Where do these people come from?

I’m not a Scrooge, really, I’m not. So I can’t blame it on the upcoming holiday season. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old(er). Or maybe I just need more chocolate. But for whatever the reason, I seem to be getting less tolerant of some of the news that crosses my desk.

For example, there is a move (coming from, where else, California) to make it illegal to declaw your cat. It’s already illegal in San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills city councils are also considering adopting similar ban.

Proponents say declawing a cat is a form of animal cruelty and causes “pain, anguish and permanent disability” to cats.

Poppycock. There are no scientific data to support claims that declawing has long-term negative effects on a cat’s health and well-being.

I have an indoor cat. Her front paws are declawed. That was to save her from pain, anguish and likely permanent disability inflicted if I caught her snagging my shower curtain or living room curtains one more time. (I’m kidding, people!) More likely, if I didn’t declaw her, I would have had to put her outside and she would’ve gotten hit by a car on the state route in front of our house, the fate of Cat No. 1. Since I wouldn’t have had the heart to go through that again with two (then) young kids, I would have probably taken the cat to a shelter. And if she didn’t get adopted, she would have been euthanized.

Long story short: Declawing saved my cat’s life.

* * *

From a Nov. 2 opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune comes this gem: “4-H: Cruel to animals and kids.”

The author says her stepdaughter has been traumatized by the realization that her project cow was either destined to be slaughtered for food or “treated as breeding machines.”

“Unfortunately, 4-H provides a mere snapshot of how we systematically desensitize ourselves to the origins of the chops, steaks and wings that we put in our mouths.”

My eyes quickly jumped to the bottom of the article and, yep, as I suspected, the author was affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Puh-lease! First, 4-H is not just about animals. You can take rocketry, robotics, genealogy, bread-making, flower gardening and forestry projects. Second, 4-H provides a snapshot, yes, but of the real world, where hard work, patience and trials go into a major project like a steer. Third, 4-H builds self-esteem and self-confidence, public speaking skills, leadership, citizenship and tolerance.

* * *

Finally, the Kentucky Grinch. Gov. Steve Beshear created an uproar when his office dubbed the lighted, decorated pine tree on the Capitol lawn a “holiday tree” instead of saying Christmas tree.

His spokesman said the tree celebrates a variety of winter holidays, not just Christmas.

We appreciate the recognition and celebration of other holidays at this time of year, and I know you could argue that the tree tradition has pagan roots, but, cripes, a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree. That’s what it’s called. We don’t put up a tree for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or the winter solstice, we put up a tree for Christmas.

End of discussion.

And I promise I won’t be so perturbed next week.

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

15 Comments

  1. Laurel Nelson says:

    Declawing IS cruel – our vet told us it’s the same as amputating fingers at the knuckle. Sure people who lose fingers eventually get over it, but why would you do that? It also was written into our cats adoption contracts that we would not get them declawed.

    Here’s a thought – TRAIN YOUR CAT!!! They don’t all scratch furniture you know. Or use a product called Softpaws. They are vinyl caps that slip over the claws and can be glued on. They do have to be replaced periodically, but it allows them to keep the claws and also avoid any risk of anything being scratched.

  2. Beth says:

    It really IS a form of cruelty. It is equivalent of cutting our own fingers up to the first knuckle. We did that with our first cats when I was younger, and afterward my cats’ personalities changed. They started urinating everywhere (I’ve since read some cats start to associate the pain after the surgery with the litter box when they first go.) One of my cats also became very lethargic, didn’t play anymore, and gained a lot of weight. My dad ended up getting rid of them, partially because of the urinating problem. I have zero issues with my current cat. You know why?
    I cut his nails… the same way I cut my dogs nails. When they are short they do no damage to my furniture, etc. Maybe you should learn how to deal with animals so they trust you enough to let you cut their claws? Or is it easier to just maim them?
    I live in Hawaii, not Cali.

  3. Sandy says:

    I agree with you 100%.

