Letter to the editor: State should make declawing cats illegal


It has come to my attention that the good people of Sumter and surrounding cities in South Carolina are still continuing the barbaric practice of declawing cats, a very harmful and unnecessary procedure.

"Declawing" is not an accurate term. It is an amputation of the cat's toes up to the last knuckle. It's extremely painful for the animal. Cats have been known to show pain for months, even the rest of their lives, after the surgery.

Declawing also takes away a cat's first line of defense. These cats have to be kept indoors and will never be able to defend themselves and thus survive if let out. According to animal behaviorists, they are more likely to bite than cats that have their claws. Almost 80% of cat bites become infected and can lead to hospitalization versus cat scratches alone. Though, scratching people should never be reason to declaw kitty.

Declawing also has been shown to cause issues with cats' bodily functions, and behavioral issues can arise. For example, scratching litter boxes becomes painful, and to the animal, that box is now associated with "hurt," "bad" and "pain."

These problems post-surgery have led to surrenders to already crowded shelters.

Declawing is illegal in over 40 countries. The state of New York has passed into law making declawing cats illegal. A few other states have followed suit. South Carolina should follow, as currently I have knowledge of only three veterinary clinics in the state that refuse to declaw, knowing the damage and pain it causes.

There are more humane ways to combat cat scratches. Cats should be trained to keep claws to themselves by introducing scratching posts. Nails can also be trimmed, and there are vinyl caps that can be put onto the cat's nails.