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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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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