In a move that’s sure to impress both cats and cat lovers alike, Israel has banned the declawing of cats. Not to be taken lightly, anyone who breaks the law will be fined 75,000 Israeli shekels ($20,000 USD) and could face a year behind bars. While Israel is the most recent addition to the list, more than 20 other countries have already banned it—and hopefully, many more countries will follow their example.
The idea of removing a cat’s claws is ridiculous, not to mention unbelievably cruel. Cats need to scratch just like birds have to fly, for reasons buried deep in their psyches, like marking territory, as well as for play, exercise, and nail conditioning. To call it a simple procedure is false advertising—when you look at the facts, there’s nothing simple about such medieval torture.
Declawing involves 10 separate, very painful amputations. It is a serious surgery, not just a manicure. It involves general anesthesia and amputation of the last joint of each toe, including the bones. After surgery, the nails may grow back inside the paw, causing pain but remaining invisible to you. Declawing results in a gradual weakening of leg, shoulder, and back muscles, and because of impaired balance caused by the procedure, declawed cats have to relearn how to walk, much as a person would after losing his or her toes.
However, rather than taking a hatchet to a hangnail and removing kitty’s claws (and ligaments, muscle, and bone) in a cruel procedure called “declawing,” there are many simple, non-invasive solutions to worries about the furnishings, including the following:
- Get as many scratching posts as you can (the horizontal ones work as well as the vertical), trying different surfaces and styles. Put catnip on them once in a while to make them super inviting.
- Spray a little cologne on any fabric area where you do not want your cat to scratch. Sometimes covering a piece of furniture temporarily with contact paper or something else that’s slippery will stop the behavior.
- If you have a steady hand and good eyesight, buy a pair of cat nail clippers and use them. Gently squeeze each nail out, look for the quick (this is vital), and snip off the hook only, just above the quick. If you are unsure, go to a gentle veterinarian or groomer and insist on staying with your cat while his or her nails are clipped.
- Spay or neuter your cat! It reduces the need for them to mark their territory.
Posted by Robert Fry