Thursday, October 20, 2016

My paws have claws

Anyone that reads our blog knows that sometimes my Momma can't keep her mouth shut. Usually, it's quite annoying to listen to the "blah, blah, blah," ALL. DAY. LONG. Sometimes a cat just wants a silent lap to take a load off or a silent pair of thumbs to open a can of wet food. However, there are times, like today, that my Momma makes me quite proud. Why? Our readers and friends might recognize a certain "cat owner," with a very similar name to my Momma [Kat], in the following post from City the Kitty. #MyPawsHaveClaws. #ShesNotSorry. #ShesMyMomma. 
~Bear Cat

The full story from City the KittyPet Owners Can Dictate Vet Medicine As Long As Vets Make Money From It.


A cat owner and supporter of our important cause to end declawing recently reached out to AAHA and asked them these questions in regards to their position statement on declawing and why they don’t have any standards of care for declawing. Here is the email from the cat owner to AAHA:

"On July 21, during a BlogPaws chat featuring the AAHA, I raised the issue of declawing. A representative of the AAHA asked me to send a message with my e-mail address so we could continue the conversation outside of Twitter. . At first, I asked about your position statement on declawing and I was directed to your statement on your web site. My question (that prompted your request to carry on the conversation in private), was why practices are not evaluated on their declawing practices as a part of the accreditation process.

Cats are essentially being maimed for no health benefit – in fact, declawing has been associated with a variety of health problems over the lives of declawed cats. Why would you not create standards to ensure that the practices you endorse are at least following your position statement? Why would you not evaluate practices based on their use of declawing? I find it hypocritical that you claim your accreditation means something when your standards don’t address an issue that vets would prefer not to be evaluated on. How many other issues do you not evaluate because vets ask you not to or because it would result in a significant loss of income for your members? If your concern is first and foremost with quality care, why would you bend on this issue?

You might ask why this issue is important to me. When I was younger, my family adopted a cat named Kitty. Twenty-five years ago, when this happened, before it became public knowledge of just how horrible it is, the vet didn’t so much ask, “Do you want her declawed” as assumed that we’d want her declawed at the same time she was spayed.

I don’t think my parents’ so much made a choice as just went along with what was presented to them as the norm. I will never forget bringing her home from the vet after the surgery (I was 13 or 14). I set her down and her paws broke open and blood flew everywhere.

At that point, I didn’t care what the vet said or what other people said – our cat was in unnecessary pain. We called the vet and they said we could bring her back in but that there was nothing they could really do. I held her in my lap (so she didn’t walk and bleed more), both of us covered in her blood, for 10 HOURS while the rest of my family went about their business. She wasn’t a touchy-feely cat, so this prolonged contact was stressful for her as well. But TEN HOURS of yowling in pain until she lost her voice and fell asleep with exhaustion and I could leave her to go to the bathroom and get something to eat.

NEVER, EVER, EVER again. I’ve never really forgiven my parents for that because it became obvious to me in the first few minutes after we brought her home that it was a HUGE, GLARING, UNFORGIVABLE MISTAKE.

This is an emotional topic for me. I look at parts of the world that already ban declawing and I can’t help but think that our lack of doing so is selfishness.

If you demand high quality from the vets your accredit, why do you not hold the line on declawing? It would seem to me that if you claim accreditation bestows honor on a practice, that your intentions would be honorable as well.

Katherine"


Photo of Kitty the declawed cat


Answer from AAHA spokeswoman:

"Dear Katherine,


Thank you for reaching out, and for participating in our July BlogPaws chat.

I understand that this is an emotional topic – as a pet owner myself, I know how incredibly difficult it is to see one of your animals in pain.

None of our position statements are mandatory standards that accredited practices must follow – position statements demonstrate where AAHA as an organization stands on various welfare issues. Their purpose is very different from that of our standards.They are not intended to establish a standard of practice that veterinary hospitals must follow. As an organization, AAHA strongly opposes declawing and encourages veterinarians’ efforts to educate cat owners on positive alternatives to declawing. Similarly, AAHA also opposes canine devocalization, tail docking, and ear cropping.

Ultimately, the responsibility and final power rests with the pet owner as to whether or not they choose to declaw their cat, or dock their dog’s tail. It is up to the pet owner to make the decision that is right for his or her pet. While veterinarians are there to help counsel a pet owner on a possible course of action, the ultimate decision maker is the pet owner. Part of being a responsible pet owner is being an advocate for your pet and making the choice that is in their best interest – while a veterinary hospital is a partner in that choice, it is not their choice to make at the end of the day.

Thanks again for reaching out, and for being an advocate for cats.

Best,
Kate
Katherine Wessels, Senior Manager, Communications, American Animal Hospital Association, 12575 W Bayaud Ave, Lakewood, CO 80228-2021"


This cat owner sent me a note with her concerns about AAHA’s answers:

"I love how the woman didn’t even answer my question about why there aren’t standards for vets in regard to declawing. Instead, they cling to that stupid position statement and hope that no one notices that they could very easily adapt standards related to declawing (as a condition of accreditation).

