Outlaw the declawing of any animal worldwide. Most of the world does not declaw and for good reason. In practically every country where cats are companion animals, declawing is illegal or effectively banned. It is still common in the U.S. and Canada, why?
Declawing is a major operation. The "patient" is first put under general anesthesia, as the pain would be torturous without it. A tourniquet is placed around the first paw to be declawed. The veterinarian then performs a series of ten amputations. Each amputation removes the claw and the bone into which it is firmly rooted. The supporting tendon and ligament for each claw are severed. The surrounding soft tissue and flesh is cut off. A veterinary technician bandages up the paws to soak up the blood. The animal is now declawed. The retractable claws that would have been used throughout their life for scratching, playing, walking, and self-defense lie in a heap on the table, waiting to get thrown out with the trash. The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of the cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain. . . . [Declawing] serves as model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. This clearly removes any doubt of the excruciating pain involved. Even though analgesic drugs can be used postoperatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.
The paws bear the full weight of the cat. Cats stand and walk on the entire paw. When the end of the paw is amputated, as it is during a declawing operation, the cat has to modify her stance accordingly. Being forced to walk unnaturally can put a strain on the paws and cause long-term pain. The pain may build up gradually, and may be aggravated if the cat is overweight. A cat can't tell you directly that her paws ache. You'll find that out when she starts avoiding the litter box.
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