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Forced declawing is illegal

Recently a reader wrote in distraught over one of the conditions in her new rental agreement at the Dorado Plaza Apartments. She claimed that although she was allowed to have a cat in her apartment, the cat would have to be declawed – an idea that horrified her.

Apparently the management does not realize that they are breaking California State law by insisting that any cat living in one of their apartments must be declawed.

In September 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that prohibits landlords from requiring that renters' cats be declawed or that dogs be debarked as a condition of occupancy.

Prior to the passing of this law, the California communities of Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and West Hollywood banned declawing, recognizing that the practice is cruel and inhumane.

These communities join the ranks of nearly two dozen countries - including England, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Turkey - that have prohibited or severely restricted veterinarians from performing the painful, permanently crippling, and mutilating procedure. Israel is so serious about it that declawing a cat can result in a fine of 75,000 shekels -- more than $20,000.

Throughout the United States, many compassionate veterinarians refuse to declaw cats, even in areas where the procedure is legal, because declawing is cruel and of no benefit to cats—and it violates veterinarians' oath to "do no harm."

Declawing is no manicure

When a cat is declawed, it isn’t just the claw itself that is removed; the tops of their toes are amputated, akin to cutting off the tips of the human finger at the first joint. This involves cutting the bone at the first knuckle and cutting tendons and nerves.

The surgery itself is extremely painful as is the recovery. Also, the surgery can be botched leaving the cat permanently lame and in chronic pain. After a botched surgery, the nails can grow back inside the paw, causing extreme pain to the cat unbeknownst to the owner.

Long term side effects of declawing

  • Because of impaired balance caused by the procedure, declawed cats have to relearn how to walk.
  • Declawing results in a gradual weakening of leg, shoulder, and back muscles.
  • Pain and tenderness can lead to the cat avoiding using the litter box because the litter hurts the tips of their amputated toes.
  • Declawed cats might become morose, reclusive, withdrawn, irritable, aggressive, and unpredictable.
  • Declawed cats may feel more vulnerable and may tend to bite as a means of self-protection.

Don’t sign that rental agreement

If a landlord tries to insist that you sign a rental agreement that stipulates that you may only have a cat in the rental unit if it is declawed, let them know they are breaking the law.

Inform them that violators of this anti-cruelty law risk facing a $1,000 fine.

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