 1 has been an indoor/outdoor kitten from the farm and the owners were forced to move into town. The second cat was a wild kitten that no 1 could catch that was running along the apartment complex in the fall of Minnesota.) In the past I've worked for a vet for 2 years. I, myself never believed in declawing and have in later years due to finances & foreclosure am in an apartment. These are not my first cats & I owned a cat that had previously been declawed. If I am to continue my enjoyment of their companionship I may be forced to declaw them. As a now 2 & 1 1/2yr old in the last year have destroyed the stairwell carpet while they have two large scratching posts. It may be a choice of declaw, get rid of cats or be homeless. I have recently had a loss of 1/2 my income & am rather angry with the corner I feel pushed. Before these two I have taken in & fed stray cats. Kitty was a Tom for quite some time we weren't sure if he had an owner. He was an Angel whom many fed. Last winter I peeled his dead body off the main Hwy near us. As long as I remain in town I DO NOT want to experience this any time soon with my one little door diver! I have become that cat lady spoken of but the bottom line is no one is going to pay my way or live my life. My cats are my responsibility & I enjoy & love my little brats! If it means I can keep them I will do what I need to to do it. Most places IF they allow cats require them to be declawed. Sickens me as it may this is not some place I own. I cannot afford to buy at this time. I have a child & my animals have ALWAYS been granted with the same title. No one messes with my animals in any malice or they have me & law inforcement to deal with. My cats don't get fed cheap crappy food either so opinions may vary but loving pet owners sometimes run low on options. Shame on you for making people feel neglectful for not being you! Good for you! I have had the option to send them to a friends farm. They will live in a empty barn & I'm sure my spoiled babies would thrive. However they have a large population of bald eagles. I DO NOT want my cats crushed & eaten by a beautiful, but protected bird!
Anonymous said…
So I guess you would rather the "idiotic US citizens" just let the 10's of thousands of cats that go to shelters daily, be put to sleep.While so many love people in America love cats and would love to have one, they don't want their homes destroyed? Also we American's "fix" our pets; remove any "organs" that cause them to reproduce. Is that inhuman and cruel. Animals hump and reproduce and cat's spray their scent to claim territory. I guess I can assume only stupid American's do that too. I mean it is painful and they do bleed and they could have complications from surgery, they can't do what nature would have them do make litter after litter of babies. They male animals are pretty much turned into eunuchs. In case people are wondering most American's keep their cats inside, so they don't get killed by cars. So you are absolutely right in the fact that we don't care for our animals, while they are all called fur babies, spoiled rotten, and the owners parents claim grandparent hood to animals too.
Michael said…
Ridiculous comment. You simply don't get it. You don't understand the immorality of it. You don't understand that declawing cats does not save the life of the cat. A lot of people relinquish their declawed cat for behavioral problems and why can't these people just accept the cat as he/she is and if not don't have a cat. It is self-indulgent nonsense and you are a stupid and cruel American if you support declawing.
Anonymous said…
That's me! "stupid, cruel and American" I have saved 3 dogs from being put down a wonderful cat who was born by a stray cat who had a bunch of babies in a back yard of a friend. Who might have survived a year with his claws on the street. Living with me he got a tendonectomy and live a happy loving 16 years. I had a dog I took to daycare for $1400 a year so that he would not be left in a kennel or pinned up in a house for 9 hours a day. I got one dog from a girl who had over 1000 ticks on her body that I personally had to pick up with tweezers, I found her a home where she could have land to run. The dog I have now who would run the streets like a wild man is sitting right next to my side and follows me like a shadow and would not run off for nothing. Yup that's the definition of a stupid cruel American fur baby owner!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the info on the tendonectomy. I've had cats for 30+ years and have always adopted cats that were already declawed. We had very happy relationships and no behavior problems. They forget about ever having had claws and scratched to the heart's delight.

My newest cat has his claws and is scratching EVERYTHING in sight despite having acceptable scratching tools throughout the house. He even scratches the smooth kitchen cabinet doors! He's wearing soft claw covers now and has scratched them til they're worn flat. Unbelievable. I'm researching all available alternatives and yours is the only review of the tendonectomy procedure I've found. Needless to say we won't be having that done.

Anonymous said…
Giving a destructive cat back to a no-kill shelter isn't always possible because those shelters refuse pets if they are already at maximum capacity by law. An unlucky cat gets dropped off somewhere...sickness and disease are certain if it doesn't get hit by a car first. A stray animal that gets trapped and goes to a kill shelter has an extremely short life expectancy.

An unwanted cat faces an uncertain future. Choose life, even if it means having to be declawed. It's not the worst thing that can happen.
Anonymous said…
Give the poor cat to someone who understands & has empathy for the poor little guy/ girl. YOU obviously don't need to be a pet owner, I'm not even sure you deserve a goldfish as I'm pretty sure you will find a way to torture that also. Ever hear of a pet rock? Only an idiot would put an inanimate object before a living, breathing, feeling animal. News flash- cats have brains, unlike you.
Katztoy said…
better yet... worry about true abuse of animals. Stop dog eating festivals in Asia. I have had declawed cats, let me tell you they came to no harm. If choice is declaw or dump to a shelter, I will declaw. My last rescue 8 yr old and she claws everything, carpets, furniture, walls & even me.It has to stop and training has not worked(yell,stomp, throw pillow & water gun), I can't find a home for her, not for lack of trying.
Michael Broad said…
I strongly disagree that there is a choice better cat dumping and declawing. That is incorrect. People should not dump because cats have claws. I don't think you are the right person to keep a cat. Sorry.

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