By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
Many of us love cats. But strangely enough, we don’t love cats whole. We want to modify cats in a way so that they don’t scratch our furniture or carpets, etc. And that’s the reasoning which has led to the terrible process called declawing.
Declawing, as the name suggests, is cutting off the claws of the cat. But that’s misleading since the claws of a cat is also attached to the bones of the knuckles and so, declawing is actually ‘amputating’ the cats first knuckles. It can result in long-lasting pain and the cat has to adjust the way they walk after the process is completed. It can lead to a lifetime of pain too, says Linda Rosenthal, a Democratic Assemblywoman from Manhattan. It has already been prohibited in many European countries along with some towns and cities in the US like Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
But New York turns out to be the first and only state that is banning declawing completely. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signed the bill which has outlawed the practice. Now, any vet engaging in the process will be charged a $1,000 fine. Of course, it remains legal if there is a medical need like tumours. Linda Rosenthal was one of the Bill’s sponsors.
The Bill has many supporters which include the Humane Society of the United States. The society director in New York, Brian Shapiro, called it a ‘victory’.
However, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) is in opposition to the Bill. According to them, declawing must be kept as an option for those special cases where euthanasia or abandonment are the other severe alternatives.
According to their statement, declawing needs to be allowed when all other methods of preventing a cat from making use of their claws in a destructive manner have been done or in case the owner suffers from a disorder where a wound from a cat can bring serious harm – like an immunocompromised individual or someone with haemophilia.
An article from 2016 talks about how profitable declawing is and mentions that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not recommended declawing under any circumstances. But it does mention ways to reduce risks related to cat scratches. But, the NYSVMS mentions that while there is no recommendation in literature, vets do recommend declawing in practice.
Other kinds of the opposition believe that many people would end up giving up their cats to shelters to protect themselves from scratches due to this law, even if there is no medical reason attached to it.
Cats with claws do tend to scratch and even ruin furniture but research by Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery in 2017 suggests that cats who have been declawed tend to bite more and are ten times likelier to defecate and urinate outside their litter boxes since cat litter becomes especially painful after declawing.
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Brenda Barnette, who works as a manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services, has mentioned this in her letter while supporting the Bill. Los Angeles had banned declawing back in 2009. Surrendering cats have lowered there and that’s because biting is no longer a problem. Hence, Los Angeles Animal Services believes that the ban will actually save the lives of many cats.
We believe so too and are really in favour of the ban. After all, cats lives matter a lot.
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