Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Save the Claws!

Cat people know that cats need their claws! Removing a cat's claws is a painful, debilitating procedure with lasting effects such as phantom pain, remaining bone fragments, and behavioral changes. Since stepping on the surface of the litter may be uncomfortable cats may stop using the litter box. Cats may also turn to biting since they feel defenseless. Other cats may hide all the time whereas they used to be confident and outgoing. Since felines without the ends of their "fingers" don't have their whole feet to walk on their gate and spine can change over time and arthritis can develop. So why do veterinarians continue to offer this service? I have heard some doctors comment that they suspect the guardian might surrender their cat to a shelter if they don't perform this surgery. Actually, more kitties end up in shelters after such a procedure because of the resulting behavioral and personality changes. I tend to believe that guardians who seek to change and control their cat in such a way are probably less committed to the relationship in the long run anyway. Whatever the reason veterinarians give, they do profit from these surgeries and outlawing declawing has historically been an uphill battle in the U.S. The light on the horizon is that feline advocates are attempting to pass laws outlawing declawing in the states of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Currently Denver, eight cities in California and 42 countries have all made declawing cats illegal. Learn more here:  Alley Cat Allies

Americans love their companion animals and most are open to learning about issues impacting the lives of dogs and cats. Look at the recent Olympics and the amount of attention that Korea attracted with the practices of dog and cat meat eating. Puppy mills have come into the limelight in the past decade and California recently became the first state to ban the selling of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. (County and city bans but no other state bans exist throughout the U.S.) The saddest part of declawing, as well as debarking, and the cosmetic procedures of tail docking and ear cropping in dogs, is that all of these surgeries are completely unnecessary and utterly worthless for the health and happiness of the animal. Cats scratch just like dogs wag their tails and bark for a reason. All of these actions make your animal who he or she is; expressing their kitty or doggy self is vital to their catness or dogness. So next time your co-worker or neighbor mentions they made an appointment to have their new feline declawed, please educate them on why this is a bad idea.  There is usually resistance at the beginning of any social change, but we need to continue on for the kitties. 

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