  4. Ellen_Jane says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, and again THANK YOU!

  5. Susan says:

    You should do some research before you write. There is a ton of research out there that shows declawing cats is inhumane. It causes behavioral issues. I’m sorry it was either your shower curtain or toss your cat out on the street to die. You shouldn’t have bought, taken in that cat in the first place. If one of your kids harmed your curtains, would you cut off their fingers? I see no research which shows that it’s inhumane to lop off little kids fingers. If your kid snagged your couch, would you kick him out on the highway to be hit by a car?

  6. K. Fairlie says:

    Actually, there is evidence that declawing cats does indeed have its longterm effects. The United States is the only country where its still relatively legal to declaw a cat- its deemed inhumane in all other countries, because it is.

    A cat’s claw starts at the bone in the paw, and the surgery to “declaw” a feline friend is to cut off a part of the bone in order to remove it. So, cut off the tip of your finger, to compare to our hands.

    Declawing can cause permanent nerve damage to a cat’s paws and cause walking problems. If the wound becomes infected, the animal could lose a leg easily.

    Plus, its a trauma to a cat, who use their claws for more than just defending themselves.

    Most cat cases in the US where a cat dies in a dies outdoors are declawed cats who have either escaped the home or are more often abandoned and cannot fend for themselves. Falling out of high areas, dog fights, other cat fights, encounters with other wild predators are the highest risks. A normal cat can climb a tree to get away from an attacker or fight back. A declawed cat runs out of options.

    There are other options other than declawing, such as getting rubber nail caps put on. And behavior control if they are really shredding your curtains. And I know there are no-kill animal shelters in CA that you could bring a cat to if there really is no other option- the place I work for is partners with some. If they aren’t adopted, they have a loving foster home.

    Since its done, I won’t say anything about the fact that you did declaw your animal, but there are other options.
    Also, every well run animal shelter in my area will not allow a person adopt a cat with the intent of declawing, and they charge fines up to $2000 if you break their contract. We are also strict on our Indoor-cat policy.

    - http://declawing.com/ A website we refer to clients that even our animal hospital shows to patients who consider declawing.

    But thats where I stand with the declawing issue. I’m glad things are finally getting moving in the US and they are banning something actually harmful.

    But- Holiday trees? Thats a bit far. If you are celebrating another holiday, there is no need for a Christmas tree, so people who celebrate the damn holiday will be the only ones getting one to begin with.

    I apologize if I sounded like PETA rep (who are hypocritical), but I do look at the facts that do exist, and that is why I comment.

  7. brenda isaac says:

    I agree! My Ziggy is 19 years old this year and has all four paws declawed. We had it done when he was less than a year old. If we had not, I think we would have had to have given him up not long after we got him. To this day he “sharpens” his non-existent claws on furniture! I believe his life was saved by it and the reason he has lived so long is because of it!. Dang Cah-lee-foh-neeahns, there are just some of their crazy ideas that would be best left out west.

  8. Actually, I did do some research before I wrote. There is an excellent report from the Advocates for Fact-Based Policy Making that cites current research: http://advocatesforfacts.org/uploads/Anti_Declaw_Report_Update.pdf

  9. Sam says:

    Advocates for Facts is a lobby group paid by the Veterinary Association. That is not “research.” They edited, twisted and just plain lied about declaw. It’s propaganda. Look at the author of those reports, Ed Boks. He was paid to lie about declaw in front of city council. Council saw through it and voted to ban inhumane declaw. Boks was paid by Dave Weisman of the Dax Foundation. They have a financial interest in declaw surgery. Boks of course was forced to resign his position in Los Angeles because he was an utter failure. Do some real research pawproject.com

  10. Barbara says:

    Where do these people come from you ask? From all over the globe is the answer, millions of people in 38 countries where declawing is considered inhumane live quite happily alongside fully clawed cats. The poppycock is your ignorance of the effects, long and short term of declawing cats. Though having said that, seeing your pathetic cheap jokes about your shower curtain etc I doubt if you even much care what you put the cat through as long as your possessions, but not including your cat, are intact. The pain, anguish and likely permanent disability you are so flippant about wouldn’t be so funny if it were you who had ten seperate amputations of the ends of your digits.

  11. Michele S. says:

    You wrote “Proponents say declawing a cat is a form of animal cruelty and causes “pain, anguish and permanent disability” to cats.

