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Honolulu Lite

CHARLES MEMMINGER

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


Feline fracas is latest
in war on terror


Those wacky, wascally wesidents of West Hollywood, Calif., are changing their focus from the battle to disarm Saddam Hussein to the battle to disarm something equally terrorizing -- the common house cat.

There apparently have been reports that some West Hollywood residents have begun unilateral preemptive strikes against their cats, having the creatures declawed at local veterinary hospitals.

This has led to a call by some city council representatives for a United Nations-type resolution barring vets in that city from disarming cats on the grounds that it is cruel, species-discriminatory and "really uncool." They say there also is no proof that the cats actually are armed.

Pro-declawing supporters, however, say they have evidence -- including aerial photographs of several couches and sofas -- showing severe scratch damage done by cats. They claim that while cats keep their claws retracted, hidden actually in fur-camouflaged paw bunkers, the weapons can be quickly deployed and used against unwary Americans.

Anti-declawing protesters accuse the declawers of animal imperialism and point out that America declaws cats 98 percent more often than other countries. The "pro" side counters that other countries EAT 98 percent of their cats.

The West Hollywood anti-declawing movement surprisingly does not have the support of Berkeley City Council, which is in a snit because it didn't think of it first.

WEST HOLLYWOOD -- referred to by its residents as "WeHo," NOT as "We Hoes" as some late night talk show hosts have suggested -- has been in a running battle for years with Berkeley for the title of "The City That is the Most Out of its Freakin' Mind." Berkeley tried to ban coffee made from nonorganic beans and wanted anyone wearing fur inside the city limits to be beaten to death with "Save the Raccoon" PETA posters.

WeHo passed a measure changing the legal definition of "pet owners" to "pet guardians" in what many viewed as a step toward eventually giving dogs, cats, hamsters and gerbils full rights of citizenship, including inter-species marriage and a seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The WeHo cat pro-declawing forces likely will demand that the U.N. send in a team of inspectors to prove that cats are armed with weapons of facial destruction.

They are worried, however, that inspectors will be barred from sensitive sites where armed cats are thought to be hidden, like the back rooms of charming WeHo boutiques and the West Hollywood Intergalactic Alien Welcoming Center and Organic Tofu Temple of Worship.

The anti-declawing group believes that dog lovers actually are behind the declawing of cats. They say their opponents want cats not just declawed, but depawed and eventually de-everythinged until there are no cats in WeHo at all.




Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com





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