Should cat owners have the right to chose to declaw?

(Some of the comments on this post have made me wonder: If cat fetuses were declawed in their mother’s womb, would that make the act less cruel and barbaric?)

Should declawing cats be illegal? A cat owner’s right to choose is under attack in the USA.
–I heard on NPR that some states are making it illegal to choose to have your very own cat declawed. Will the pro choice movement hit the streets in protest? Will Hillary and Bernie be consistent and “fight” for a cat owner’s rights?
–It’s cruel to declaw cats because it is somewhat like removing the last knuckles from a person’s hand. I’m not for cruelty, but I do like to keep things in perspective. A human life is infinitely more valuable than cat’s “knuckles.” I’d rather that cat owners in the USA choose to have a million cats declawed than one person chose to have a prenatal human killed.

If our nation can declare that a woman has a “right” to have her prenatal child killed; then why can’t we declare that a cat owner has a “right” to have her cat declawed? Let’s be consistent and stop both forms of cruelty!

choose cats         choose cats 2

Someone posted this comment in response to my putting this on Facebook: “You’re comparing apples to oranges. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Get some perspective.”

Here is my reply: Both examples deal with the issue: Does a person have a “right” to put his/her desires, wants, and/or “rights” above compassion, principle, and the well-being of another? Here’s the perspective: If a state can protect a cat from life-altering cruelty, then surely a state can and should protect a prenatal person from life-ending cruelty.

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
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17 Responses to Should cat owners have the right to chose to declaw?

  1. NO! and it is wrong to combine two issues like this, declawing cats is so much more than merely losing their knuckles, it’s a lifetime of disablement, possible regrowth with pain like walking on pebbles in your shoe but not being able to empty those pebbles out, psychological fear of litter boxes due to the pain on scraping the litter and fear of people, children, dogs and other threats with no means of defence. No human should be allowed to decide to amputate healthy feline toes for their own convenience! As for the other matter, I don’t agree with that either but I’d like to point out that it IS possible to campaign against two atrocities at the same time without blurring them and making one seem more important than the other.

    • Steve Simms says:

      Babz: If you read the post you will notice that I said: “Let’s be consistent and stop both forms of cruelty!” “To combine two issues” that are based on the same principle can help people see the cruelty of one in the light of the other. Our nation treats a human life in the womb as if it were nothing but meaningless “tissue” to be owned and controlled by the womb owner, and politicians boldly and angrily proclaim that cruelty as a “right.” Those who see abortion as cruelly taking an innocent human life, however, are not usually so bold, and when they are, they are attacked for opening their mouth. However, when I compare the “right” to abortion to the “right” to declaw cats, you get stirred up and ready to fight for cats. Should we be equally stirred up to see millions of prenatal human lives around the world ended every year?

      • I see where you are coming from Steve, and yes being a cat lover and having had the privilege of sharing my life with cats for the last 42 years I’m more ready to fight for cats than babies as I am appalled that people in the USA and Canada are allowed to freely decide to pay a veterinarian to cripple a healthy cat. I live in England where declawing was never thought of even before our animal welfare law made it illegal and even after a number of years of helping to fight declawing and a wish to help bring about a worldwide ban I cannot get my head around anyone choosing to do this. Abortion, well I know less about it but agree that it is also something worth fighting about BUT I don’t think combining a fight for animals and humans is any good because it seems to me it sets people who care more about human foetuses against people who care more about animal welfare, when in reality most decent people care about both things.

  2. Of course declawing cats should be illegal, it is animal abuse which is either banned or considered extremely inhumane in 44 countries of the world, in many it is a punishable criminal offence and rightly so. This so called last resort for a cat with serious scratching behaviour is being used as convenience surgery on little kittens. Contrary to the AVMA recommendation that clients should be fully informed that it is actually amputation of the cats 10 (or 18) last toe joints and only after all other alternatives have been tried, kittens are declawed in neuter/declaw packages before they even have chance to learn where it’s appropriate to scratch! Some vets even advertise this, or discount declawing! Last resort? I think not! Cats need to scratch to stay healthy. Anyone who won’t tolerate a cat with claws will certainly not tolerate a cat with problems from declawing, litter box avoidance and/or biting being the 2 most common. It’s well past time this barbaric surgery was consigned to history worldwide. As for abortions, one topic has nothing to do with the other at all..

    • Steve Simms says:

      Both topics deal with cruelty and abuse. I have an indoor cat, claws and all. (My cat won’t even let my wife and me clip it’s claws.) I am against all cruelty whether that cruelty be done to animals or to innocent human life in the womb.

      • Me too I’m against all cruelty to animals and also to unborn humans and to many other cruelties too and have spent my adult life fighting for both animals and humans because we can and should always try to help other living beings who need us. I am extra passionate about declawing because it is legal cruelty in the USA and Canada and every time a vet amputates a cat’s healthy toe ends, he/she breaks their oath to cause no animal to suffer. BTW you don’t need to clip a cat’s claws, if you have scratching posts/pads around cats can care for their own. We rarely clip claws in England, we accept them as essential parts of our cats and as beautiful as the rest of them is.

