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New Jersey Wants to Make Declawing Illegal

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Contrary to popular belief, declawing is not a simple procedure that removes your cat’s nails: it’s far, far more sinister than your everyday manicure. To make it easier to understand, a human equivalent of declawing a cat is the same as cutting of each of your fingers at the last knuckle. That’s because onychectomy (medical term for the declawing procedure) is the process of amputating the last bone of each toe on a cat’s paw, by using a scalpel, laser, or a specialized guillotine. Another method called flexor tendonectomy involves severing the tendons in the kitty’s paw to prevent them from extending her claws.

As if the horrific details of the act weren’t enough to make lawmakers consider banning declawing, the devastating truth is that declawing is entirely unnecessary in most of the cases it’s done. Pet owners are either not informed enough about the reality of such a procedure, or value convenience above their cat’s wellbeing; in both cases the kitty in question ends up needlessly suffering. And not only that- declawing can cause a myriad of health issues, from tissue necrosis and lasting nerve damage to lameness and chronic back pain.

All of these facts moved New Jersey officials to propose a bill that would make declawing an illegal practice. Of course, in cases where there is a medical indication that onychectomy is needed, vets are allowed to make an exception. It’s the amputation out of convenience that’s bothering everyone. After all, with patience, work and a great cat scratching post, everything is possible.

Some people argue that banning declawing, which is apparently a popular procedure (between 19 and 46 percent of all US cats are without their claws) would mean fewer adoptions. But if a potential adopter values their furniture or hardwood floors more than the happiness of the kitty they want to adopt, maybe they shouldn’t get to adopt them in the first place.


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