There are two Draconian procedures still commonly performed on dogs and cats: debarking and declawing. However, according to a new Petside-AP poll, 90% of pet owners are against debarking, while only 41% of pet owners are against declawing. So why is it okay to mutilate cats but not dogs?
I live next door to two little yappy dogs who can bark non-stop for 12 straight hours. Yet, despite the fact that I detest their barking (and they often get all the rest of the neighborhood dogs barking, too), I can’t conceive of any situation in which de-vocalizing a dog is okay.
Same with declawing (feline digital amputation), only more so. While debarking might be done to placate angry neighbors, the decision to declaw a cat is a wholly self-serving: you want to protect your “stuff.” If you are so attached to your possessions that you require that a cat be mutilated before she comes to live with you, then you should not own a cat. Declawed cats often develop litterbox issues (the Number 1 [pun intended] reason cats are surrendered to shelters.)
In both cases, training can usually triumph, obviating the need for surgery. New cat owners might not understand a cat’s need to scratch, but once they learn how to provide adequate alternatives and deterrents for the cat, they’ll be surprised how quickly the cat will leave furniture, carpeting, drapes and the rest alone. (Check out The Cat’s Meow’s Guide to Saving Your Furniture).
But why are we so much more protective of dogs than cats? Is it the man’s-best-friend thing, or a perception that cats are evil predatores and need to be rendered incapable of harming us if they wish to live with us?
What’s your theory?