11-Yr-Old Kaylee Johnson has gained legions of fans since her recent appearance on “Little Big Shots,” when famous a cappella group Pentatonix joined her in singing a rousing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
But what many fans don’t realize is that the little girl was diagnosed at an early age with mild autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to her teachers, Kaylee rarely spoke, much less sang, until just recently.
But that all changed last year, not long before she shot to viral fame with a Christmas-themed remake of “Hallelujah” with her choir at Killard House Special School in Northern Ireland.
With the year’s passing of beloved musician and composer Leonard Cohen, it only seems fitting that his timeless song “Hallelujah” should be going viral once again.
At the Killard House School’s choir concert in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, young Kaylee Rodgers sang a stunning version of Cohen’s most classic tune with modified lyrics. Kaylee’s voice is soaring and rich, but it’s her story that is perhaps most uplifting.
Kaylee happens to have autism and ADHD, and because she was so shy at school, she had a hard time participating in class.
The principal of Killard House, Colin Millar, explains that she
“wouldn’t really read out in class … so to stand and perform in front of an audience is amazing …
It takes a lot of effort on Kaylee’s part.”
Kaylee’s music teacher, Lloyd Scates, played a large role in helping her find the confidence to sing.
Her mother divulged that “she always loved singing, but it wasn’t until she started at Killard House School that she really came into her own. Mr. Scates is like her safety blanket – he’s amazing.”
Watch the video below to witness Kaylee’s touching transformation.
The lyrics of this modified version were written by contemporary Christian rock band Cloverton.
I have had cats all my life. I know how painful the scratches from those claws can be. I know how destructive they can be on furniture, clothes and any object that would serve as a scratching post. However, never once did I consider the practice of “declawing” even though I didn’t know what it entailed.
For some reason, I never considered that option. I was talking to an animal activist about the dear cat that I have now. She really really pesky and gets into plenty of trouble. Hence the name: Double Trouble.
The kids call her “Kitty“.
However, now that I’ve researched, I know that this would be something I wouldn’t do to any cat.
“DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT…. keep your hands of the mittens of your kittens.”
Onychectomy, popularly known as declawing, is an operation to surgically remove an animal’s claws by means of the amputation of all or part of the distal phalanges, or end bones, of the animal’s toes. Because the claw develops from germinal tissue within the third phalanx, amputation of the bone is necessary to fully remove the claw. The terms “onychectomy” (origin: Greek ὄνυξ onycho, nail + ἐκτομή ektome, excision) and “declawing” imply mere claw removal, but a more appropriate description would be phalangectomy, excision of toe bone.
Although common in North America,declawing is considered an act of animal cruelty in many countries (see “Declawing practices” below).
A lot of people take the idea of declawing their cat too lightly. Many do not understand what declawing is, thinking that it is some form of simply clipping the cat’s claws.
Too frequently, vets and clinic staff deliberately misinform and mislead clients into believing that declawing removes only the claws in the hopes that clients are left with the impression that the procedure is a “minor” surgery that doesn’t involve amputation of the end of the toe, ligaments and tendons.
In fact, this is a mutilating surgery that is banned in some countries due to its abusive and inhumane nature. These countries include, but are not limited to England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
~~8 Reasons Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cats~~
Many people falsely assume that declawing is just like trimming your nails or getting a manicure. In reality, it is a painful and permanently crippling procedure.
The following are eight reasons why you should never declaw your feline friend
Cats scratch to exercise and enjoy themselves, maintain the condition of their nails, and stretch their muscles.
While we hope that your cat remains safely indoors at all times, if he or she were ever to get outside without claws, your cat would be far more vulnerable to predators and abusers.
Many people think that declawed cats are safer around babies, but in fact, the lack of claws makes many cats feel so insecure that they tend to bite more often as a means of self-protection.
Cats are in pain when they awake from the surgery, and the pain continues afterward. Nails can grow back inside the paw, causing extreme pain that you can’t see.
Without claws, even house-trained cats might start “doing their business” outside the litter-box in an attempt to mark their territory.
Our toes are crucial to our balance, and it’s no different for cats! Because of impaired balance after the procedure, declawed cats have to relearn how to walk, much as a person would after losing his or her toes.
Nearly two dozen countries — including Australia, England, and Japan — ban or severely restrict declawing surgeries. And many veterinarians in the United States refuse to perform the procedure.
~~What You Can Do Instead~~
Trim your cat’s nails regularly. When the cat is relaxed and unafraid, gently press on his or her toes until the claws extend. Use a pair of nail clippers, and cut only the tip of the nail, taking care not to damage the vein, or “quick.” The nail hook is what tears upholstery, so removing it virtually eliminates the potential for damage. Buy multiple scratching posts. Ideally, you should have two or more scratching posts in your home. Make sure that they’re sturdy and tall enough to allow your cat to stretch (3 feet or taller). Soft, fluffy carpeted posts won’t fulfill your cat’s clawing needs, so look for rougher posts. Teach your cat where to scratch and where not to scratch. Encourage your cat to use the scratching posts by sprinkling catnip on the posts once a week. Discourage your cat from scratching furniture by using a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratch—cats don’t like loud noises! Never use physical force. Instead, you might try using a squirt gun full of lukewarm water directed at your cat’s back.
Laws and policies governing onychectomy vary around the world. For example, many European countries prohibit or significantly restrict the practice, as do Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Turkey. It is banned in at least 22 countries. The list below gives an overview of the situation in different parts of the world.
In Australia, declawing has never been common, and for all practical purpose, does not exist. Nationwide legislation was recently enacted that prohibits the declawing of cats except for medical need of the cat. The Australian Veterinary Association’s policy states: “Surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal is acceptable only if it is necessary for the health and welfare of the animal concerned. Performance of any surgical procedure for other than legitimate medical reasons is unacceptable.”
In Brazil, declawing is not allowed by the Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine. 
In Israel, the Knesset Education Committee voted unanimously to send a bill banning the declawing of cats not for medical reasons. The bill has passed second and third readings on November 28, 2011, effectively making declawing a criminal offense with penalty of 1 year in prison or a fine of 75,000 Shekels.
In Austria, the Federal Act on the Protection of Animals, in Section 7, states, surgical procedures “carried out for other than therapeutic or diagnostic purposes…are prohibited, in particular…declawing.”[
In the United Kingdom, declawing was outlawed by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which explicitly prohibited “interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of the animal, otherwise than for the purposes of its medical treatment.” Even before the 2006 Act, however, declawing was extremely uncommon, to the extent that most people had never seen a declawed cat. The procedure was considered cruel by almost all British vets, who refused to perform it except on medical grounds. The Guide to Professional Conduct of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons stated that declawing was “only acceptable where, in the opinion of the veterinary surgeon, injury to the animal is likely to occur during normal activity. It is not acceptable if carried out for the convenience of the owner … the removal of claws, particularly those which are weight bearing, to preclude damage to furnishings is not acceptable.”
Declawing is legal in most U.S. jurisdictions. It is estimated that 25% of owned cats in the United States are declawed (Patronek 2001).
~~Declawing: Jackson Galaxy Just Says No!~~
~~Published on Jan 6, 2014~~
Is declawing bad for cats? You bet it is! Jackson Galaxy sets the record straight in today’s episode of Cat Mojo.
Welcome to Cat Mojo! Each week Jackson will share his thoughts on everything from cat-related issues like declawing and squirt gun diplomacy to his craziest behind the scene stories as a cat behaviorist. Come join the feline frenzy, feel the mojo, share your love of cats and delve deep into the mind of Jackson Galaxy. We are all #TeamCatMojo!