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San Francisco Considers a Ban on Declawing Cats

San Francisco Considers a Ban on Declawing Cats

San Francisco may consider banning the declawing of cats based on a plea from an animal welfare advisory board to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

Opponents of the ban, including the California Veterinary Medical Association, argue that the decision should be left to cat owners and their veterinarians.

However, San Francisco’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare are on the other side of the debate with the opinion that declawing is cruel and should not be done for cosmetic reasons, i.e. keeping the couch in one piece.

What’s the big deal anyway, they’re just nails right? Well, not so much. Declawing isn’t a simple procedure that merely removes a cat’s nail. Rather, it involves a painful surgery that removes the last joint in a cat’s foot, to which the nail is attached.

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor of Behavioral Pharmacology and Director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine:

“The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats’ recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain.

Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.”

Declawing is considered inhumane by many and has been banned in 23 countries, and in West Hollywood, Calif. and Norfolk, Va., in the U.S.

For more information on declawing and alternatives to the procedure, visit and

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2:32PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Declawing is frighteningly common in the U.S. -- I worked for six months in a shelter in the northeast, and the percentage of cats there who were declawed (including some who were brought in from the street!) was shocking to me.

This is a cruel procedure and a failure on the part of owners and veterinarians. It's about as sensible as cutting your puppy's leg tendons because he jumps -- a permanent and crippling surgical "solution" to a problem that should be handled with training and exercise. Anyone caught hamstringing a dog to prevent jumping would be charged with cruelty and his pet confiscated immediately; so why is declawing still a topic of "debate"?

6:31PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

If you are going to prevent declawing, you better make it illegal for housing rentals to discriminate against cat owners. Years ago, when I was trying to find a rental that would take cats, one apartment manager would only allow declawed cats! Of course, I would not declaw my cats to live there- but there are people who will not be able to find housing with their pets because of apartment restrictions on pets....

4:20AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

The vet I go to does do declawing and when I asked him about why he does it he replied that is one less cat that will be given up to a shelter. I still feel that is one is more concerned about their chairs,sofa,or whatever should not have be a animal guardian anyway. But, he did get me thinking?

8:20AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

On another subject, there was a page, which apparently was immediately closed about a jewish judge condenming a stray do to be stoned to death?? Please tell me this is a hoax. Does someone have information on this.

8:17AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

What is there about considering? This is mutilation, it is cruel. That 9% who approved declawing are barbarians. If you do not want to be scratched, stay away from cats. This practice is as cruel, unnecessary and mutilating as cutting the vocal cords of dogs. What about doing the same for screeming children or obnoxious spouses?

3:31AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

I am a cat lover living in the UK and I have never come across nor heard of a declawed cat here. U visited the States for five weeks and both the cats I met had been declawed. One had been declawed before he was rescued by my friends, but that doesn't detract from a society which allows mutilation of animals in the first place.
I have a fifteen year old cat who was a stray kitten, I have no claw marks in my home, and I trim the tips of his claws when they get overlong. We look after feral cats in Portugal who have never done any harm to our lovely home there either. It is time this barbaric practice was stopped. Cats are cats, and we love them, claws and all.

2:21PM PDT on Oct 20, 2009

Surely the only ones with a valid reason for supporting the sadistic practice of de-clawing are mice!

6:03PM PDT on Aug 23, 2009

Ruth O has said it all in a few words it is horrific and any vet that does it is a butcher

3:25AM PDT on Aug 19, 2009

Declawing is a very cruel mutilating operation which should be banned worldwide !

8:39AM PDT on Aug 16, 2009

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good to hear heroic stories. However it bums me out that the tormenting happened in the first place.…

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