New York State May Be First to Outlaw Declawing of All Cats

Your cat could be forced to hold onto his claws.

January 15, 2015, 12:56 PM
PHOTO: New York could be the first state to ban declawing of all types of cats.
New York could be the first state to ban declawing of all types of cats.
Getty Images

— -- New York could be the first state to issue a statewide ban on declawing of domestic, exotic and wild cats.

The law is being pushed by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who's an advocate fighting against the mistreatment of animals.

"This is just the next step in my agenda," Rosenthal says. "People do a lot of cruel and inhumane things to animals and I've passed a number of laws for protecting them. There' s practically no good reason to declaw a cat. It's really a horrific thing to do to an animal and that’s why I want it outlawed."

The bill, which was issued this month, is supported by The Paw Project, a nonprofit educating the public on the effects of declawing animals.

"It's not a fancy manicure," says Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian in Santa Monica, California, and the founder of the Paw Project. "Declawing is actually an amputation of bones in the cats' paws. So really, the last bone in a cat's toe is amputated."

For both Rosenthal and Conrad, the fight against outlawing the surgical procedure goes deeper than just preventing unnecessary pain for felines.

"Cats have their claws for a reason," Rosenthal told ABC News. "They kneed with them, they express themselves, and they were born with them. There's too many being procedures being performed and it’s basically to satisfy the whim of the owners.”

Despite the controversy, however, there are “some situations in which declawing may be considered, such as when a cat’s excessive or inappropriate scratching behavior causes risk of injury to immunocompromised people or remains destructive despite conscientious attention to behavioral modification and alternatives,” according to American Veterinary Medical Association.

The association emphasizes that the amputation is “not medically necessary for the cat in most cases,” and the decision “should be made by the owners in consultation with their veterinarian.”

There are eight cities in California that have outlawed declawing wild, exotic, and domesticated cats.

If it's approved, New York could be the first state to ban declawing all types of felines.

Rosenthal says she hopes the law will be passed this year.

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