Case Against Claws
I told you guys I recently acquired an adorable new kitten
named Sally. In describing to a friend how she was climbing
up my bedroom curtains I mentioned I was planning to have
her de-clawed. My friend responded with absolute horror. Something
along the lines of, "How could you do such a cruel and
inhumane thing?" (The curtains the kitten was climbing
were Eddie Bauer curtains, by the way.)
My feeling about de-clawing has always been very positive.
I’d rather that than the inevitable scratching on furniture
and climbing where cats shouldn’t be. Looking at it
from the other side, most of the arguments against de-clawing
seem to be based on emotion rather than fact.
A recent law passed by the West Hollywood City Council is
the first ban on de-clawing in the United States. Interestingly
enough, included in the article about this measure are several
arguments for de-clawing and none against. According to CNN.com:
"Veterinarian Peter Weinstein of the California Veterinary
Medical Association noted that declawed cats must always stay
indoors. ‘I think sometimes it's more cruel to let a
cat outside into a community or an environment where they
could become the victim of a car or a coyote,’ he said."
"The procedure, known as onychectomy, costs $100 to
$300 and removes the first joint of each toe in a cat's paw.
It's normally done to keep cats from scratching people and
"Assemblyman Paul Koretz, a Democrat and former West
Hollywood mayor, backs a bill that would apply the ban statewide.
He wants to ban the practice not only for house cats, but
for larger felines as well. The 4,800-member California Veterinary
Medical Association opposes the bill, saying it could prompt
some owners to abandon their pets. The state's film industry
also is concerned, fearing a ban on de-clawing big cats would
make movie sets more dangerous and costly."
So, that says to me, that the possibility of animal abandonment,
hurting family members in a household, property destruction
and the tendency to let a clawed cat roam outdoors are all
arguments against a ban on de-clawing.
What are the arguments against de-clawing? I haven’t
found one, other than the suppositions of humans who assume
they know what the animal feels like.
Now let me tell you about my own two de-clawed felines and
how much "pain" they appear to be in. First of all,
they never go out. They spend the day frolicking and playing.
Half the night I can hear them romping up and down the hall
and stairs of our home. They are both sociable, greeting visitors
in turn and without fear. If there is any long lasting ill
affects from the de-clawing, I can’t see it.