I don’t understand why they won’t. Vets CHOOSE to be accredited. I’m sure some vets chose not to because they disagree with other standards – so it’s not like anyone would have to abide by the standards.

It just makes me so incredibly mad because they could really set an example and they choose not to. It’s hypocritical at best (aren’t their standards to ensure quality and good practice for vets?).

They brag about these wonderful standards and top vets attaining their accreditation but it doesn’t seem genuine when you consider they could very easily set standards for declawing. I’d be interested in seeing the statistics for declawing between AAHA accredited vets and non-accredited vets. After checking out the accredited practices in the area, they are the vets more run as businesses vs. practices.

My hypothesis is that they probably declaw more than non-accredited practices – because they are more money motivated. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. But the AAHA really left a sour taste in my mouth on this issue.

Katherine"

26 comments:

  1. I can see how vets may wish to make money, most do, but do believe, as most humane folks would that declawing is an absolute NO. One vet told me that they had been asked to declaw or kill the cat. Emotional blackmail! Faced with that decision and a person that therefore may do anything to the cat, what hope is there? Until it is outlawed by all vets, everywhere then this two tier level of despicable behaviour, on the parts of some owners and some vets, will continue.... It is wonderful to see people stick up for what is right, shame the vet board has only suspended that vet in Texas for 1 year, personally that sends a very wrong message and Image of vets in general. purrs ERin

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    1. You are right. Things are pretty screwed up over here. The vet association in New York opposed a ban on declawing. It's insane. Some vet groups claim cats won't be adopted - or that they'll be surrendered to shelters - if they can't be declawed - but the evidence at shelters shows declawed cats are surrendered at a ridiculous rate as well. You'd think at the very least that a vet accreditation group would try to set a good example - but they choose not to.

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  2. We purr for the day that declawing is not allowed. Our paws have claws and we should keep them. :)

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  3. Like the Island Cats, we purr for the day declawing is not allowed. None of Mom's kitties have ever been declawed.

    The Florida Furkids

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    1. I wish I'd known what it involved 25 years ago when my parents made the choice for Kitty - so I could've talked them out of it (she's the only cat I had that was ... and only in the front)! Yay for your Mom's purrfect record!

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  4. Although I've never had any of my cats declawed, Annie's front paws are declawed. This was done by her previous owner. It sounds like AAHA doesn't have a firm position on declawing. That is such a shame. Like others, I hope one day declawing is not allowed.

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    1. They want to claim they have a firm position but refuse to do anything more than say the right words.

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  5. Declawing is illegal and forbidden in Switzerland. We hope one day it will be the same everywhere in the world. Purrs

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  6. Dang! We think declawing is evil!

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  7. Declawing is barbaric! It is illegal here in the UK and many other countries. For the life of me I cannot understand why a country like the US still allows a practice that should have been outlawed long ago.

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  8. I believe you are correct in presuming money is at the heart of why this cruel practice is continued. Until owners pressure the AAHA to take a closer look at this, sadly I suspect it will continue. *Sigh* Cat owners and vets will need to demand this practice is outlawed.

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  9. Well it seems to us from readin' their letter dat they don't have any mandatory standards fur any VETs accredited by them. Least dat's what they say in da furst pawragraph. Of course with all da knowledge we have these days we are fur sure against declawin', so we're not tryin' to be argumentative here. We also live in an area with no accredited VETs. All da VETs 'round here are only concerned with da bottom line, so we assume they all declaw when asked. Mommy was a tech many many years ago and had never heard of declawing at da time of a spay as a typical purractice. She was aware dat ifin peeps wanted declaws it was recommended to be done at da same time just so kitty wasn't put under more than needed. We didn't attend dat chat cuz we aren't fans of AAHA and couldn't have used any of da purrizes ifin we'd won. But dat is innerestin' Fanks fur shrin'.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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    1. We have a couple AAHA accredited vets around here ... and all of them are more run as businesses. I don't know what's better or worse. Most unaccredited vets declaw too. It just seems like the organization that claims so much honor bestowed to the practices it accredits would be more focused on quality of life vs. popular opinion. I had no intention of bringing this up during that chat ... but I noticed they were cage-y with other questions and it made me wonder. I'm not a rabble-rouser at all ... but the more they talked, the madder I got.

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  10. Just the thought of declawing makes me feel sick to my stomach. Four paws up to your momma for taking a stand!

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    1. She's okay sometimes ... don't tell anyone ;) ~Bear Cat

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  11. Our paws are crossed that declawing will be illegal very, very soon!

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  12. Their response to you was awful. Thank you for sharing your story, I can see why that is something you would never forget. Poor Kitty. I feel if someone wants to declaw a cat, they shouldn't be owning a cat because they clearly don't want a real cat.

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    1. Exactly! They only want a cat that fits their desired traits. Once it's a real cat ... they're not interested.

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  13. Wow, just wow... We need to continue to educate pet parents, as vets don't seem to be doing this! Thank you for sharing this exchange.

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