Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vive Claw de Chat!

The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the veterinary practice of declawing cats within city limits, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.

"It's a complex and painful procedure — you remove the bone at the end of the paw — and it's only for the benefit of the owner," said Jesse Arreguin, who co-authored the law with Councilwoman Susan Wengraf.

"A survey of Southern California veterinarians showed that 95 percent of vets are declawing cats to protect furniture," said Veterinarian Jennifer Conrad. "I urge you to protect cats in your city. It's an amputation of the last bone in the cat's toe."

Retired veterinarian Jean Hofve confessed that she regrets the times she declawed cats. "I declawed hundreds of cats and it is horrible, cruel and inhumane," Hofve said. "After declawing cats develop behavior problems, biting and litter box avoidance problems. To create a situation where more cats are likely to bite is unconscionable."

San Francisco passed a similar law on November 3rd, and on November 6th the Los Angeles City Council, in a preliminary action, voted unanimously to ban declawing cats, which council members described as unnecessary and abject animal cruelty.

I have been against declawing since I learned about the procedure at age five, when my family adopted Mariah, a sweet little Tortie who’d already been declawed. She didn’t seem to suffer… until old age began to sink in.

I’ve always loved playing with cats’ paws, and I remember how her paws felt. There were extra flaps of furry skin at the end of each finger, and I could feel that the bones within felt butchered. As she aged, I could tell how it hurt her to jump and do other Cattish things. I know how hard it is for me to walk when I’ve got a blister from an ill-fitting kitten heel, so imagine the pain of dealing with the effects of amputation for the rest of your life.

Now that I am a cat parent myself, I understand how frustrating it can be when Theo or Ollie decides to sharpen a claw or two on a new piece of furniture. That said, if they’re able to do any damage, I’m to blame. Trimming their claws is very simple. Ollie, thus far, has not tolerated SoftPaws, but Theo is completely amenable. There are all sorts of cat scratchers that range from cheap and easy cardboard (stay tuned for a review on my new Theo’s new scratcher later) to the gorgeous creations often featured on

No comments:

Post a Comment