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Explaining the horror of declawing cats to young children who want to know why?!

November 16th, 2010, 11:04 AM
I would appreciate if members can advise me on explaining to a 10 year old, the truth on what the Vet :eek:does, to unfortunate cats who are declawed. I received a letter asking me this (I do rescues) - and I need to respond to her. Most people are not aware of the "specifics" - in that it is truly a HORRIFIC and very ABUSIVE operation, and it leaves cats with an enitire lifetime of mental and physical PAIN :(- and very often - with traumatic behavioural problems, as a result of this surgery. (such as personality changes - becoming withdrawn, introverted, nervous, fearful, aggressive, biting, urinating on clothes, not using the litter box - because of how painful it feels to scratch the litter, after the surgery.... etc. etc.!) The fact is that they do not only remove the nails (which the thought of causes me great distress....but they actually do an AMPUTATION all the way up to the first joint of each of their digits. She asked me: "is it really true that when the Vet does this operation it is as if the poor cat :yell:is HAVING THE TIPS OF THEIR 10 FINGERS CUT OFF?" :eek:I would like to have this child know the TRUTH....but, I am not sure of myself - in how to respond to her letter properly, with a proper description. Are there any members who can help me with this? She is also asking why it is legal here in North America - she commented that the people in Europe are so much nicer because over there it is illegal to do this to cats. I have received information that it has been used for torture of prisoners of war!

In my opinion, this inhumane, and very barbaric surgery should be OUTLAWED all over the world! :pray: Thanks.

November 16th, 2010, 11:14 AM
The child asked you flat out -
"is it really true that when the Vet does this operation it is as if the poor cat is HAVING THE TIPS OF THEIR 10 FINGERS CUT OFF?"
- so in gentler words yes, you can tell her yes, it is true. Even at 10 years old some children are very aware. By telling her the truth you may be helping to train the person who will find a way to finally fix animal cruelty laws.

I equate it to my brother. Five years ago this coming New Year's Eve he managed to cut off his thumb and index finger showing his neighbour his new band saw. He suffers phantom pain on a lot of occasions. If a cat is losing it's toes up to it's first knuckle then yes, I would think a cat suffers phantom pains as well. I ask people how do they think this is fair to a cat who can't pop pain pills when they have the pain, who can't tell anyone. They just have to suffer. :(

Possibly the way to go is to tell her the truth and then spend more time telling her the reasons why not to declaw - especially is the kitty is an outdoor cat.

November 16th, 2010, 11:14 AM
Thank you for wanting to spread the info on how truly barbaric this practice is. A great site for tons of info is The Paw Project (

Some more info can be found here:

The reason it's not banned in North America (except for some cities in California) is because it's a money-maker for vets.