Ethics/Welfare , News

Poll: Should the U.S. Ban Cat Declawing?

Patricia Wuest Editorial Director, NAVC

Poll: Should the U.S. Ban Cat Declawing?
In a first for the United States, New York State lawmakers banned declawing of cats. Photo: Shutterstock.com
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After New York State banned declawing of cats, we asked our Facebook fans if they agreed or disagreed.

New York has banned declawing procedures for cats.

Posted by Today's Veterinary Practice on Saturday, September 21, 2019


Four hundred veterinary professionals responded, with 94% supporting the legislation and 6% opposed to it.

Those who are opposed to a ban on declawing cats say that more cats will be surrendered to shelters by owners who are concerned about a cat’s scratching behavior. One respondent said: “I’m afraid that more cats will be euthanized because of scratching.”

A UK vet (where declawing is prohibited) asked: “Are there actually people who try to argue from an ethical standpoint for declawing? I’m a UK vet, just interested to hear.” One fan replied with a simple, “Oh, yes.”

One respondent also wondered if research supports the argument that declawing causes behavioral and physical problems: “I would like to see objective numbers of shelter or rescue-surrendered cats with and without claws. If the mantra is correct that declawed cats have more behavioral issues (litterbox avoidance being the biggest complaint) and pain problems, the shelter population should reflect that. I have yet to see the numbers spelled out so obviously. I have inherited a 4-paw declaw who is 15 and still moves with ease and have a 14-year-old that I raised with claws who is still very agile, and a 13-year-old with claws who struggles to jump because she is shaped like a football.”

The New York Legislation

In a first for the United States, New York State lawmakers banned declawing of cats.

“Declaw surgery, also known as onychectomy, is not simply the removal of the animal’s nails or claws; it involves at least 10 separate amputations of the last bone of each toe,” says the American Humane Society.

Several U.S. cities ban cat declawing except for therapeutic reasons, and so do a majority of Canadian provinces. The practice is also banned in dozens of countries. After New York banned the procedure, will other states follow?

“Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple, and with so many low-cost and pain-free alternatives available, there is no reason to allow this barbaric practice to continue, not here in New York or anywhere,” declared Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. She advocated for the anti-declawing bill for five years before it was signed into law. New York has been catapulted onto the leaderboard of humane states, and we expect other states to quickly follow in our footsteps.”

Learn More

Please act when you see signs of animal abuse or neglect. Visit the Animal Ethics and Welfare section of our website.

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