Sunday, 10 May 2009

Not unlike foot binding

When I first got myself steamed up about the number of cats being de-toed in the USA I had recently read a novel set in China in the days of foot binding of the daughters of upper class families. The process of breaking the toes and folding them under the foot and by applying the bindings tighter and tighter over a number of years so that eventually the foot folded right back under itself and the resulting fold being more attractive the deeper it was made me think about the whole ridiculous business of some people having the sort of power over other people or animals that they can perform excruciatingly painful procedures on them and justify their actions to themselves. So using the "golden lilies" as my subject I asked the question on Y/A, was it not a similar thing to declaw a cat as to bind the feet of a Chinese girl child. Needless to say I was shot down in flames and even ridiculed for making the comparison but hey...I got the link to the petition on and got some signatures so what did I care?

But there are similarities nevertheless. Bone from the broken toes of the girls could break through the skin of the foot in the same way that bone from the shattered remains of a cat's toe can break through the remaining skin of the paw. The initial breaking and folding back of the bones in the toes of the girl child could be botched by a mother who couldn't bear to put her daughter through the excruciating pain, just the same as the cutting or lasering through bone, tendon and ligament of toes of cats can be botched, not by vets who don't want to cause pain but by vets who do this operation routinely and quickly and regard it as almost an assembly line procedure, part of a package offered with neutering and in the bank.

Those wounded feet/paws in girls and cats can, did and do result in gangrenous infections and the loss of feet/paws - and lives. In the case of the Chinese girls lucky enough not to succumb to any infection they had to spend many hours each day for the rest of their lives caring for their mutilated feet, unwrapping the bindings, washing the feet, cleaning the deep fold and the remains of their toes and then rebinding the feet. This is similar to the attention that should be given to the mutilated paws of declawed cats, they should be examined daily and kept clean because even years after declawing pieces of bone can work to the surface (in the same way that pieces of tooth long extracted can work to the surface of the gum) .

Finally, having been bound the girls had to learn to walk in a new way on their "golden lilies" over very short distances, with short steps, picking their way very slowly, avoiding stepping on anything that would cause pain. Similarly declawed cats have to adapt and learn to walk in a different way, using different muscles and a different way of balancing their weight. Owners say they manage just fine...but what choice have they? Cats don't have access to wheelchairs or palanquins (covered litter for a person carried on poles, formerly used in India and the East) as used by the Chinese girls.

Foot binding is history now, why isn't declawing history too?

Cats have their lives to live whatever that life and whatever their owner chooses to inflict on them and being the brave creatures they are they hide their pain and distress and get on with it.

But that doesn't make it right does it?

Here is the petition calling for a ban on declawing of cats in the USA


  1. Another brilliant write up Babz and very true.I think it's a very fair comparison, the golden lilies and declawed cats.Both mutilations uneccesary and cruel and crippling !

  2. ai.. agree on the unnecessary , cruel and crippling!

    enjoy visiting your blog, Babz..have a blessed day!

  3. I'm glad Ruth pointed me to this post, it's excellent. Man's history of barbarity and mutilation has to be stopped across every species it touches.

    Claws out.