To the Editor:
March 3 is "If Pets Had Thumbs Day," and one thing is certain: If cats had thumbs, they'd be pointing them down at people who put their cats through the lifelong trauma of declawing.
Declawing is a painful mutilation that involves severing not just a cat's nails, but whole phalanges (up to the first joint), including bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Depriving cats of these necessary and important body parts can cause personality changes (some cats become depressed, withdrawn, fearful, or refuse to use their litter boxes), difficulty balancing and walking, and chronic back and joint pain as the cat's shoulder, leg, and back muscles weaken.
Cats may not have thumbs, but they deserve to keep all the digits they were born with. Claws, couches, and curtains can coexist peacefully if you trim the tips off cats' claws weekly, provide plenty of scratching posts, and cover furniture with contact paper or another slippery material temporarily, if needed.
To learn more about how to save your cat's claws and your furniture, check out 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You by Ingrid Newkirk (available on Amazon.com) and visit www.PETA.org.
The PETA Foundation