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Should declawing cats be illegal? Maryland to join New York in banning the practice.
Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash

States are passing legislation making cat declawing illegal.

Anyone who has had cats knows they can do a number on your furniture. Even if you get a scratching post for them, they may prefer to claw your chair backs or sofa arms. Even if you make liberal use of a spray bottle to shoo them away from things you don't want them to scratch, they may throw a huge claw-sharpening party in your living room while you're asleep.

They are soft and gorgeous, but they have razors on their feet. That's just how cats are.

Some people try to circumvent this reality by having their pet cats declawed. By surgically removing a cat's claws, pet owners remove the problem of furniture clawing. But they also remove a major part of a cat's anatomy, which can cause lifelong problems for our feline friends.

In fact, the practice is so potentially detrimental that states are beginning to make laws banning it.


In 2019, New York became the first state to ban onychectomy—the technical term for cat declawing—in most instances. The only exceptions are if the amputation procedure is being done to treat a cat's medical condition, such as infection or injury. Veterinarians who declaw a cat for any other reason face a $1,000 fine.

Now Maryland has joined New York, with its own legislation prohibiting the practice passing in both the state house and senate. According to the Associated Press, the bill stipulates that vets who declaw cats for any reason other than "therapeutic purposes" would face a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 for a second offense, as well as possibly having their license suspended or revoked.

"Declawing is a horrendously painful and disfiguring surgery," Senator Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) said, according to WUSA 9 News. "It is positively inhuman and conducted solely for the benefit of the owner. It has no benefit for the cat, in fact, quite the opposite."

As the Humane Society of the United States points out, declawing a cat isn't the cat equivalent of a human manicure, like many people believe it is. It's the equivalent of cutting off our fingers at our last knuckle, removing our fingernails entirely. Imagine how much more uncomfortable and limiting our lives would be without our fingertips, not to mention the painful recovery from such a surgery. That's similar to how declawing impacts cats.

"Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain," writes the Humane Society. "Removing claws changes the way a cat's foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs."

Declawing cats may also create challenges for them while using the litter box and may lead a cat to bite more than they normally would as well.

While the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discourages the practice of cat declawing and animal rights activists have pushed for it to be banned, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society was a vocal critic of New York's ban. The organization, which is the largest veterinarian organization in New York, said that declawing should be allowed if an owner finds themselves with no alternative other than abandonment or euthanasia.

Animal rights activists, however, have celebrated the legislation as a victory for cats, who rely on their claws as essential body parts. When we know better, we do better, and knowing how declawing cats negatively impacts their quality of life makes it a practice that should only be done if it's medically necessary for the cat not for the convenience of the human charged with their care.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

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