  3. MikeW says:

    First of all, I respect your anti-abortion stance. However, you are hijacking and denigrating a just cause and current campaign to protect cats just to draw attention to a completely UNRELATED cause you happen to care about. The two are not the same. One is a lifelong impediment and painful existence, the other is ending an existence before it is self-aware. Glad you’re keeping the claws on your cat, but you’re completely ignoring what cat guardians are fighting for. You might as well add, ending all wars, stop animal slaughterhouses, stop global warming (you know it’s cruel to all those developing countries) and whatever cause-du-jour you might come up with. People like you can’t leave well enough alone. Mount your own campaign, waive signs in front of abortion clinics, but joining the practice of declawing with abortion is ludicrous and you will not change anyone’s but the most feeble of minds.

    As for abortion, maybe we should TNR women, like we do with cats to avoid over-population.
    Don’t you think it’s cruel that this planet will harbour over 10 billion humans in a couple of decades depleting natural resources and adding to the destruction of the environment ? How’d you like me taking your anti-abortion rhetoric and imposing climate change as a counter argument to it?

    All animals, including cats have not endangered the well-being of an entire world, it’s only our species that has an insatiable appetite for consuming but not replacing what we take out of mother nature. For the sake of humanity and decreasing suffering of future generations, you should reconsider and help avoid unwanted pregnancy and support early-termination.

    Go ahead, believe in your mythological figure that you think controls our world, Science will win out in the end. Your “God” is just your own fear of the unknown explained away. Some past cultures’ deities required sacrificial lambs or even virgins, how cruel is that ? Your kind not so long ago believed the world was flat and women with black cats were witches and needed to be burned at the stake. Religious fervour and stubborn belief systems have always led humanity down a dangerous path to mutual destruction. Your generation is dying and were it not for humanity’s overpopulation crisis, I’d be more optimistic about the future.

    In the meantime, can we please outlaw amputating cat toes in North America ?

    • Shirley Swaine says:

      Well said!

    • I have to agree with you MikeW ‘All animals, including cats have not endangered the well-being of an entire world, it’s only our species that has an insatiable appetite for consuming but not replacing what we take out of mother nature’ It is humans who are destroying our planet and causing the decline of many species of animals and birds, it’s too easy to blame cats for that and it’s wrong! Also your ‘As for abortion, maybe we should TNR women, like we do with cats to avoid over-population’ I love your SOH. I don’t agree with abortion, it shouldn’t be an option for careless contraception, but I do think humans should start taking responsibility for this earth and stop their ever breeding and taking more and more habitat from animals and birds. Yes, outlaw amputating cats toes in America I agree 100% with you there

  4. Steve Simms says:

    How did you get from “cat toes” to walking all over my toes? I’m not sure I follow your tirade against God and faith. God’s not cutting off “cat toes.” People are.

  5. Susan Grace says:

    The declaw issue has NOTHING in common with the Pro-Choice movement. Declawing is unnecessary and cruel. It should be banned.

    • Steve Simms says:

      Of course it does. It’s all about choice and cruelty. Does government have the right to limit our choices? And how far does government’s authority go? If people don’t have a “right to choose” to declaw their cat, why should they have a “right to choose” prenatal cruelty?

      • But declawing isn’t actually always about the right to choose it for your cat! A choice means being educated as to the options. Is abortion offered to pregnant women the first time they see a doctor? Would the pregnant woman simply agree if the doctor said it was best? Of course not! Because people know it means the death of an unborn human. Yet declawing is offered by many vets to people booking a kitten in for neutering, as if it’s as routine as neutering and good for the cat. Most people trust their vet, which is why there are many cat owners full of guilt when they take their kitten home and realise declawing isn’t ‘only’ the claws removed, the kitten’s toe ends have been amputated! They learn too late that their cat is disabled for life and as time goes by and the problems from declawing begin, many can’t handle it and the cat is dumped (see the facebook ‘declawed and dumped’ page) or ends up in a Rescue Shelter. In a kill shelter those cats are often killed as unadoptable, in a no kill shelter cats sometimes sit there for years. I know because I have done research on this! I’ve often heard Americans say they want no more laws, but surely a law to protect the abuse of cats should be acceptable. I hope New York ban declawing and the rest of the country follow, because the civilised world is watching and waiting for this to happen.

  6. Shirley Swaine says:

    No, abortion and declawing are NOT similar issues and are NOT comparable. One is deeply mired in philosophical issues that go around and around in circles and essentially boil down to one set of humans attempting to force a different set of humans comply with their views through legislation – and anti-abortion laws have never prevented abortion, they’ve just driven it underground leading to women dying and yes, leaving children motherless. People can decide for themselves whether they believe in abortion or not according to their own philosophy and/or conscience, but a cat has no voice in the matter of declawing and that is the difference.
    YOU talk about a pre-natal human, others would speak of an embryo or foetus. Like I said, deeply mired in philosophy but where the anti-abortion lobby fail in my view, is that I’ve never heard of any of them, when trying to persuade a woman not to have an abortion, offering, through a legally binding document to raise that child themselves if she allows it to go to term.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Abortion should be legal (and rare) in the first trimester. Late term abortion should only happen if the mother’s life is in danger. This has nothing to do with the barbaric practice of cutting off cats’ toes. I am involved in TNR (trap, neuter, return) of feral cats and if we trap a female cat in the first weeks of gestation we spay her and remove the embryos, but if she is in the later stages we let her have the kittens and then spay/neuter them and get them adopted.

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