Santa Monica, California has passed their ordinance of banning declawing of cats this Tuesday after a vote by the City Council. The verdict was a 6-1 vote where only one councilman Richard Bloom opposed the idea.
San Francisco will soon follow suit if their legislation gets passed by January 1, 2010.
Bloom believes that while declawing should be discouraged, it is sometimes a necessary practice to prevent abandonment, relinquishment and even euthanization of cats. He is not the only one that dissents the ban. The entire California Veterinary Medical Association is also sided with Bloom. They state that de-clawing surgeries are often discouraged by the vets, but when they face cat owners that would choose euthanization if declawing is not an option, they believe declawing becomes necessary.
Here is what I think:
There are many things we as cat owners can do to prevent cats from scratching our favorite furniture, clothing or other things. Veterinarians should provide not only medical assistance but also advice on cats' behavioral problems and life style. But after all, declawing is not a shortcut to solutions. It will most likely create more problems in a cat for the benefits and convenience of humans.
Here are the questions you should ask yourselves before consider declawing:
1. Am I giving my cat enough attention (play time, bonding time, etc)?
2. Does my cat have a scratching post or several scratching pads and enough toys?
3. Is my cat bored and trying to find things (e.g. scratching your favorite furniture) to entertain himself?
4. Have I consulted an animal behaviorist or at least some friends or an expert on my cat's scratching problem?
5. Do I know why cats scratch? Am I aware that scratching is innate to cats and claws are important tools for cats to balance, mark territories, and perform various activities?
6. Do I know that declawing is the same as amputation for cats?
7. Do I know that cats can change their behavior and personality and even lose a large part of their survival skills after being declawed?
8. Did I consider cat's scratching behavior prior to getting a cat?
9. Have I tried any alternative things for my cats to scratch or considered caps for my cat's claws?
10. For those who consider euthanasia if declawing is not an option -> Why does a life become dispensable if your cat keeps his claws?
There are so many things a cat owner can do to redirect their cats from scratching the things they like. Applying aversion spray such as Bitter Apple can get your cat's claws off your favorite furniture. Putting some catnip in the scratching post will entice your cats to scratch it and have fun with it. Keeping your cats' nails short by trimming them regularly can prevent you from getting scratched. Do our vets talk to us about all these simple techniques?