The declawing of cats has been a controversial topic for many years now. Many activists feel that declawing domestic housecats is an archaic and downright cruel practice. It would seem that Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York agrees. On July 22nd, he signed a bill that made New York the first state in America to officially ban the practice of declawing cats. The new bill will leave veterinarians facing a $1,000 fine if they’re caught performing the procedure.
Supporters of the bill believe that the practice of declawing is not only unnecessary but inhumane. Still, some in the veterinary business argue that there are certain situations where the procedure is justified. For example, elderly people who have cats could be subject to risky infections if they get scratched. As such, many of these people end up dumping their animals off at shelters.
In most cases, owners have their cats declawed to protect their furniture and family members from scratches. Animal rights organizations argue that the practice is extremely painful for cats and can lead to other medical complications like chronic bleeding and infection.
A few cities in California started the process of banning declawing several years ago. In 2017, Denver became the first non-California city to ban the procedure. New York is the only entity to go all-in at the state level, but activists are hoping that other states soon follow suit.
The subject of cat declawing has been a surprisingly hot topic for several years now. Cities on both U.S. seaboards have passed bills that ban the procedure and lay on some pretty hefty fines, both of which are supported by activist groups. At the same time, many cat owners and a handful of vets in those same cities have spoken up, saying that the decision to declaw should be a personal one between the owner and their pet’s vet.
There’s also an argument that by banning the practice of declawing, it could lead to an increase in euthanizing pets that scratch. Most of the organizations that make that argument feel that other behavioral modifications should be attempted before resorting to declawing.
For now, the New York law offers just one loophole for declawing. Cats may only be declawed if there is a threat to the animal’s health by way of injury or infection.