Friday 29 July 2011

Letter to Governor on Declawing Cats

In this time of uncertainty in the United States why not write to your governor about the declawing of cats? It may be a good time to do this. Minds might be more open to the possibilities.

Annie Bruce (the author of Cat Be Good) and Ruth Young have. Ruth wrote to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Below is Ruth's (Monty's mom) letter which she says anyone can use if they like. Obviously, you can and should personalize it. I don't expect you to agree all the contents but who cares. The important thing is to do the letter and send it!

Office of Governor XXXX

Dear Governor XXXX,

I am writing to you about an issue that may seem small in light of all that is going on in Wisconsin right now.  However, you have been consistently doing the right thing when it comes to fiscal issues, so I feel I can trust you to weigh both sides and do the right thing on another very difficult issue.

A few communities in other states have already made it illegal to declaw cats. I believe Wisconsin needs to follow their lead.

I am not a person to look to the government to solve every problem. I believe President Reagan was right when he said that the scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” I am generally against legislation that places undue constraints on private enterprise. So how can I be for a new law against declawing cats? The answer is simple. According to our laws against animal cruelty, delcawing is already against the law. It is, quite simply, animal abuse for the convenience of the owner.

I believe in freedom. But I also believe people need to behave in such a way that they merit freedom.  Vets who put profit ahead of the welfare of their patients are not behaving as free people should.

Declawing, which should be a last resort procedure, is a quick money maker for vets and seemingly a quick fix for a pet owner. But the pets and their caretakers are left to pick up the pieces, as the cat starts refusing to use the litter box, becomes a biter and limps around on his stumps. This is not how a free people should treat the most vulnerable among us—animals who have no voice and no choice in how they are treated.

To me the issue mirrors abortion. The MD performs the abortion, making the quick profit. But a baby is dead and the mother is left to pick up the pieces as she deals with depression and guilt.  Like declawing, we take what should be a last resort procedure and use it as a quick easy fix, with suffering as the direct result.  In either case, is this how people who merit freedom behave?

The profit motive is usually a good thing, in that it motivates people to work harder. In doing so they do things to help all of us, like sell us gas and groceries, serve us meals,  clean up after us, bind our wounds, protect our lives and property and teach our kids. But what happens when the motive for profit overrides common decency and suffering is the result? I would love to see the AVMA change things from the inside. Their own statements call declawing a last resort procedure, but vets in the US are declawing kittens and providing packages including declawing with spay/neuter surgeries.

Vets claim declawing will keep cats in homes, but my research has shown me the opposite result. Deprived of their claws, many cats become biters. Bites are generally more serious than scratches. Due to the significant pain following declaw surgeries, cats may start to avoid the litter box, because it hurts so much.

Cats are digitigrade - they walk on their toes. Declawing takes the weight bearing structure away, because the whole last joint must be removed to avoid the claw growing back. Sometimes it does anyway. The rate of complications from declaw surgeries is very high.  Post declaw surgeries, cats have significant pain, including phantom pain, as following any amputation. The loss of the natural weight bearing structure in their paws leads to changes in gait, more pain, and even arthritis over time. Vets who declaw try to deny these changes and side effects, but to me the negative results of declawing are obvious. I work as a physical therapist assistant, so the connections between form and function are very clear to me. Changes from the original design are not usually beneficial!

All this to keep cats in their homes—as if every cat caretaker will relinquish or put down his/her cat over a few scratches on the furniture! If this is true, we really are not behaving as free people ought! But I think the vets exaggerate this situation. I believe the average person will trust his vet and take his cues from this professional, sworn to act only in the best interest of animals. I have friends who had a vet refuse to declaw a cat, and that was enough to convince them not to ever have it done. I have other friends who declaw every cat who comes into their lives and will not listen to my arguments against the procedure because I’m just a PTA, not a vet, and their vet certainly knows best.

This is a situation where government needs to step in. I wish we could step in where abortion is concerned as well, but perhaps that day will come. On the issue of declawing cats we can make a difference right now.

I encourage you to research this topic for yourself. has many useful articles on the subject.  Thanks for taking the time to learn about what may seem to be a less important issue. Believe me when I say that how a society treats its most vulnerable members should always be an issue of primary concern.



Michael signature


  1. Comparing declawing and abortion is a sign that you are not qualified to make authoritative extrapolations about abortion. Seriously, wtf?

  2. This is an example letter. You can take what you want from it. You don't have to like it. You don't have to be rude. Just take it as it is. It is personal but modifiable. Take the stuff you like and be open minded.


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