The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit https://habri.org/grants/funding-opportunities/ close

 
You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Declawing has no effect on biting behavior but does affect adoption outcomes for domestic cats in an animal shelter / About

Declawing has no effect on biting behavior but does affect adoption outcomes for domestic cats in an animal shelter

By Saethra Jade Fritscher, James Ha

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Opponents of declawing contend that it causes behavioral problems, whereas others, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, state that because destructive scratching is a risk factor for relinquishment and euthanasia, declawing is a reasonable alternative. If declawing causes behavior problems, the declawing of cats would put them at higher risk of surrender and euthanasia. If declawing is assumed to cause behavior problems, declawed cats could be at higher risk for lack of adoption and subsequent euthanasia at shelters. We compared the estimate of the percentage of declawed cats in the general population to that found in the shelter population. We also examined the possible relationships between declawing and biting behavior, length of stay in a shelter, and euthanasia. Finally, we compared the number of actual biting cats in the shelter to estimates of cats surrendered to shelters at large for the stated reason of biting. In post hocexploratory analyses, in addition to declaw status, we included other variables that could contribute to predicting the likelihood of a cat biting, of being euthanized or of staying longer in a shelter. Biting behavior was operationalized as contact between a cat’s teeth and a human such that the human’s skin was broken. We found that declawed cats were significantly underrepresented in the shelter as compared to estimates in the population at large (p < 0.001). We found no significant correlation between declawing and biting behavior (p = 0.456), or between declawing and euthanasia (p = 0.579). We found a significant increase in the length of time that declawed cats spent at the shelter before being adopted (p < 0.001). We also found that biting behavior was rarer in the shelter cats than would be expected based on owner reports for reasons of surrender on average to a shelter (p < 0.001). Exploratory analyses of variables contributing to the risks of biting, lack of adoption, and euthanasia revealed a number of alternative explanatory factors.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2016
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 180
Pages 107-113
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.04.023
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159116301277
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Saethra Jade Fritscher; James Ha (2018), "Declawing has no effect on biting behavior but does affect adoption outcomes for domestic cats in an animal shelter," http://habricentral.org/resources/62756.

    BibTex | EndNote

Tags
  1. Adoption
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal shelters
  4. Bites and stings
  5. Cats
  6. Declawing
  7. Euthanasia
  8. Mammals
  9. pet adoption
  10. Pets and companion animals