Imagine taking a cat to the veterinarian and having the doctor perform surgery to remove the cat’s toenails. In most countries, this is considered mutilation, but in North America, it is the common practice of declawing. Declawing pets is on the rise, not only in cats but also in dogs, and while pet owners do it to prevent bad habits like scratching, it only creates new bad habits and causes enormous pain for pets. People choose to declaw their pets so that their cats and dogs won't scratch their furniture, floors and doors, but declawing a cat takes away its primary method of defense and will therefore often cause the cat to start biting. After a cat is declawed, his or her paws will often hurt so much that he or she will stop using the litter box. Many cats end up in shelters after being declawed because of these new bad habits, which are frowned upon by their owners. Declawing is illegal in most of the world, but is legal in North America, where veterinarians make more than $1000 an hour doing it. Alarmingly, this procedure is performed on approximately 20 to 25 percent of all cats in the U.S., as cited by the Denver Post. Declawing pets not only causes pain to the animals, but also stress as they lose their defense and often become weaker, especially when not being able to do their usual stretching and kneading rituals. Groomers, veterinarians and people who care for declawed cats in shelters find many of them to be nervous, irritable and difficult to handle.
Please check out this public service announcement from the Paw Project on declawing:
Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM, is leading a crusade against declawing with the Paw Project, which gives hope to creatures everywhere. Her work is not only inspiring, but it is also helping cats around the United States to lead better lives. As stated on the organization's website, the Paw Project has repaired the paws on 78 wild and exotic cats in more than 230 surgeries. They have also repaired the paws on hundreds of domestic cats. Besides helping these cats, they also invest a lot of time into their educational programs in order to alert the public about the painful and crippling effects of declawing. They currently have a bill in the legislature of New York State to ban declawing, and are hoping it will pass early next year. For more information on the amazing work of the Paw Project, please check out the organization's website, http://www.pawproject.org.
Instead of declawing your pets, please consider the alternatives. Scratching is a natural behavior of cats and dogs, but they can be trained. Instead of declawing, clip your pets nails every two weeks and purchase a scratching post for your cats. Soft Paws Inc. has developed the innovative Soft Paws, which are little vinyl sheaths that cover each claw while you're training your cat to scratch appropriate surfaces. Double-sided sticky tape can be used to deter scratching on furniture. Together, we can help creatures everywhere and prevent declawing from becoming a normal practice around the world.
*Photos used with permission by owner