Opinion Editorial – Cat Declawing

By: Ellayna Narkin

Declawing a cat is an intense, painful, and invasive surgical procedure. Not only is this surgery extremely unnecessary, but harbors many adverse effects for the cat. The surgery consists of removing the toes of cats, not just the nails. The last knuckle is removed in this terrible surgery. Unfortunately, declawing is still legal in the United States as a whole, but many cities have enforced a ban on this procedure. The city of Pittsburgh has passed legislation and agreed to ban declawing. Other cities that have banned this procedure are Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, and St. Louis. Declawing is also banned in the state of New York. The United States is behind in this ban, with many countries already enforcing it. Some countries with declawing bans are England, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

I personally have witnessed the adverse effects of declawing working in an animal hospital. Unnecessary surgeries come with great risks. A young kitten, approximately 6 months old was put under anesthesia for the declaw surgery. It wasn’t until after the surgery that an issue was discovered. When I arrived at my shift to tend to this kitten, I noticed he wasn’t waking up like he should have been. This was the first sign that something was wrong. My coworkers and I attempted to wake him up. When lifting him, he began to gain slight consciousness. He then began to shake. The veterinarian who performed this surgery examined him, unaware of what the issue was. It was later discovered that the kitten most likely had a neurological reaction to the anesthesia. A day or so later, this kitten was rushed to an emergency hospital due to its worsening condition. This is just one example of the possible effects of declawing. This doesn’t include the later issues, such as biting, failing to use the litter box, and other behavioral issues.

Not only is declawing painful and unnecessary, but it is illegal in many regions of the nation. Fortunately, more cities and states are beginning to enforce these bans. Declawing has been normalized in society up until recent years. This realization of the damage being done is a big step for veterinary medicine and pet owners. As more cities open their eyes, others around the world will hopefully do the same. 

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