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Let's paws and think about cats

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

There is an ethical point to be considered – the morality of inflicting pain on cats. We know the practice of onychectomy – declawing cats – is cruel.

However, veterinarians don’t feel the practice should be banned, on the contrary, many veterinarians have backed a pending state law that gives the state the authority to prevent cities and counties from passing ordinances banning medical procedures, including declawing cats.

The state law goes into effect on Jan. 1.

And cities across the state have been rushing to pass ant-declawing ordinances before the new law becomes effective.

Even those who favor declawing to keep carpets and furniture pristine have to admit it’s not good for cats by any stretch of the imagination.

It is a procedure that amputates the last joint of the cat’s paw. It is painful, with an excruciating recovery process.

Declawing makes it increasingly difficult for the cat to do the necessary things like walking and jumping.
Sure, you may not get your furniture scratched up, but it is an unnecessary mutilation, illegal in many European
countries.

Luckily, many cities are working now to ban the practice before the January 2010 deadline.
Animal cruelty is not limited to onychectomy.

We support it when we attend circuses, and abuse is blatantly evident. Animals are whipped, beaten and poked to complete a routine, not to mention that certain animals like elephants are chained for up to 23 hours a day.

Additionally, more than 15 million warm-blooded animals are used in research each year.

And must we brush up on the extent to which animals are mistreated prior to being slaughtered? All so we can have cheap steak and bacon. It is a selfish indulgence for which animals pay.

But lets go back to the issue at hand.

In 2003, West Hollywood became the first North American city to ban the practice of declawing cats.

We should not compromise a mere convenience for a being’s health.

Animal rights activists across the state have got this one right. These gentle creatures should not have to pay such a high price for our convenience.

For now, we will only hope for the best, anticipating that cat lovers throughout the state of California will do the right thing.

And that enough cities across the state step up – as some have already done – to outlaw declawing.

Otherwise, we believe, many disheartened owners often will end up giving up their demoralized cats once they have been declawed.

And those considering declawing for convenience sake should consider:

Declawed cats find it difficult to use their litter boxes as they are unable to dig efficiently.

There are cases when some cats are even euthanized due to owner frustration over this.

The only event in which such a procedure should be necessary would be in the case of a therapeutic instance to remove infected tissue.

This, for instance, is only proposed by the mindful veterinarians in California.

The California Medical Association holds that cities and states should stay out of the decision.

How could such an association stand in favor of a procedure that constitutes cruelty?

We need to stop and consider the detrimental effects of the procedure. Cat owners need to stop and consider the responsibility of their role – and the quality of the life of their cat.

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