San Francisco Moves to Outlaw Declawing Cats

 |  Jul 31st 2009  |   0 Contributions


Tomorrow the Vet Blog will return to veterinary Q&A. But today I can't resist the following piece from DVM Newsmagazine.

San Francisco considers ban on cat declaw surgeries

Jul 16, 2009
DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

San Francisco -- San Francisco may become the second U.S. city, the other is West Hollywood, Calif., to adopt legislation banning the declawing of cats for non-therapeutic reasons.

The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare voted 5-1 Thursday to recommend that the Board of Supervisors ban the procedure. The proposed legislation is the most recent, and restrictive, attempt by the city to ban declawing. In 2003, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution "urging pet guardians and veterinarians to discontinue the practice of declawing cats in the city and county of San Francisco."

If approved, the city's law could mirror one passed in West Hollywood in 2003.

The article continues:

Commissioners questioned whether declawing might be necessary for cats in households of immunocompromised persons, a common argument in favor of keeping declawing legal.

Convenience declawing is, in my opinion, set to go the way of the dodo bird, debarking, tail docking, and ear cropping. However, the last quote from the article brings up a complicating factor of declaws.

The last time I declawed a cat was several years ago. The cat was owned by an elderly gentleman who had diabetes. The owner's skin was very thin, and the cat's claws, even when well trimmed, frequently cut through his skin accidentally. The cat was not aggressive, but even the action of making "kitty dough" on the owner's lap could send the man to the emergency room.

The owner decided he had two choices: give the cat up (which often is a euphemism for put the cat to sleep) or declaw the cat.

My decision to perform the surgery was not ethically cut and dried. I was careful to utilize state-of-the-art pain management for the procedure. The man and the cat were able to continue enjoying their lives together.

I hope that any laws banning declawing of cats make considerations for such instances.

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