Delilah asked in PetsCats · 1 decade ago

Why are "big cats" protected from declawing by law, but not our domestic cats?

In 2006 the USDA amended the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit declawing (and defanging) of wild and exotic carnivores. This protection includes the "big cats" (lions, tigers, etc.), but does not include their domestic cousins.

According to the USDA, these procedures are no longer considered to be acceptable since they can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems. Also according to the USDA, this is consistent with the position statement issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Why then is declawing of our domestic feline companions tolerated in the USA? Shouldn't our furry family members have at least the same protection as their larger cousins? And, if the AMVA's position is that declawing can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems why does the AMVA tolerate vets that declaw as a matter of routine?

This just doesn't make sense to me. I'm wondering if you can help me understand why our domestic cats are still subjected to a practice as inhumane as declawing while the big cats are not?

14 Answers

  • Suzi Q
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Probably because people don't keep big cats in their homes -as pets.

    In the US, there have been more laws enacted to protect wild animals in captivity, because they are generally kept for human amusement/entertainment. Years ago, cruelty was the norm. I have horrible childhood memories of the substandard treatment and housing given to wild animals at zoos and circuses. Having these animals on display brought outrage from the general public, and that's why laws were passed to protect them. Pet cats are kept in homes. Their plights are not out on display, or so obvious to the masses.

    Why is declawing allowed in the US? Because we're backwards compared to the 30+ countries who are enlightened enough to outlaw this barbaric practice.

    Just look at all of the morons on this site who defend declawing. I think we should cut off their toes, since they think that it's ok. If it's not a problem for their cats, it shouldn't be a problem for them either.

  • 4 years ago

    I've never declawed a cat. I think it's cruel. The reason I'm answering this question though, is because I have a declawed cat. His name is Gizmo. He came to my front door one day, starving, cut up and bloody. I took him to the vet right away only to find that he was declawed. The owner of this cat either let it outdoors or said "I'll declaw him because he's going to be an indoor cat only" and he escaped. The poor guy was basically starving because he could barely hunt for food while he was outside and he also couldnt defend himself against other animals which would explain why he was all cut up and bloody. Gizmo is now an indoor cat & well fed! He's one of the best cat's I've ever had. Although, he does bite hard (because he has no other way to defend himself) and now and then he will pee around the house because it hurts his paws to dig in the litter. But I love him and would never ever dream of getting rid of him. Those are only a few reasons why I wouldnt declaw. The other reasons are because of the physical and mental effects that it has on the cat.

  • 1 decade ago

    Very good question Delilah and you are right ! I don't live in the USA, I'm very thankful to live in England where declawing is illegal and where even before that, our vets would never do it apart from for medical reasons for the cat's benefit,then just the affected toe/toes were removed.

    The day will come when domestic cats there are protected the same as big cats, it has to because more and more people are finding out the truth that declawing is cruel and it has to stop.The person saying it's being going on a long time, yes it has, too long ! Animal welfare is improving and moving on all the time, it doesn't mean because something has happened for decades that it is right and that it has to continue. Vets don't educate people, they don't want declawing banned as it fills their bank accounts nicely.They don't explain to clients that it's the amputation of the last toe joint or that indoor cats need their claws just as much as outdoor cats do.They need them to exercise their muscles, that's why so many declawed cats develop arthritis.People ignorant of this fact say their cats are fine, they obviously don't know that cats hide their pain and that problems can arise (and often do) even years after the initial amputations.

    It's disgraceful that some vets offer neuter/declaw packages to encourage declawing.It's supposed to be a last resort, not done to kittens which are very easily trained to a scratching post. It's far too easy for lazy people to have them mutilated instead. I recently read one vet justified declawing kittens by saying it was less painful and the recovery wasn't as difficult for them as older cats,so she admits it IS painful and recovering IS difficult ! So what she is saying is she's doing the right thing declawing kittens just INCASE they scratch when older ....she justifies crippling kittens for life, just incase ......that can't be right surely !

    It's high time the AVMA sorted out this mess as too many cats are suffering and they can't keep on turning a blind eye to that fact !!

    Source(s): retired vet nurse UK
  • J C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Why, you ask? Well, it all comes down to money. Declawing is a big profit maker for vets, and as long as we all want money, then vets will declaw, sad to say. The fact that the AVMA is opposed to declawing doesn't take the profit out of it. In the same way that some vets will push every vaccine under the sun every year to their clients (in spite of the fact that the AVMA and AAFP recommend vaccines every three years, and then only the FVRCP and rabies vaccines) many vets offer special "declaw and alter" packages to their clients. All vets are entitled to make money, but some seem to do this at the expense of the patients that they are supposed to be helping.

    And vets don't see the bad effects of declawing - those cats that develop issues post-mutilation go to the shelter, and not back to the vet.

    Source(s): many years of cat rescue (and seeing what really happens to all the declawed cats that end up in shelters)
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  • Jan
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Due to being endangered and various others mentioned here.Also the US is severely behind times in keeping up with domestic animal welfare,if you will.Yes we spay and neuter, yes we rescue, but we are still permitting money grubbing vets to mutilate the very animals Americans swear they adore.And if I may ,Courtney M. ,spaying and neutering not only helps with the pet population,but also saves these animals from possibly contracting a number of reproductive cancers.Amputation is painful,and not supplying pain medication is an abuse in itself! And in closing, lobotomies were also performed decades ago,should we perhaps revert back to doing those as well?

    Very good question by the way!

    Source(s): Caretaker of a feral (spayed and neutered) cat colony and lover of all animals.Wild and domestic!
  • 1 decade ago

    It may have to do with scope. Wild, large animals are small in number, and restricted in ownership, and probably come under Federal jurisdiction.

    While domestic felines are in the millions, everywhere. So control becomes more local. And there have been local movements that restrict or ban declawing of domestic cats. The majority of the laws passed are in Europe.

    For instance, where it is illegal:

    In the United States, local laws provide protection. Most of the legal activities to ban declawing are in California.

    And sad to say, there probably is money involved in making the procedure profitable.

  • 1 decade ago

    That's what I'm still trying to figure out. If I had known oh so many years ago about its health effects I would've never gotten it done to my first cat, who now has trouble jumping and even running at a still young age of 10 years old...

  • Adri
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I'm pretty sure MONEY is the biggest reason our furry little buddies are still being put through this barbaric process.

  • 4 years ago

    More & more vets are not doing declaws anymore, yay.

  • Windy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I don't know, but think there should be a Law against it!

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