To Declaw, or Not to Declaw

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http://www.examiner.com/article/owner-dumps-7-year-old-cat-to-high-kill-shelter-when-she-bought-a-new-sofa

One day this past week on Facebook, I shared the story at the link above of a 7-year-old cat surrendered to a high-kill shelter because his owner bought a new sofa.  While there is much more to the story (Tiger, the cat, is also gravely ill), such an act still seems to most people to be a very heartless thing to do.  However, this story and many others like it spark an age-old debate:  should cats be declawed?

Some countries outlaw the practice altogether.  There are attempts ongoing in several states right here in the USA to do the same thing.  However, there remain consistent arguments on both sides of the issue.

Those against argue that declawing a cat amounts to “mutilation,” that it is elective surgery and is not for the benefit of the cat but for his or her owners.  They argue that some techniques result in very long healing times and can also result in infections and increased aggression on the part of the cat.  They further argue that, once declawed, the cat will be essentially defenseless when out-of-doors.

Proponents of the practice, from my experience, are not so much “for” declawing as they are against the tendency of cats to sharpen their claws on the nearest piece of expensive furniture.  They will also argue that other medical techniques require only a few days to heal and are much less invasive.  They say that some owners are highly sensitive to bacteria on cats’ claws, and some veterinarians point out that most people who have their cats declawed are exceptional kitty caretakers—and naturally choose to keep their cats “indoor only.”

I believe the choice is a personal one, and should not be regulated.  In my opinion, a cat who spends any amount of time outside should never be declawed.  On the other hand, if declawing will prevent an owner from treating the cat as a disposable pet (as is apparent in Tiger’s case at the link above), then perhaps declawing is best—better than euthanasia—as long as the cat is kept indoors.

What do you think?

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