Hats off to Israel’s parliament for passing a ban on declawing of cats. The ban was approved by the Knesset Monday, November 28. And, the new law has some bite to it. Punishment consists of up to one year in prison and a fine of 75,000 shekels (a little more than $20,000.)
Declawing of cats and kittens is a despicable practice done for the convenience of owners who want to ensure their kitty doesn’t ruin the furniture. It is an elective surgical procedure which puts the animal at all anesthesia risks but has no medical purpose for the cat.
And I’m ashamed to admit, it is a common practice in the U.S. It is estimated about 25 percent of U.S. cats are declawed. Many European countries have already made it illegal or consider it an inhumane practice. It’s time for America to wake up and follow suit.
What is Declawing?
Declawing is a misnomer because in order to remove a cat’s claws, the first joints of each toe are actually amputated. Imagine trying to go through your daily routines of self care with only stubs at the end of each finger.
Declawing is also a very painful surgery that can negatively affect a cat’s behavior and instinctual abilities. Many declawed cats will start to bite because their natural defense – their claws – have been removed and their teeth are all they have left to defend themselves with.
Post-operative recuperation can take weeks with the kitty in severe pain from walking or scratching in their litter box — things they have to continue doing on a daily basis. Cats instinctively will not show pain; so pain relief is often not addressed as a post operative concern. It can also cause lameness and balance disturbances.
Alternatives to Declawing
There are some non-surgical alternatives worth considering. Teaching your cat to use a scratching post, offering cardboard scratching toys and routine nail trimming are but a few.
If your feline indulges in catnip, try embedding it into the scratching post. There are plastic nail caps that can be easily glued to your cat’s nails so the scratch doesn’t damage flesh or furniture. Place sticky tape on furniture to deter unwanted scratching. And citrus sprays will stop some cats from kneading the sofa.
Thank You, Israel!
While declawing in Israel is not common practice, the new law sends a message to the world that amputating your cat’s toes for personal convenience is unacceptable.
Other countries that outlaw declawing or consider it inhumane are:
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