Beverly Hills, home to generations of movie stars and other rich people, has declared war on songbirds. It may be part of a broader conspiracy. San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Los Angeles have piled on.
Woe betide anyone Beverly Hills or those other California towns who dares declaw a cat! All those places have just passed city ordinances outlawing the declawing of cats.
From what I’ve read about the fearsome debate in California, which apparently revolves around a political dispute between local communities and the state veterinarian association, not one word has been raised in defense of song birds, the leading victims of those claws.
That’s not fair. If you are at risk of death from a cat’s claws, shouldn’t you at least get your own spokesman? I realize it’s Hollywood, so maybe the birds aren’t entitled to a lawyer, but surely a publicist at least? Or somebody from PETA? (Well, maybe not PETA. I see that the president of PETA now demands that we call fish “sea kitties,” so I suspect that PETA may have a bias in favor of cats and a prejudice against birds, the largest population of wild animals on earth.)
We’ve written before about the songbird death rate caused by both pet and feral cats. Let us hasten to add that, of all the options available to ease that slaughter, declawing your pet cats should be a last resort. Far better to keep your cat indoors — with a scratching post — where coyotes, owls, cars, dogs, and other cat predators can’t get at them. Indoor cats live longer, healthier, warmer, and happier lives. Here are some other ideas.
And why doesn’t someone invent a way to simply cover cat claws with some kind of padding? Ballet dancers have them for their toes.
The downside of criminalizing cat declawing is that people who want to keep their cats indoors may decide that protecting their nice furniture — and we assume the denizens of Beverly Hills have very nice furniture — from the claws of their pets is more important than keeping the cat indoors. Being law abiding citizens they will then condemn their pets to an outdoor life and their pets will set about killing wild birds.
Of course, this may be nothing more than a ploy by those California communities to pander to the cat tourism industry. Big business, cat tourism. People are always driving half-way across the continent or flying half-way round the world just to get a fleeting glimpse of a stranger’s pet cat. Not at all like birders, who hardly ever go anywhere in search of birds. Cat tourists leave no stone unturned in the quest to see just one more pet cat.
But at least now we know the reason why, when you look at lists of the best places to go birding in the world, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are not on the list.