Bill To Ban Declawing Of Cats Is Scratching Its Way Through New York

Cat lovers are hoping a bill banning declawing will scratch its way through New York's state legislature.

Siamese pussycat
credit: TranceDrumer/iStock/GettyImages

But proponents are facing opposition from veterinarians who insist declawing needs to remain legal.

Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

"It is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to the cat," according to the Humane Society.

Kitten's paw
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"It's the amputation of a cat's toes to protect a couch," Jennifer Conrad, a California veterinarian, told the Associated Press. "None of us went to school to protect couches."

Conrad is the founder of the Paw Project, one of several groups advocating for the ban in New York. She and several other veterinarians — along with two outspoken activist kitties, Rubio the Spokescat and Buzz the Fuzz — pressed lawmakers in Albany, New York to pass the proposed legislation.

The controversial bill is opposed by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society who argues that declawing must be available as a final option; otherwise shelters will see an increase in owner-surrendered cats and euthanasia.

"For individuals with children, the elderly with certain conditions or those who cannot cope with the behavioral issues of their beloved pet, we fear they will turn them over to a shelter service," Jennifer Mauer, the organization's executive director, said in a statement.

A similar bill passed in New Jersey recently, and Los Angeles currently has a declawing ban in effect.