Thursday, March 17, 2011

Helping the Animals in Japan

Oh NO! The Ultimate Humiliation! Person asked to borrow my blog so my *cringe* ...SISTER... can blog.

Rilly. Enough is enough. You'd think my retreat to the RB would have relieved me of the torment brought on by The Great Grey Menace…but now THIS???  I can see I'm going to have to put my paw down and tell @Allie_Kitti to Get Her OWN Blog!

Next time.

This time, because of the serious topic, I will – once again – graciously bow to Person’s request and allow “her” to stomp her Big Pink Paws all over my blog. (ONCE, mind you. Never again.)


*snif* Ryker? Gracious? HA! (And I don’t either stomp. *huff*)

Now where was I before Ryker so ruuuuudely introduced me? Oh…

HI!!!! *waves pink toenails at audience* Wow…my very first BLOG! And on my birthday too! *SQUEE!*

Well. Because I am a Very Responsible three-year-old girl now, when I heard the news about the horrible tragedy in Japan and how many poor animals are hurt, lost and without a home – I just HAD to do something! Everyone else is talking about donating, so I decided I’d send over my very favoritest pink mousie. (I gave it to Mommy last night)

:::: “Mom” here, taking over (I think the cats have had enough for one day). ::::

Actually, Allie did indeed give me her most favorite mousie toy last night. I heard the oddest, out-of-the-ordinary muffled meow from our grey girl. Upon investigation, it turns out she had come to present it to me as a gift. After much praise (after all, it’s traditional to receive gifts on one’s birthday, not give them), I felt her generous spirit should be both shared and encouraged. Especially at such a heartbreaking time as the one the world is facing in Japan.

Mere weeks after being rocked by the devastation that struck Christchurch, the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan have left us reeling with visions of devastation, tales of courage and loss, hope and heartbreak.

One thing is crystal clear – we cannot stand idly by and do nothing in the face of such tragedy. What can you do to help?

Today, Thursday, March 17, 2011 is Paws for Japan Day.

How can you help?

1. Grab the badge, using the following code: a href=”″ target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ alt=”Paws for Japan” src=””/></a><br />

2. Promote the Chip In tool where people can make a donation. Note: this is the legitimate Chip In widget where all funds donated go directly to World Vets.

2. Today, please post, tweet, or share on Facebook about the World Vets effort for animal relief in Japan. Be as creative as you wish in promoting the cause!

3. Check out the links below – add yours and get the code to add the linky tool to your own blog.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

WARNING: NOT for the Faint of Heart...

*sigh*  Well, she's at it again.

"Ryker, could I borrow your blog for tomorrow's Blog Hop?"

Puh-LEEZ. It would appear that some humans need to get their OWN blog *hint hint*. (Oh and speaking of blogging... let's chat, shall we, about the last time you provided transcription support for one of my very own insightfully clever posts, hmm?)

Of course, being the incredibly magnanimous, generous and kind-hearted soul that I am, how could I say no? Especially after I heard that she wanted to blog about - (sotto voce) - declawing.   *shudder*

Oh, one caveat: she can have my blog once she's given me time to retreat into a corner, slap my paws over my ears and yowl "LALALALAAAAA" at the top of my lungs so I won't hear any of it. Honestly. It makes my paws hurt just hearing the word "declaw!"

Here you go, Person - just give me a running start.

I wish you guys could have known Ryker in person when he was alive - truly, he was exactly the way he's portrayed, no need for embellishment on my part! All I had to do was channel the little guy's 'tude.

Why do I mention this? Because if I hadn't intervened, lots of people would not have been charmed by this guy's antics. See, his previous owner was advised by her vet to euthanize. So when I see a cat who's had the deck stacked against him like Ryker did, I just can't stay silent.

Just this past Wednesday I met such a cat. I have to warn you, I'll be posting some pics of this guy later on in this post and they're not pretty. So if you have a weak stomach for that kind of thing, just "read it for the articles and not the pictures" and I promise to leave the photos 'til the end!

