Is DeClawing A Cat Cruel?
Should Declawing A Cat Be Considered An Act Of Cruelty And Made Illegal In The US?
There is considerable debate raging over whether the practice of declawing cats should be made illegal. The US is one of only a couple of countries who still practice this procedure.
Is Declawing A Cat Cruel?I am a longtime critter lover and pet owner. My degree is in Veterinary Technology and as such many years ago, I assisted in the surgical procedure of declawing cats. Of all of the operations I participated in during my time as a tech, this was by far the most gut wrenching procedure to witness
There are alternatives. I know with careful and patient training most cats can be trained to not scratch people or furniture. But I also know many cat owners who were successful with training some cats and not with others.
Is it okay to declaw when other options have been exhausted?A friend recently adopted a would be barn kitten and declawed (and neutered) him before giving him to her elderly mother. Her mother is frail and cat scratches are dangerous because they can easily become infected. The cat would have most likely had a much shorter lifespan living outdoors as a barn cat. Should my friend have forgone the affection the two of them could give each other and not adopted the kitten because of the declawing?
Indeed with millions of unwanted cats I tend to think that even more cats would be turned out because of property destruction if declawing were cited as cruel and made illegal.
So What Do You Think?Is it a small (albeit very painful) price to pay to live indoors, being well loved and well fed or is it just plain cruel no matter the reason?
Photo credit by Mona Majorowicz aka Wild Faces Gallery
Information About The Cat Declawing Procedure
According to wikipedia
Onychectomy, popularly known as declawing, is an operation to surgically remove an animal's claws by means of amputating of all or part of the distal phalanx, or end bones, of the animal's toes. It is performed most often on household cats, though occasionally on other animals such as circus lions or dancing bears. Because the claw develops from germinal tissue deep within the third phalanx, amputation of the bone is necessary to remove the claw. The terms "onychectomy... and "declawing" imply mere claw removal, but a more appropriate description would be phalangectomy, excision of toe bone.
Although common in North America, and Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China, declawing is increasingly becoming unpopular and considered an act of animal cruelty in certain other regions (more...)
Reasons For Possible Declawing
Because sometimes it just needs to be done.
* If It's "The cat goes or the claws go" it should be done.
* People whose immune systems are suppressed or the elderly on blood thinners who can't be exposed to the bacteria on a cat's claws.
* Physical issue requiring toenail removal.
Alternatives To Declawing
* Trim Your Cats Toenails
* Get a good scratching post (or several.)
* Toenail caps
* Train your cats from day one as kittens
* Behavior modification through use of deterrents like odor or physical
Feral Cats: A Real Problem
I bring this issue into this conversation because I guarantee if declawing is made illegal the number of abandoned and stray cats will increase. Now I don't believe something should be made legal (or in this instance kept) just because of the potential outcome. But I do think it's necessary information to consider in order to make an informed decision.
According to the ASPCA
There are tens of millions of feral cats in the US. The ASPCA endorses the Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program is an effective way for communities trying to control their wild cat populations. Studies have shown that simply destroying the cats is an ineffective way to manage the problem and borders on cruelty. For information regarding information and how you can get involved with a TNR program please visit the ASPCA website.
In the Midwest here most small towns have a huge problem with stray and feral cats. Two of my very good friends from two different small towns worked diligently with the city council and sheriff departments to set legislation to stop the trapping and killing of the stray animals. One friend was able to get them to do the trap-neuter-release program. The other was not. She has since moved because two of her cats were trapped and destroyed.
My hometown has been struggling with how to deal with all of the wild cats roaming the streets for several years. They are at the moment instigating a program which includes licensing and tagging pets so if they get trapped, they can be returned to their owners instead of being destroyed.
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And Finally, Here's What I ThinkI am one of those people who rarely sees the world in black and white. I tend to see all the possible and potential shades of gray. I imagine for that reason and the fact that a good part of my life has been spent working in the animal industry I can understand both sides of this issue. But I don't think declawing is cruel. No more say than spaying which is also an invasive surgery with potential complications. Most people spay their pets for the convenience of it. Yes, of course no one wants any unwanted litters, but the truth is dealing with females in heat is a pain.
Indeed if declawing a cat is cruel so is the breeding of dogs and cats with genetic mutations (like pug faces or shar pei wrinkly skin) which often require surgery or medical attention throughout the animals life. Following this a step further, are then the people who own these animals cruel, because they perpetuate the breeding of these deformities through their purchasing of them? Yeah, okay this is not about those things this is about declawing a cat. But before one casts stones it is usually best to really look around at the house your standing in.
I have owned only two indoor cats and both have been declawed in the front. Both were gallery cats and thus the liability of them scratching patrons or inventory was too great not to. Oliver (who's baby picture this is) was devoted to me but in general had a fierce demeanor and really hated most people. He slapped everyone, which of course would have been scratched had he not been declawed. Surprisingly most of my customers loved him regardless of this treatment and was often gifted with toys and treats from his fans.
I found Oliver nearly dead as a kitten. He was starved and huddled half frozen abandoned in a ditch in late October, not yet weaned from his mother. I literally carried him around under my clothing for the first 24 hours. He was my furry child and I adored him. Knowing what I know, having assisted perform the operation countless times, I still had him declawed. There was no way he would have been able to be my gallery cat and live a life of love and luxury otherwise.