Archive for the ‘big cats’ Tag

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)   6 comments

From:  onegreenplanet.org

March 11, 2015 by Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary

To declaw, or not to declaw … that is the question.

I remember walking into the shelter to adopt my very first pet. I had looked at rescue groups, ads in the paper and had visited several shelters looking for the right cat – the one looking for me.

When I saw her, I knew. She was not exotic looking, nor a fancy breed. But she was just as beautiful. She was a black little kitten with blues eyes, amongst a sea of other black kittens in her litter. When she approached the wire door and let out one “meow,” that was it! My feline family had begun and her name was Kaya.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

My Experience With Kaya

I had done everything to make sure we were a perfect match and that I could give her the best home possible. I researched cats and breeds. I looked into purchasing from a breeder or adopting from a shelter. I learned what costs would be involved in having a pet and I adapted my apartment to create a cat amusement park.

I know they say dogs are man’s best friend. But for me, it was Kaya. I couldn’t imagine life without her.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

It was our first visit to the vet for her to be spayed and being away from her for a day seemed unbearable. Upon check-in, the front desk asked if I would like her declawed, too? I was told this was a common practice and would even receive a discount for performing both surgeries at once. I wanted to be the best cat guardian, and if that was recommended by the vet, then that is what I was going to do.

Oh, how little I knew! Even after treating Kaya for several paw infections later, I still believed this was just part of having a cat as a member of the family. Over my life, I have declawed three cats, something I am not proud of at all. But, also something I am not ashamed to admit because I can educate others in hopes of changing the future.

Deciding to Declaw

It took being invited to see a surgery first hand when I realized this is not declawing at all. They were surgically removing the first digits of my cat’s toes with a surgical knife – it was an amputation! That was the last cat I ever declawed. Was this really necessary? I thought to myself. Why was I doing it: To make the cat safe? To protect my furniture? I didn’t have a clear answer except, that’s what pet guardians did.

How far I’ve come! I can’t judge others for something I’ve done, but I hope to offer more information so that people can make better decisions.

Big Cats Versus Small

The Wildcat Sanctuary is home to over 100 cat residents, exotic and domestic. Seventy percent of the cats come to us four-paw declawed and we see the devastating effects. People tend to agree that declawing big cats is cruel and causes permanent damage, but it can be difficult to convince them that declawing small cats can cause the same damage – even if your cat isn’t showing the signs.

We often have to say good-bye to cats earlier than we should due to debilitating arthritis and lameness. Pain medications only help for so long. But the cats who are genetically designed to bear weight on their toes are now putting all their weight on scar tissue and exposed bone. No pain medications or soft substrate can compensate for that.

Halifax, one of the servals in our care, had several surgeries to remove bone and claw fragments, well into his teens. The regrowth would cause abscesses that had to be surgically corrected.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

Even small cats like Bullet, a Bengal cat, have chronic issues. Bullet has had several radiographs on his feet. His toes have fused at a 90-degree angle because of his arthritis. His bone is right at the skin and he often shifts weight from foot to foot.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

The Paw Project

We are hoping that through education, pet guardians will stop, think and ask more questions before they make the decision to declaw. That is why we support the work of the Paw Project. They are educating thousands of people and trying to make a cultural shift on how America views declawing. We also know that we cannot change everyone’s mind so therefore, we encourage people who will only open their home to a declawed cat, to adopt one from a shelter versus putting another cat through this surgery.

We know this is a controversial topic and will ruffle some feathers. Whenever you try and make change, it often does. But, we hope it will start a conversation about what is best for our feline friends.

For those that love cats enough to have one (or more) in your home, please love them for what they truly are – claws and all. Even the best dogs will chew your shoes and put wear and tear on the house. Kids color on walls, break precious items while playing. Cats are not any different. They shouldn’t be penalized for doing what comes naturally. Instead, love their wild side and give them more options that are acceptable.

Your little tiger will be happy that you love her for ALL of her! I wish I had done that for Kaya.

In-text images courtesy of Tammy Thies

Lead image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Hundreds of animals seized in operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia   2 comments

From:  InterPol

Dec. 19, 2014

LYON, France – A five-month long INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests.

Involving 13 countries, Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins. Wildlife traders using the internet and social media in certain countries were also investigated.

Among the live animals recovered were tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, red pandas, lions and crocodiles in addition to 3,500 kg of elephant ivory, 280kg of pangolin scales, rhino horns and more than 4,000 kg of red sandalwood. A large number of turtles, tortoises and birds were also seized across a wide range of countries indicating a high demand for these species.

Designed and developed by the involved member countries as a collaborative law enforcement response to wildlife crime, Operation PAWS was coordinated by INTERPOL’s Environmental security unit as part of Project Predator, in addition to support from the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

Aimed at supporting and enhancing the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of Asian big cats, INTERPOL’s Project Predator is primarily funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

The 13 countries which participated in Operation PAWS which was conducted between July and November were Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. It was also supported by Australia, Canada and the USA.

Live tigers, leopards, bears, lions and crocodiles in addition to 3,500 kg of elephant ivory, 280kg of pangolin scales, tiger skins and rhino horns were seized during the five-month long Operation PAWS. © Indonesia

 

 

A five-month long INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests. © Vietnam

 

As well as tigers and other Asian big cats Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins. © Vietnam

 

Hundreds of animals were seized in an INTERPOL coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia. © Malaysia

 

 

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