    Poppycock. There are no scientific data to support claims that declawing has long-term negative effects on a cat’s health”

    I’m sure the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons would disagree with your comment. As far back as 1986 their report on mutilations had this to say regarding the removal of claws;

    “This procedure is only acceptable where, in the opinion of the veterinary surgeon, injury to the animal is likely to occur during normal activity. It is not acceptable if carried out for the convenience of the owner. Thus the removal of dew claws in certain breeds of dog where they protrude from the limb and are likely to become caught and torn is justifiable and even advisable. On the other hand, the removal of claws, particularly those which are weight-bearing, to preclude damage to furnishings is not acceptable.”

    European vets refused to perform declawing long before it was banned under the European Convention for the Protection of Animals (1987)

    http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/125.htm

    In all of the 38 countries where this cruel mutilation is already banned, there are babies, young children, nice furnishings and people with compromised immune systems. All of these are the “justifications” that pro-declawers use, yet we manage to live very happily with cats and their claws. This is because people are educated to accept natural feline behaviour and provide appopriate training.

    It is not compulsory to adopt a cat, and anyone who lacks the patience or compassion to teach them claw manners should not be allowed to have one.

    I’m delighted that more and more vets are prepared to stand up and admit the truth. Declawing IS an unnecessary amputation which has no benefits whatsoever to a cat.

  12. Everycat says:

    So how come people in 38 countries of the world manage to live healthy and happy lives with fully clawed cats? Well, I’m waiting? What? you have no answer? – It’s time America woke up to how stupid and cruel it has been for the last 60 years believing the nonsense about declawing being ok. It is not ok to mutilate and cripple your cats because you are too lazy to train them to have good claw manners! You have no right to choose to abuse your animals. None.

    In the UK the elderly, children, the immunocompromised and bleeders all live happily and safely with cats without being mauled, bleeding to death or losing eyes or dying from scratch infections – why are Americans SO SCARED of cat claws? Probably because they treat their cats like commodities that are there to entertain them and have absolutely no respect for the animal.

    American vets laugh at those ignorant owners who ask for declaw without doing research on the procedure and finding out the truth. Your vets are laughing as they bank your dollars! If you weren’t so gullible and thought for yourselves, you wouldnt do this to your cats. It’s a cycle driven by stupidity and greed that keeps America in the dark ages regarding this hateful mutliation. You are totally disconnected from animals, you show no empathy, no knowledge and it would be best if you just didn’t keep animals at all.

    The rest of the world is disgusted by the arrogance of your country. Yes, totally disgusted.

    YAY! WAY TO GO CALIFORNIA!
    BAN DECLAWING IN EVERY STATE IN THE USA!

  13. LoriM. says:

    Even if the “only” benefit achieved via declawing is a permanent indoor home, it’s worth it.

    It’s hypocritical to promote lifetime indoor cat ownership and condemn declawing at the same time.

    Life is about compromise. This one is worth it for a cat lover.

    Never realized so many cat lovers read The Farm and Dairy!

  14. Dave Weisman says:

    Hah, hah, hah!!

    A friend forwarded me Sam’s comments that I have a “financial interest” in declaw surgery. What you don’t realize is that I have much more than a financial interest in declawing those buggers, I actually eat them too.

    Cats are extremely nutritious and are eaten throughout the world. They actually taste better than chicken! Besides, they are miserable animals with no souls and deserve to be declawed simply out of principle.

    Yes, I favor declawing and search for feral cats to bring back to my lab so I can experiment on them throughout the night.

    Thanks a lot Sam…now I have to go underground because of the worldwide publicity searchlights that you’ve trained on me

  15. Tamara says:

    I too had three cats all of which were declawed. Not one of them had any issues of any sort and did still do the phantom clawing of furniture. I now have a new kitten and I am considering declawing this one also. I must mention my cats are all strictly indoors cats and treated like Kings and Queens. They are spoiled rotten and loved big time. I think the declaw issue is better than throwing your cat outside or giving it up or not adopting cats due to ruined furniture. I know I can not afford to buy new furniture every year. I think if one declaws the cats before they are 6 months old the bones are soft and cartilage like. Besides my Vet will not do it after the kitten is 6 months old.

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