I think that this website has some very interesting statistics. Check it
out:  http://www.pawproject.com <http://www.pawproject.com/> 


Go to the FAQ section. Here is an answer I found interesting; I think it
(and other answers on the site) partially negates the theory that cats are
better off declawed if someone will take them. They may take them in, but
for how long? If an owner can't handle a cat with claws, he/she certainly
can't handle a cat with the resulting physical and psychological damage that
often occurs. Furthermore, if a person is educated on the atrocities of
declawing, and still insists upon it, in my opinion, he/she should not be
allowed to have pets. I think the problem is education. I think people would
not wish their pets declawed if they truly knew and understood the
alternatives and the consequences. Read on.


"Actually, declawed cats may be at a disadvantage. There is evidence that
declawed cats are disproportionately abandoned at shelters, and that
declawed cats may be euthanized more often because of the behavioral and
physical problems that result from declawing. Pet owners typically cite
protection of their furnishings as being foremost among their reasons for
having a cat declawed; however, such owners may not realize that the pain
and other complications from the surgery can cause behavioral problems that
are even worse than the problems for which the cat's toes were amputated. A
cat can still bite a child and may become more prone to do so if it has no
claws. A cat whose paws hurt when scratching in a litter box may avoid the
litter box altogether, a behavior that may not be tolerated by the owner.


Alternatives to declawing exist. Nail caps can be glued painlessly to a
cat's claws to prevent damage due to scratching. A cat can be trained to use
scratching posts to sharpen its claws without damaging furniture. Also,
regular nail trimming, repellent sprays, and double-sided tape applied to
furniture help deter a cat from unwanted scratching.


In a 1996 JAVMA article, Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD, using multivariate
statistical analysis, found that declawed cats were at an increased risk of
relinquishment to animal shelters and that among relinquished cats, 52.4% of
declawed cats were reported to exhibit litter box avoidance, compared to
29.1% of non-declawed cats.


The risk of cats being relinquished to pounds if the owner cannot declaw the
animal is grossly overestimated by the veterinary profession. In a survey of
owners of cats that had been declawed and their veterinarians, reported by
Dr. Gary Landsberg in Veterinary Forum, September 1994, only 4% of the
owners said they would have relinquished their pet had it not been declawed.
In contrast, the veterinarians in the survey speculated that 50% of the
owners would have relinquished their pets. We could reasonably expect that
if cat owners knew the risks and alternatives to declawing and if
veterinarians took a more active role in offering and assisting with the
alternatives (such as nail caps and nail trimming), the 4% figure would be
further reduced. As veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, board-certified animal
behaviorist and Professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine,
says, "There are very few people of this ilk (who would euthanize a cat if
it could not be declawed) who could not be reeducated by an enthusiastic and
well-informed veterinarian as to the inhumanity of this approach."


Janet Scarlett, DVM, of Cornell University, in the article, "The Role of
Veterinary Practitioners in Reducing Dog and Cat Relinquishments and
Euthanasias (JAVMA, February 1, 2002), states that client counseling is
"probably the most effective means by which veterinarians can influence the
number of dogs and cats surrendered to animal shelters today." Veterinarians
have an opportunity to intervene because people relinquishing pets are
veterinary clients. An estimated 50-70% of pets in shelters had visited the
veterinarian in the year preceding relinquishment. Yet, Dr. Scarlett
reports, "Only 25% of veterinarians routinely actively identify and treat
behavioral problems." She writes, "Less than a third felt confident of their
ability to treat common behavioral problems. Perhaps even more disturbing,
only 11.1% of veterinarians felt it was the veterinarian's responsibility,
rather than the client's, to initiate discussion about behavioral problems."
Dr. Scarlett admonishes veterinarians to ask specifically about problem
behaviors to uncover problems that clients are reluctant to mention or that
they may not realize can be modified. Once identified, appropriate
interventions can be recommended. It seems clear that the real solution to
the euthanasia concern will be convincing veterinarians to offer proper
education. Treating a behavioral problem such as scratching with a surgical
procedure is expedient, but doesn't deal the root cause and perpetuates the
misconceptions and unreasonable expectations about pet behavior that too
often result in abandonment and death."




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