Banning Declawing Of Cats: New York State Fights To Ban ‘Inhumane’ Practice

New York is fighting to be the first state to ban the declawing of cats. Several vets declare the practice as inhumane and are urging the government to step in and do away with this procedure.

New York Daily News reports that the state is close to being the first state to ban the declawing of cats.

A group of veterinarians visited Albany on Tuesday, attesting to state officials about how the practice of declawing is inhumane and are advocating for change.

“Declawing is an inhumane and misguided procedure that subjects cats to unnecessary pain,” Eileen Jefferson, a veterinarian and member of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, testified.

A bill to ban cat declawing was proposed by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal in 2015, but remains in the committee. Supporters of this legislation hope it passes after veterinarians testified to the unnecessary pain cats endure from declawing. Pet owners often opt for declawing so cats don’t damage furniture, leave scratch marks, or harm children. A big argument regarding this is that claws are a cat’s main defense, and to strip them of that is inhumane in itself, beyond the pain they experience from being declawed in a vet’s office.

Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and New York State Veterinary Medical Society oppose the bill, stating it should be a last resort and that the decision on cat declawing should be left to the owner.

A memo snippet from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society was published in the Associated Press. It defends its opposition to the bill by stating that declawing cats is surgical procedure can often save an animal with destructive scratching behaviors from being euthanized.

“It is the veterinarian’s obligation to provide cat owners a complete education with regard to normal scratching behavior of cats, the procedure itself, and potential risks to the patient,” the society’s memo reads. “Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively.”

Conversely, the Humane Society of the United States and the Paw Project, a California-based group dedicated to stopping cat declawing, support Rosenthal’s bill.

Declawing of cats is a controversial procedure and supporters of the ban say destructive clawing is often remedied through nail clipping, nail caps, or scratching posts. On the flip side, vets lobbying for the legislation insist that declawing a cat may cause worse behavioral problems, such as issues with using a litterbox or biting. The veterinary society disputes these claims.

“In most cases declawing is performed as a convenience to the owner,” Rosenthal said. “I’ve heard so many times: ‘I have expensive furniture! I have nice drapes!’ If your standard is ‘I need pristine furniture,’ don’t get a cat.”

If Rosenthal’s legislation passes, the declawing of cats will be illegal in New York. The only exceptions that would allow the procedure to be carried out is if it necessitates the removal of a tumor or remedies other medical issues.

The declawing of cats involves cutting through bone, tendon, and nerves in order to amputate the first section of a cat’s toes. Several countries have banned the practice as cruel and inhumane. They include Australia, Britain and several European countries. The practice is also illegal in Los Angeles and other California cities.

[Photo Credit: Cats & Kittens Facebook]