(MOVIE REVIEW/ACTIVISM) The Paw Project, a non-profit organization working to ban cat declawing, has released their first documentary on Netflix.

The film addresses the abusive reality of declawing cats and explores the cruel emotional and physical consequences of this common procedure.

The Paw Project is a new documentary exploring the harms of declawing your cat. Photo credit: catster.com
The Paw Project is a documentary that explores the harms of declawing your cat. Photo credit: catster.com

The documentary follows Jennifer Conrad, founder of The Paw Project and an in-home vet, as she repairs the feet of declawed cats and spearheads a campaign to ban declawing at the government level.

Although it is outlawed in over twenty countries worldwide, declawing is considered a normative surgery within the United states. It is condoned by the majority of vets and accepted by cat guardians for lack of better knowledge of what the procedure entails.

Unlike human nails which grow from the skin, feline nails are embedded within the third phalange and in order to remove the claw, veterinarians must amputate the entire third bone of the toe. This is equivalent to axing the human finger at the third knuckle.

Jennifer Conrad of The Paw Project. Photo Credit: The Paw Project
Jennifer Conrad of The Paw Project. Photo Credit: The Paw Project

It is not only painful due to the amputation, but cats can contract infection from ingrown claws which can cause puss to spread into the bloodstream and affect their organs.

In removing the animals’ primary defense mechanism, the procedure also causes alternative methods of self-protection which can lead to aggressive outbursts and biting. These behaviors cause more admittances into shelters than do accidental scratches, making the procedure an indirect cause of increased shelter population in felines.

The documentary follows The Paw Project’s influence in the decisions of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and West Hollywood to outlaw the practice. The organization hopes the documentary will spawn a national movement and pressure more governments and vets to stop the procedure.

In a press release for the film, Dr. Conrad said:

“We hope that the film serves to illustrate the truth about declawing. Many people don’t know what the surgery entails and this is a case where a picture is worth a thousand words.” 

To help make the safe decision against declawing your cat and for more information in becoming a part of the movement, watch The Paw Project preview here.

— Dori Edwards, exclusive to Global Animal