I forgot to include the article in my previous email.  The link is  here, the 
full text follows:

_PETA Media  Center > Factsheets_ 
Declawing Cats: Manicure or Mutilation?
Cats’ claws and the bones and cartilage that hold them in place  allow cats 
to balance properly, climb, and defend themselves, among other  functions. 
Declawing, which removes these claws, bones, and cartilage, is a  painful and 
permanently crippling procedure that should never be performed.  There are 
effective and humane alternatives to declawing that can prevent cats  from 
damage with their claws.
Why Do Cats Claw Objects?
Cats claw to have  fun and exercise, to maintain the condition of their 
nails, and to mark their  territory—visually and with scent. They stretch by 
digging their claws in and  pulling against their own claw-hold. Cats’ natural 
instinct to scratch serves  both their physical and psychological needs. Before 
domestication, cats  satisfied these needs by clawing tree trunks. Today, 
domesticated cats can be  guided to satisfy their desire to claw without 
valuable property.
Understanding Declawing
Declawing involves  10 separate, painful amputations. It is a serious 
surgery, not just a manicure.  Declawing a cat involves general anesthesia and 
amputation of the last joint of  each toe, including the bones, not just the 
nail.(1) The following are possible  complications of this surgery:
• Adverse reaction to  anesthetic
• Gangrene, which can lead to limb  amputation
• Hemorrhaging
• Permanent nerve  damage
• Persistent pain
• Reluctance to walk
• Scar  tissue formation
• Sequestrum (bone chips), requiring additional  surgery(2)
• Skin disorders
After surgery, the nails may grow back inside the paw, causing  pain but 
remaining invisible to observers. Declawing results in a gradual  weakening of 
leg, shoulder, and back muscles, and because of impaired balance  caused by the 
procedure, declawed cats have to relearn to walk, much as a person  would after 
losing his or her toes. 

Lasting  Difficulties
Without claws, even house-trained cats may urinate and  defecate outside the 
litterbox in an attempt to mark their territory. Declawed  cats may be morose, 
reclusive, and withdrawn or irritable, aggressive, and  unpredictable. Many 
people think that declawed cats are safer around babies, but  in fact, the lack 
of claws, a cat’s first line of defense, makes many cats feel  so insecure 
that they tend to bite more often as a means of self-protection.(3)  A study 
published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical  Association 
reported that of those observed, 33 percent of  declawed cats developed at 
least one behavioral problem and 80 percent had more  than one medical 
complication.(4) Declawed cats are also more likely to be  surrendered to 
Banned by Countries and Cities and Condemned by  Vets
Nearly two dozen countries—including England, Australia, and  Japan—ban or 
severely restrict declawing surgeries.(6) Catalonia, Spain,  prohibits 
declawing under its Law of Animal Protection.(7) A declawing ban was  passed in 
Hollywood, California, where one City Council official explained,  “As 
guardians of animals, we have a relationship of respect, that the animal not  
amputated or subjected to techniques that create harm.”(8) Following a  lawsuit 
against the city filed by the California Veterinary Medical  Association—which 
argued that West Hollywood had infringed on veterinarians’  professional rights—
a court struck down the ordinance. Nonetheless, on the heels  of that 
precedent-setting legislation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors  adopted 
resolution “condemning” declawing and urging veterinarians to drop the  
Many vets refuse to perform the surgery. Dr. Jennifer Conrad  wrote in JAVMA 
that “[r]outine declawing (unlike sterilization) is never  performed for the 
sake of the animal” and that as a veterinarian, she has “an  obligation to do 
what is best for the animals and not what is most convenient  for their owners.
”(10) Dr. Melinda Merck does not perform declawing surgeries at  her Georgia 
clinic, saying the process “is an amputation … and it’s awful.”(11)  The Cat 
Practice in New York City tells its clients, “If you love your cat …  don’t 
Compassionate Alternatives
With a little  effort and patience, you can protect your furnishings and 
preserve your cat’s  claws at the same time. The following hints will help:
• Trim your cat’s  nails regularly. When the cat is relaxed and unafraid, 
gently press on the toes  until the claws extend. Use a pair of nail clippers 
and cut only the tip of the  nail, taking care not to damage the vein or 
 The nail hook is what tears  upholstery, so removing it virtually eliminates 
• Buy or build  two or more scratching posts. They must be sturdy, tall 
enough to allow the cat  to stretch (3 feet or taller), and properly placed. 
Bark-covered logs, posts  covered with sisal, or posts covered with tightly 
burlap work well. Soft,  fluffy, carpeted scratching posts don’t work—they are 
one of the greatest causes  of declawing because cats don’t like the posts, 
and frustrated human companions  resort to surgery. If you use carpet, secure 
to the posts with the rough  backing on the outside; soft carpeting will not 
satisfy a cat’s need to claw.  Place one scratching post where your cat is 
already clawing and another near the  area where he or she normally sleeps 
like to stretch and scratch when they  first wake up). An excellent scratching 
post is available from _Felix Katnip Tree Company_ 
(http://www.felixkatniptreecompany.com/) ,  3623 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 
98103; 206-547-0042. 
• Consider  cardboard or sisal “scratching boxes” that lie flat on the 
floor. These are  inexpensive and small enough to scatter around the house, 
allowing your cat easy  access to an “approved” scratching spot at all times. 
do wear out fairly  quickly, however, and will need to be replaced every few 
months—otherwise, cats  may get frustrated and revert to using furniture.
• Teach your cat where  to claw and where not to claw. Place your cat on the 
new scratching post and  move his or her paws, or pretend to scratch it 
yourself. This will scent the  posts and encourage exploratory clawing. Make 
post a “fun” place to be. Play  games with your cat on and around the post, and 
attach hanging strings, balls,  and/or bouncy wire toys to it. Try sprinkling 
catnip on the post, too. (A  once-a-week or so refresher application will keep 
your cat interested.) When  kitty uses the post, reinforce this behavior with 
praise, but be careful not to  startle or frighten him or her. When your cat 
claws furniture, discourage this  behavior with a firm voice or other loud 
noise, but never with physical force.  Directing lukewarm water from a squirt 
at the animal’s back is often  successful. During the training period, you 
may need to cover upholstery with  plastic or other protection (cats don’t like 
the slippery feel and will quickly  learn to stay away).
• Strategically placed double-sided tape, such as  Paws Off (available at 
_PETACatalog.org_ (http://www.petacatalog.org/) ), also discourages the  
of furniture and upholstery. 
What You Can Do
If your friends or family  members are considering having their cats 
declawed, let them know about the  danger and cruelty of this serious and 
surgery. Support legislation  to ban declawing in your community.