This guy's name is Tigger and he's just about the sweetest 7 year old tabby cat you could ever wish to meet. He was brought in to the animal adoption agency where I volunteer, Wayside Waifs. (Let me tell you, that was probably the best thing that ever happened to this guy!)

Tigger is on the skin-and-bones side of things, having been brought in as a stray, but that's not the heartbreaking thing about him. You see, Tigger's been declawed.

Now, up until Wednesday night, I have to admit I was rather indifferent about the whole declaw issue. Ryker was declawed, and our new rescue, Maxwell is too. But Ryker's nemesis Allie isn't and neither is the "little Pipsqueak," Faraday. We just couldn't bring ourselves to do such a thing to these kitties! Instead, both wear Soft Paws claw covers.

If you're not familiar with Soft Paws, they're rubberized claw tips that, with the help of a bit of super glue, stick onto the tip of a cat's claw.  They need replacement each time a claw tip is shed - about once a month. 
(Out of curiosity, I tracked my replacement of Allie's Soft Paws, and they ran anywhere from 23 - 34 days. Of course, there were exceptions when she occasionally snagged something, but for the most part they ran a pretty steady month-long cycle.)
Allie loves her Soft Paws mani/pedi and shows them off for the camera at every opportunity - as you can see from the picture below.]

So I guess you could say I was a Declaw Agnostic - I didn't really give it much thought aside from the fact I knew I wasn't going to do it. Then into my life limps this marmalade boy. As I walked up to his kennel, Tigger stood to greet me - but he couldn't stand long. Shifting from one paw to the other, his need for affection outweighed his obvious discomfort.

The movement drew my attention to his paws and I was absolutely shocked to see the deformity. Instead of the normal shape of a cat's paw, what I saw better could be described as paddle-shaped. Not wanting to jump to conclusions and wanting to make sure my rant was an informed one, I inquired about the nature of Tigger's discomfort. Was it perhaps a birth defect? No, it was a declaw. Specifically a bad declaw.

According to the website "in England declawing is termed 'inhumane' and 'unnecessary mutilation.' ... In many European countries it is illegal."

The authors of the site go on to point out that "your cat's claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat's claw has to be removed. 
Removal of the last digits of the toes drastically alters the conformation of their feet and causes the feet to meet the ground at an unnatural angle that can cause back pain similar to that in humans caused by wearing improper shoes. ...Declawing is not a 'simple', single surgery but ten separate, painful amputations of the third phalanx up to the last joint of each toe."

I asked my vet about declawing and he said that while many veterinarians do their best to minimize the animal's suffering through more precise surgical or laser procedures, many practice what he called "the guillotine method." On behalf of sensitive stomachs everywhere, I won't describe this in detail other than to direct you to the bottom of this post where you'll be able to see such butchery for yourself. I don't use the word butchery lightly. I just don't honestly see how you could call it anything else.  

Organizations that actively oppose declawing include The Cat Fanciers Association, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States, and The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR). 

As a volunteer who works exclusively toward the adoption of cats, I've repeatedly observed what a veterinarian told me years ago about the ability cats have to mask pain and discomfort.  "Cats are notoriously good at hiding how bad they feel," he said. "Often this translates to a much sicker kitty than its owner thinks, because by the time your cat manifests symptoms, he's seriously ill."

It's an unfortunate truth and one I believe is a primary reason declawing is still practiced: if your cat isn't demonstrably showing any discomfort, it's easy to persuade oneself he's feeling no discomfort. 

After my exposure to Tigger's plight, I am a Declaw Agnostic no more.  I'm a believer: declawing is cruel, unnecessary and - without doubt - inhumane.

And for anyone living in or near Kansas City, won't you please consider giving Tigger a home? Isn't it time this 
sweet guy caught a break? He's suffered enough. All he needs is a warm lap to curl up on and I assure you he'll think he's in Kitty Nirvana. 


Tigger, 3/2/2011
      What a sweet boy! 
 Who could resist such a face?
He lives with constant discomfort.
The #1 reason I oppose declawing, right here:

View Tigger's video here  and you can read more about him (and see another great video) on Ryker's pal Sebastian's blog.