Friday, February 15, 2013

The Cruelties of Declawing

There are many of those prospective exotic cat "owners" who think that declawing their cat is an fast, easy, and harmless way to alleviate the fear of being injured by the animal. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

The procedure of declawing a big cat is anything but harmless - particularly to the cat. In declawing a cat, it is not a "nail" that is being removed. Instead, an entire bone is being broken away from the foot's structure, completely destroying the framework of the paw. Essentially, it is the equivalent of removing the end of a finger, from just below the first knuckle. It is a painful surgery, with a very painful recovery period, as the animals have no choice but to use their damaged paws following the process. Once the wounds have healed from the surgery, the terrible physical effects continue. Most often, big cats who have been declawed suffer from a gradual weakening of the muscles of the legs, shoulders, and back, impaired balance, altered posture, and abnormal walking ability (the declaw causes the cat to walk with its weight center over the read of its pads, whereas it would normally be centered closer to the front of the foot - effectively walking on its "heels" constantly).

All of these negative consequences of a declaw imply that the declaw surgery went WELL. Often times, the surgery is not perfect, and fragments of the bone that has been removed are left behind, moving around in the foot over time, which can be excruciatingly painful for the animal.

Another thought to consider is that while the sharp claws of a tiger (or other exotic cat) may be dangerous, they are not the most deadly body part. More often than not, it will be the piercing canines of one of these wild predators that will do the most damage and potential kill the "owner."

Here at IEAS, we see the consequences of exotic animal owners who selfishly declawed the big cats who were at one point in their care. We hope that by spreading the world about the harmful effects of declawing more people will understand why the procedure should be avoided at all costs (though, of course, there should be no need as these big cats should never be kept as pets). In the meantime, we will continue to provide soft ground/grass which is easier on feet and joints and supplement the diets of those animals who were declawed with chondroflex, which helps ease the joint pain that may result from the altered foot structure. 

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