So I did that thing today where I go on Netflix and add a movie to my list, which gives me another list of movies, and then another list, and then I saw something that caught my eye.
If you love cats and feel like crying for about an hour, you can find the film that I did and watch The Paw Project, a documentary about the fight to ban declawing in cats.
One of my pretty kitties came to me already declawed. I adopted her when she was 6. An overlooked cat in the shelter, Jasmine was often hiding under blankets and sitting in the safe confines of her litter box. No one wanted to adopt a cat that didn’t seem friendly or sociable.
As a volunteer at the animal shelter, my job was to socialize the cats and help them live better lives while in the shelter. I started spending most of my time working with Jasmine, and found her to be a delightful, sweet girl who was starved for some love.
And so, eventually, I became attached to her, and took her home.
Jasmine is a sweet cat who startles very easily, and who spent a lot of our first year together hiding under the bed. I cannot pick her up, because she runs like a cheetah and is terrified of what I might do to her, even though she snuggles with me at every other chance she gets.
Luckily for me, my declawed baby does not bite, and she does not have litter box issues. But her emotional damage is undeniable to anyone who meets her.
I have met plenty of other declawed cats at the animal shelter, too. A lot of them were surrendered for being aggressive. If you watch the documentary, or read anything about declawing, you can probably guess why these declawed cats were suddenly unfriendly and turned to biting and hissing. Despite that, I still worked to give those sad cats the love and attention that they needed.
So perhaps I’m biased. I am, really. I just don’t see how anyone could think that it’s ok to forcibly remove part of a cat’s paw. Then, the cat is in pain from having surgery. Then, the paws hurt for the entire healing process, and some cats don’t want to use their paws, so they stop using their litter boxes. Some cats become aggressive from fear and pain, and start to bite, or hide.
Someone interviewed for the film said something to the effect of “People take the rights of their couches over the rights of their animals” and that makes me so very sad.
My other cat wears very fashionable Soft Paws/Claws so that she is free to be herself, while protecting our furniture, carpets, and Jasmine (who is, need I remind you, defenseless).
Millions of people have trained their cats to use scratchers, instead of walls and armchairs. Why else do so many affordable, and even fashion-friendly scratchers exist?
The only time you should ever declaw a cat is if the cat has a tumor or uncontrollable injury that involved that part of the paw.
To people who think declawing is the only way to keep a cat, the only way to prevent the cat from stopping scratching, I ask: Do you abandon a baby if he wets the bed and ruins the mattress? By the same logic, you should protect the mattress and disown the child, not the other way around. If you have a child who colors on the walls, you don’t remove his arms to save the wall, do you?
Hug your pets and love them and go play with them! They are part of our families!