Have you ever wondered why most of the world does not declaw cats? In nearly every country where cats are kept as companion animals declawing is illegal or effectively banned. In the U.S. and Canada onychectomy (declawing) is a booming business. Recently a movement against this practice has been organized by a group called The Paw Project in California. So far four cities in our country have banned declawing (we have a long way to go, at least it’s a start).
The humane community has a serious responsibility and unique opportunity to educate the pet parents about this inhumane practice. Relying on amputation as a means to manage normal cat behavior sets a dangerous precedent for our relationship with our companion animals. In many scientific journals declawing is accurately referred to as “elective mutilation”. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor of Behavioral Pharmacology and Director of the Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and internationally known specialist in domestic animal behavioral research explains why this is an appropriate term for this operation in his book The Cat Who Cried for Help.
“Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery.” (Dr. Dodman goes on to describe the acute and long-term suffering that results from this procedure.)
Consider the following statistics…
The good news is that scratching problems are 100% correctable! In over 20 years of behavior counseling, Cats International has never had a destructive scratching problem that could not be solved. It is the easiest behavior problem with which we helped people deal with.
What you can do to educate cat owners about declawing:
We recommend the Ultimate Scratching Post™ from Pioneer Pet®. You can make your own by referring to our article “How to Build a Scratching Post”. A good work-out on the scratching post is the equivalent of a vigorous session at the gym for us.
If you are adopting a cat or a kitten to a new home, explain to the adopters the importance of claws to a cat, find another home if they insist on declawing. Your efforts will not only improve the quality of life for the cat or kitten that is being adopted, but you are also reducing the possibility that the cat will be returned to you due to a declawing-related behavior problem. It is also a great opportunity to help educate someone on what de-clawing really is, hopefully they will tell other people how crewel and crippling it is to the cat. Spread the Education!
Claws are essential to the well-being of the cat. The cat’s unique and amazing retractile claws enable him to use their claws when in danger and then tuck them safely away when they are not needed. The claws also allow the cat to grasp and hold objects as well as establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching. By regularly trimming your cat’s claws and offering a suitable scratching target (post), you are providing a natural outlet for a normal, happy and healthy behavior and you will be rewarded with a satisfied and confident companion.
*Note: Many apartment managers who previously required cats to be declawed are accepting Soft Paws vinyl nail caps or the evidence of a good scratching post.
We at Cats International would find a suitable place to live that would let our cats keep what they have been born with….their NAILS!
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