Fantastic news for cats! Denver City Council recently unanimously passed a new law that BANS declawing cats and will only allow the procedure when medically necessary! The compassionate law was proposed by veterinarian Aubrey Lavizzo, leader of the Paw Project and will go into effect immediately.
Many people think that declawing (also known as onychectomy) just involves pulling a claw out and is often the answer for when cats scratch at furniture. Unfortunately, declawing is actually 10 separate amputations of the last bone and nail in each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle, warns the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
“Having run anesthesia on declaw procedures, I can tell you it is an awkward and disheartening feeling to keep something alive while it is mutilated in front of you,” said Kirsten Butler, a veterinary technician in Denver, during the Denver City Council hearing.
These procedures risk long-term lameness and behavioral problems, including making it less likely for a cat to use the litter box or more likely to bite. Declawing also can cause lasting physical problems for your cat. Side effects of declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.
Most veterinarians in Denver already refuse to perform the declawing surgery, CBS Denver reports, but still, having a law instated will send a clear message that hurting cats is not tolerated in Denver.
Denver’s progressive new law marks the first city outside of California to enforce a declawing ban. Currently, declawing is banned in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Culver City, West Hollywood, and Burbank. While the U.S. as a whole still lags behind, many countries have banned declawing, including: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand!
For those of us who love cats enough to have one (or more) in your home, please love them for what they truly are – claws and all. No animal should be made to suffer just to make our lives easier. If you (or someone you know) lives with a cat that scratches furniture, check out this One Green Planet article and please opt for humane solutions.
And be sure to share this happy news out of Denver with all of your feline-loving friends!
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