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


  1. If this Kim Van Syoc is the Senior Communications Specialist for Banfield and is a representative of the sort of people who work for Banfield,then that is shocking! That she doesn't even use the correct term for declawing just shows how little regard these people have for cats.
    Who are they trying to fool that declawing is done in their clinics as a last resort ? Declawing kittens is far from a last resort,it's far too easy for lazy selfish owners to have a kitten's toe ends amputated rather than buy it a scratching post.Neuter/declaw packages encourage these people and of course put more money in Banfield's bank account.
    I wish everyone would boycott Banfields 730 + veterinary hospitals, until they stop the mutilation of many cats and kittens, once and for all

  2. I agree we need to BOYCOTT Banfield, and PetsMart stores as well since many of the Banfield clinics are inside their stores, until they discontinue cat abuse & dismemberment. In 2006, Banfield started marketing declawing in their Optimum Wellness Plan for "preventative health care" for kittens - check it out: o

    They've made great progress for humanity towards the dogs, now they need to step up to the plate and start protecting healthy cat paws instead of needlessly destroying them!

  3. The idea that cats recover quickly from this hateful surgery probably stems from the depressing inability of so many vets and vet techs to identify feline expression of pain. It's laziness, pure and simple, along with a deeply ingrained belief that the findings of behavioural science on pain expression are not worth attending to.

    The common practice of offering pain relief as "optional" is proof that many members of the veterinary profession in the USA have gone right off the rails and lost any trace of humaneness.


  4. Thanks for your comments. We are three of a kind. We hate this curse that hangs over the lives of the domestic cat in the US.

  5. I agree with your positions on declawing.

    Dr. Jean Hofve has published an excellent summary online which presents the main arguments against a legal ban on declawing (of cats and other animals), and the documented, scientific facts about each one--as opposed to the opinions expressed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and various other individuals and organizations.
    In "Declawing and Science - Should Declawing be Banned?" she includes references to studies. I believe this data has successfully lead to declawing bans in 8 cities in California. She posted her article on Dec. 25, 2009. Link -

  6. Article and Facebook cause -

    In this article, "Declawing: Another Veterinarian's Perspective" from Jan. 8, 2010, Dr. Michael W. Fox has allowed to reprint his essay "Say No! To De-clawing Cats". Link

    Dr. Hofve also includes a link inviting people to join her Facebook Anti-Declawing Cause: PawSavers

  7. Video and interesting info…
    Dr. Jean Hovfe a declaw expert speaks for the declaw ban in Santa Monica
    Nov. 3, 2009
    “Dr. Jean Hovfe (rhymes with Bon Jovi) is an expert on cat declawing. She used to work for the DAX Foundation collecting research on declawing. She's since parted ways. When asked about Dave Weiss the CEO of the DAX Foundation she stated that he was in contact with the CVMA daily. She was told if Dave was to kill the declaw ban the CVMA promised him business from the vets. This explains why Dave Weiss did a 180 deg on the issue. Just weeks ago he had press releases in his website supporting the ban saying that declawing was inhumane.”

    Video of other speakers for and againt the declaw ban are listed there too.

  8. My two little buddies are one year and the happiest cats. They enjoy cat toys/posts, claws, the great outdoors, being neutered, organic meat, pure water and no toxic vaccines to give them cancer and other sicknesses later. They only go to the vet if they get sick because vets are trauma to a poor cat! All cats and dogs should be as healthy and lucky as mine!

  9. I realize & respect that many are against declawing, you're free to share your opinion. I have a declawed cat, that I adopted (I only adopt) as such & I also have a cat that I chose to declaw for the safety of the declawed cat I owned. It became a concern when the declawed fella was being scratched and bullied. So, it was my choice to do so & for safety issues I went through with it.

    It's funny how many of you are so, against declawing but, you allow a "domestic" cat to roam all over the neighborhood...they run the risk of being stolen, injured, poisoned, attacked, run over by an automobile & you're worried about a healthy, well adjusted cat with a cushy life inside of someone's home - minus claws. I couldn't live with myself if I allowed my cat to roam around without any supervision & run the great risk of getting hurt or sick...I find that to be irresponsible.

    I've done my research and besides the typical fanatical individuals who blow things out of proportion and embellish details of studies to bring their point across to others...they're no true dangers with the laser (the scalpel method seems to be questionable). It's important that you choose a reputable Vet in a impeccable environment & are a responsible pet parent during the short healing time then there are no dangers to your cats health.

    They're are risks and complications associated with any medical procedure both medically necessary and elective. But, proper care is of major importance!!

    A bigger problem than declawing is hoarding, crazy cat people (maybe even some of you) hoard many cats and they go through life in cramped homes that aren't kept clean, sharing diseases and cheap food with no nutrients. But, yes let's focus completely on declawing & ignore that the cat is happy and well adjusted afterwards...that makes sense.

    Proper Veterinarian care, quality food (not packed with fillers), lots of toys for mental stimulation and TONS of love are all what cats (& any animal) need.

    Pet adoption (no breeders) and Veterinarian care should be the ultimate concern of any pet parent. Let's hop down off of our soapbox and insure that we are providing proper nutrition and care. Declawing is a can choose wether it is something you would or wouldn't do. Wonderful FREEDOM we have!!

    Be well folks!

  10. People say declawing is altering a cat's anatomy. Well then what is spay and neutering? Cutting a cat's belly open and pulling out it ovaries and uterous seems much riskier than using a laser to remove the claws yet the same people complaining about declawing are saying everyone should spay or neuter their pets. If you cat is an inside cat and well cared for then there's nothing wrong with removing the claws. Then they never have to go through the miserable front nail clipping they hate so much and they run around as happily as they did before the procedure. They even sometimes use their paws to scratch at things a if the claws were still there. It's OK to have a cat and a nice home with furniture that isn't damage and not worry about your cats accidentally scratching your guests or family members. I know several people with declawed cats and those cats are very happy and loved and act the same as a cat with it's claws but without the damage claws can cause. It's a choice. Respect other people's decisions.

    1. Hi, this comment helps explain the difference between neutering and declawing:

      I disagree with your views but respect your opinion. If you don't see the immorality in declawing domestic cats I feel sorry for you.

      Here are some pages on declawing:

    2. One of hundreds of good arguments against declawing:


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