Janet Gordon Palm
WARNING. A RANT IS ABOUT TO ENSUE.
A CALL TO ACTION TO MY VETERINARY COLLEAGUES.
STOP! Just stop.
Today I am simultaneously elated, and deflated.
I am elated that New Jersey just passed an anti-declawing bill through the first committee meeting. Soon, they will be on the right side of history on this issue. The enlightened Veterinarians and public will be following in the footsteps of Denver, British Columbia, and several California cities, not to mention 32 countries in banning multiple digit amputations.
I am ashamed and disappointed in many of my colleagues. How can a “Feline Friendly” or Fear Free” certification even be promoted in the same practice that allows declawing- for ANY reason. (An exception for medical reasons for the CAT’S benefit exists-such as in trauma or cancer)
Some Veterinarians I have questioned profess that they are adamant that they are against the government dictating their client-doctor decisions. FYI- The government would not be called on to create a ban, if veterinarians would take a committed stand against this inhumane procedure.
There is absolutely NO adequate reason to currently declaw a cat. Excuses that have been disproved include:
1) Human Health/Immunosuppressed reasons. The CDC does NOT condone declawing for human health reasons. Cats are more likely to bite, or become aggressive once declawed. A biting cat would be much worse than a scratch.
2) There will be more homeless cats.
Contrary to another popular myth, a recent study has shown that MORE cats are surrendered to rescues AFTER declawing, due to the behavioral changes that have now been documented.
3) Landlords require declawing. Landlords that previously demanded renters have all cats declawed to “protect their structures” will now allow a letter written in the cats defense by the veterinarian. When they become educated that more cats urinate outside of the box once declawed, they acquiesce.
U.K. veterinarians that have come to the U.S. report that they’ve not seen so many cat behavioral problems until practicing in the US, and they are all declawed. (It is illegal in Europe).
I don’t like to point blame. I would rather educate so as Maya Angelou was quoted as saying: “Once we know better, do better” The public requires education so they will know enough not to request this. I challenge those veterinarians that are too set in their antiquated ways to evolve, to THINK through what long term “phantom” pain complications an amputee actually endures, not to mention having to walk on each of the stubs-forever.
Those cats that seemingly compensate and show no signs to an owner, have no comparison to what life would have been like fully equipped to comfortably stretch, run and turn on a dime, in lightening speed.
I am not trying to be arrogant I promise. I am ashamed and saddened to admit that I too had performed this procedure in the past, as a last resort, thinking I was helping to keep cats in the home. We now know that they are actually better off being given up, as they have a better chance of thriving.
This long and hard fought challenge to educate to inspire, motivate and touch people to make the right decisions for cats, turned into today’s rant, as it was fueled today by this poor baby. Goldie was surrendered to the Roice Hurst Humane Society when his owner passed away. He is 12 years old, declawed with many of the pads cut away, and lesions on his feet indicating possible pathology internally. He is obviously obese, since he adopted a sedentary lifestyle years ago to compensate.
I was called to see if there is anything we can do to help him find a home. He is so grumpy that adoption is not likely for him unless we can determine the source of pain and see if managing that will turn him back into the sweetheart he showed himself to be with me today.
The plan is to laser him today with my Erchonia non-heat producing Class 2 Laser, get him on Gabapentin for pain, take him to a local clinic tomorrow to get x-rays on his feet and blood tests.
I appreciate the veterinarian working with me on this (I don’t have her permission yet to disclose their information) as well as Jodi Summers from Roice Hurst. Will keep you posted.
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