Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Off-topic: Declawing

This is a little off-topic from the blog -- which I created when Cleo was sick with fatty liver disease, or feline hepatic lipidosis, back in 2005 -- but last night I watched a documentary called The Paw Project on Netflix.  It's about an hour long, and lays out a pretty strong case against declawing.

The video explains how the vet who started The Paw Project came to realize the damage declawing was doing to cats.  Initially she got involved because she was trying to reverse the health problems it caused in the big cats -- tigers, lions, cougars, etc. -- that she worked with, but of course the procedure is the same with house cats, so she eventually started a campaign against declawing pets as well.

Declawing is a horrible procedure, for sure.  It doesn't just remove the claw itself -- the entire first knuckle of the cat's toe is removed.  This basically ruins how the cat's paw has evolved to function.  The documentary explains the different declaw procedures, and the damage that each one does.  In addition to the physical problems that this creates, the lingering pain and the removal of the cat's primary defenses often causes behavioral problems, such as peeing outside the litter box and biting.

Opponents to bans on declawing claim that the bans will prevent people from being able to choose the medical care they want for their cats, but that argument doesn't hold water when you can prove that a procedure is painful and abusive.  People aren't allowed to do other abusive or neglectful things, even if the pet they are doing it to is "theirs," so why would we allow them to declaw just because a vet performs the operation?  This isn't about the freedom to choose your vet care, it's about the cruelty of deliberately doing something that will irreversibly destroy the cat's quality of life.

The documentary is moving, despite a few gruesome images (fairly short -- I looked away).  I highly recommend watching it, and I hope you will also recommend it to your friends.  I think public opinion has been turning away from declawing for several years now, but recommending the video will help to educate people on why declawing is such a horrible thing!

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