NAHS adopts out 31 adult cats in January
By Angie wood www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org February 4, 2013 3:12PM
Angie Wood submitted photo 2009
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:20AM
The new year is off to a good start for the adult cats at Naperville Area Humane Society. Thirty-one of our fabulous felines found a new home in the first month. That is more than double January of last year.
New families are enjoying all the fun and laughter a new cat brings to their lives. Cats love to play, jump, pounce and, yes, scratch. No one seems to mind a cats’ quirky behavior, except when it comes to scratching.
Asking a cat never to scratch is like asking a cat not to act like a cat. It is a hard-wired activity that they must perform to remove worn out nails, exercise, express excitement and relieve stress. It’s not so much that they scratch, but where they scratch that seems to be the biggest concern among cat owners.
In true human fashion, declawing has become “an easy fix.” However, it is far from a benign and simple operation.
Most people think declawing is just a step above a nail trim. Declawing should be called what it really is: de-toeing. It is an amputation surgery involving the removal of the last digit of the toes, including the claws, bones, ligaments and tendons. Imagine removing the tips of your fingers. Obviously, this would be very painful and life changing. Many of your day-to-day activities would become impossible.
Even if the surgery is a “success” without complications of nerve damage or hemorrhaging, permanent physical and psychological damage is likely to occur. Cats have experienced depression, aggression and litter box issues because of this surgery.
According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 33 percent of cats suffer at least one behavioral problem after this surgery. Even phantom pain can be experienced long after the initial pain of the amputation. The seriousness of the surgery and complications has lead many countries, such as Australia, the UK and many European countries to make the procedure illegal.
The good news is that cat owners do have options to spare their cat from this painful ordeal and save their furniture at the same time. Providing your cat with vertical scratching posts and encouraging the cats to use them through positive reinforcement (for example, catnip or treats) along with nail clippings every two weeks or so can eliminate the problem all together. The Naperville Area Humane Society has a Behavior Helpline to help you with training and provides free lifetime nail clipping to all our alumni cats. And if that fails, there are products on the market such as Soft Paws. These vinyl nail tips save your furniture, the cat’s claws, and they even come in stylish colors!
So let’s celebrate our feline friends in all their glory! Let them pounce, stretch, climb and scratch! We should accept our furry friends with what they were born with, and remember a scratching cat is a happy cat!
Angie Wood is executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society, a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1979 to develop and implement animal welfare programs and services within Naperville and surrounding communities. Contact her at 630-420-8989 or visit www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org.