An excellent book that will help you understand your cat better  is Ingrid 
Newkirk’s 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore  You, available at 
_www.PETA.org_ (http://www.peta.org/) . By  learning to understand cat behavior 
using common-sense precautions and  behavior-modification methods, you can 
prevent clawing damage without inflicting  pain on your feline companion.   
(1) “Onychectomy (Declawing of  Cats),” The Animal Medical Center, 2003.
(2) Maria-Elena Choherty, D.V.M.,  “Feline Declawing (a.k.a. Onychectomy),” 
AskVetAdvice.com Newsletter,  16 Jun. 2003.
(3) Ibid.
(4) S.C. Yeon et al., “Attitudes  of Owners Regarding Tendonectomy and 
Onychectomy in Cats,” The Journal of  the American Veterinary Medical 
218 (2001): 43-7.
(5) G.J.  Patronek et al., “Risk Factors for Relinquishment of Cats to an 
Animal  Shelter,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 209  
(1996): 582-588.
(6) Christianne Schelling, D.V.M., _Declawing.com_ 
(http://www.declawing.com/) , last accessed 4 Aug.  2004.
(7) Geoff Pingree and Lisa Abend, “Abandoned Pets Find Haven,” The  
Christian Science Monitor, 23 Jun. 2004.
(8) Louinn Lota, “West  Hollywood Becomes First in State to Ban Declawing,” 
Associated Press, 8 Apr.  2003.
(9) Simone Sebastian, “Supervisors Condemn Removal of Cat Claws,”  The San 
Francisco Chronicle, 24 Sep. 2003.
(10) Jennifer Conrad,  D.V.M., letter, Journal of the American Veterinary 
Medical Association,  223 (2003): 40-1.
(11) Bob Keefe, “California City Considers Ban on Declawing  Cats,” Palm 
Beach Post, 2 Feb. 2003.
(12) The Cat Practice, _“If You Love Your  Cat …”_ 
(http://thecatpractice.com/felinehealth/donotdeclaw.html)  Feline Health, last 
accessed 4 Aug.  2004.

************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com

Reply via email to