June 26th, 2014
If you have Netflix, stream “The Paw Project,” and you’ll never see cat declawing as routine ever again. Even if you don’t have Netflix, you can still receive a DVD of the movie when you make a $10 donation at The Paw Project. Or stream “The Paw Project” on iTunes, U-verse, Dish or amazon.
When I first adopted my cat Choco more than 10 years ago, I thought that declawing was just something you did to keep cats from scratching you. Thankfully, I was set straight by fellow animal lovers, and my kitty was spared the cruelty of losing his claws. And, I’m happy to say that Choco uses his scratching post. And he submits to claw trimmings without much fuss.
Maybe you’re reading this, and thinking I’m some kind of hippie liberal cat-freak, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. It isn’t so. I’ve actually seen a cat declawing procedure firsthand, and while it looks like a quick and simple procedure, the effects can be devastating. To perform a declaw, the vet uses a tool very much like what you’d trim a cat’s claws with to cut the claw at the bone so it can’t grow back. A medical glue like super glue is applied to the tip, and the cat’s paws are bandaged.
Imagine that. You’re a cat.
You’re dropped at the vet’s office by someone you trust. You’re put under. You wake up without the ends of your toes. And it hurts to walk. And you can’t do things the same way anymore. You feel like you have a pebble on the bottom of your paw when you walk or stand. And the feeling never goes away. You may become lame or arthritic. You may lash out and develop behavior problems. You may start eliminating on the floor instead of the litter box. You may lose your life in a shelter because no one wants you anymore.
Swirl couldn’t deal with being declawed.
A few years ago, I worked at a vet’s office. I lasted exactly one year. There was one beautiful orange and white cat, Swirl, that kept showing up to be tested for urinary problems. (Ok, I don’t remember the cat’s name, but let’s call her “Swirl.”) I was in the dark about what was going on with the cat. I only knew that she was one of the cutest and most loving cats I had met. I really wanted a cat just like her. For a feline to be so loving while boarding at a vet’s office is almost unheard of. (Many cats keep their distance, or get violent in boarding situations.)
Since I was mainly working on the boarding side of things, I had no idea what was about to happen to Swirl. As it turns out, the cat had been boarding for a week while the owner made the difficult decision to have it euthanized. After all, it was urinating all over the house and had been declawed. It couldn’t live outside, they had said. I was told about all of this after the cat died, and was heartbroken. I’d like to think I would have taken the cat away to safety if I had only known what was going to happen. But maybe sharing Swirl’s story will help make a difference.
Do you know that most countries have banned the inhumane practice of declawing? Why do you think declawing is allowed in the United States? (Hint: It’s not for the benefit of your cat.) Learn more about declawed cats, and declawed big cats at The Paw Project.
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