Declawing cats should be illegal in MissouriOpinion

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By Danielle Linton

Although I love almost every different kind of animal or pet, cats are my favorite. However, there is a procedure that I do not agree with that most owners allow to happen to their cats. This procedure is known as “declawing.”

Declawing cats involves a process where cats front claws get permanently removed, sometimes even their back claws, as well. Removing a cat’s claws is like cutting a person’s fingers off at the first knuckle. So, it is very unpleasant to do that to cats. How would people like it if someone did that to them?

Also, cats shouldn’t be declawed because clawing is a healthy, natural, and important behavior for them. According to the website Peta, “cats scratch to exercise and enjoy themselves, maintain the condition of their nails, and stretch their muscles.” So, who is really benefiting from the declawing procedure? The cats, or the owners?

An interview done by Sandy Eckstein for the WebMD site for a Pet Health Feature was offered Drew Weigner’s perspective on this emotionally charged and hotly debated topic.

Weigner is a veterinarian from Atlanta and is a past president from the Academy of Feline Medicine.

“There are several different techniques, but they all involve one thing,” Weigner said. “You have to remove the claw, and you have to remove the little piece of bone that the claw grows from. If you don’t, the claw will try to grow back. The less you remove, the better, and that’s where the differences in techniques come in. The way cats are normally declawed, there’s an instrument with a sliding blade, almost like a guillotine, and it cuts a straight line through the joint between that little piece of bone and the next piece of bone, which is much bigger.”

“When you do that, right underneath that is the pad, and you actually cut that right in half too. So it’s like cutting the tip of your finger off,” Weigner said. “With cosmetic declawing, you use a tiny curved blade to go in and dissect out the claw and the tiny piece of bone. The pad is intact; all the soft tissue is there. So the cat is walking comfortably very quickly because its pads are fine. When the pads are cut in half, the cat can’t walk on them without discomfort. That’s what cats put their weight on. And they can’t walk on them comfortably for weeks. Most of the pain comes from the trauma to the soft tissue. But cosmetic declawing is not an easy procedure to do: It’s time consuming, so not many veterinarians do it.”

Weigner then described to Eckstein as to why most people oppose the idea of declawing cats, including himself.

“Some people feel it’s unnatural to remove a cat’s claws, and it’s done for the owner’s benefit and not for the cat’s benefit,” Weigner said. “There are many other arguments you can make for this — the pain they go through, the complications after declawing. But I think it really boils down to cats are born with claws and they should keep them.”

Many countries have already banned declawing. According to the website Peta, “nearly two dozen countries—including Australia, England, and Japan—ban or severely restrict declawing surgeries. And many veterinarians in the United States refuse to perform the procedure.” Recently, the state New Jersey has now also made it illegal for declawing surgeries to be performed on cats.

Veterinarians caught declawing a cat and people who seek them out would face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail and violators would also face a civil penalty of $500 to $2,000 from this new bill that has been passed in New Jersey.

In my opinion, I think Missouri should do the same. It’s wrong and inhumane.

“No cat lover would doubt that cats—whose senses are much keener than ours—suffer pain,” veterinarian, Dr. Christianne Schelling said, “They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it.  But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly. Your cat’s body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors. I have also had people tell me that their cat’s personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.”

So, as a cat owner think before you act and consider how your cat would feel. They are a living creature that deserves their own rights, too.

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