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Many people who have animals have to put up with some unpleasantness that arises as multiple species inhabit the same area. It’s rare to walk into a home and not be able to tell if there are indoor cats or dogs, whether because of smell or hair left around.
If you’re a pet person, this is nothing new to you. It’s the equivalent of parents having toys strewn everywhere and a variety of interesting smells and sounds.
One of the biggest complaints from cat owners or would-be owners, besides the odor, is the clawing. Cats are notorious for scratching couches, curtains and anything else that tempts their fancy.
Their nails help them navigate their world, catch prey and tell off other cats (and people). But many owners have found it easier to remove their cats’ claws to avoid these encounters altogether.
It may seem useful at first to have a cat without claws, but the procedure isn’t as harmless as a nail trim; it’s an operation that completely removes the last toe bone from their toes with lasers, trimmers or scalpels.
Usually, only the front paws are operated on. That would be even worse than having the last bone and nailbed chopped off of our hands because cats’ front paws are weight-bearing, and the procedure causes lasting health problems and pain for the cats who go under the blade.
The American Veterinary Medical Association described why many people opt to have this surgery in the introduction of the literature review for “Welfare Implications of Declawing of Domestic Cats.”
“Many owners choose to have their cats declawed to protect their furniture or other household possessions. Scratching is a normal behavior of cats, but destructive scratching represents approximately 15 to 42% of feline behavior complaints.”
“The act of scratching serves many purposes; it conditions the claws by removing aged cuticle, serves as a visual and scent territorial marker, provides defense from attack, and stretches the muscles of the limbs, thorax, and back. After declawing cats continue to show the same frequency of scratching behavior.”
They also mention that the benefits to cats are that “declawing may be an alternative to relinquishment, outdoor housing or euthanasia,” which makes it seem like a very last-ditch effort that should be avoided at all costs.
Many places have outlawed this barbaric procedure, but the U.S. is not one of those places — some apartment complexes even require that resident cats be declawed. The surgery is still available, but there are many people pushing for a change to protect the health and happiness of kitties in America.
One of those groups, “Cassandra Cat Wants Her Claws Back,” was set up to warn others of the effects of declawing by sharing the story of Cassandra, a cat who had the procedure done and was abandoned before her current owner found her.
According to her page, Cassandra suffers from arthritis, severe back pain and is wary of people.
“The older I get, the more I feel the pain in my paws and back,” her owner wrote on Jan. 7. “For those who say ‘My declawed cat is fine’ — You cannot see what is inside those paws until you get X-rays.
“Declawed cats live in silent pain-Declawing is the amputation of each p3 claw bone, the equivalent of having all ten human fingers amputated at the first knuckle removing bone, nerves, ligaments, tendons, muscle. This IS animal abuse that profits veterinarians, it was invented by #avmavets in 1952 without any peer reviewed studies. All declawed cats suffer silently.”
Owners of cats who have gone through this procedure have attributed much of their cats’ health and mental issues to the excruciating pain they continue to suffer through. Sometimes the nails aren’t completely removed and grow back deformed, and abscesses and a multitude of other complications can arise from a procedure that has never been necessary.
Instead of considering this mutilation, make sure to keep your cat’s nails trimmed and give them their own items to scratch. Dealing with a few tattered pieces of furniture is so much better than putting your cat through a lifetime of crippling pain.
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