I’ve been a cat lover my whole life. We had cats in the house when I was a kid, usually two or three at a time, so they’ve been a staple of my emotional well being for a very long time. There’s a definite correlation between the general happiness of my life and whether or not I’ve been owned by a cat at the time. Even the times when the cat got on my last nerve waking me up at three in the morning are better than the silence of a non-catified house, imo.
Growing up, I’d heard only vague things about declawing. Contradictory things, too. Some said it was no big deal. Some said it was awful. Some said it was good for both cat and human. Some said it was cruel and unusual punishment. In my own uneducated mind, I simply thought it was wrong to take away a cat’s sole defense in case he/she got out of the house. And even the most dedicated of owners – like me – has had the heart attack of their cat running passed them into the great outdoors.
So what did I do on my Fourth of July holiday? Trolled netflix and was recommended to watch The Paw Project documentary. It was less than an hour and I was too hot to think, so why not, right? Well. Wow. There is a lot about the declawing process of which I had no clue, probably like the majority of the US. I won’t go into the whole thing, but there are a three major takeaways that everyone should know.
1. The actual word declawing is something of a misnomer. What they really do is go in and slice off the bone where the nail grows from. It would be like cutting off the tip of your finger at the knuckle. So it’s probably no surprise that most cats who are declawed have major physical problems and pain after the procedure.
2. Most cats who are declawed for behavior reasons, get much worse. And approximately a third of those who didn’t have problems, will develop them.
3. There are approximately 22 million declawed cats in the US. We’re one of the few industrialized nations that hasn’t banned the practice.
I have to say that I’m glad to live in Los Angeles where the practice is banned. There are eight cities in the state who managed to ban it before the state put into effect a ban on the bans of declawing. Not that people can’t go to neighboring cities to get it done, but it’s a statement. I’m hopeful that one day, the whole country – and Canada – will get on board and no longer allow this mutilation of an animal who brings such joy to so many people.