The days when people casually decide to have their cats declawed and vets comply are slowly reaching an end. Animal welfare groups have been at the forefront of educating the public about the true nature of declawing as a serious, painful procedure that can cause cats long lasting distress. Then major veterinary associations eventually joined the campaign. The American Association of Feline Practitioners and California Veterinary Medical Association are two important policy makers that strictly oppose declawing.
Unfortunately, despite all of our collective protestation and widely available information about declawing, state legislation to outlaw the practice has been underwhelming. Since New York set an encouraging example in 2019 by becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban declawing completely, a number of bills have been introduced in other states to do the same, but none of the bills have passed. In fact, many of those bills either died on the floor or have been in limbo for years due to inaction.
This has been the outcome of bills to ban declawing in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, and West Virginia. Even in California, where declawing has been banned in the city of West Hollywood since 2003 and in many other cities since, a 2019 ban failed to pass. Let’s hope that the New Jersey bill that is currently going through the legislative process will succeed.
On the bright side, more and more individual cities are adopting declawing bans. Outside of California, which as stated is the leader in city-level bans, Denver, St. Louis, and Austin have outlawed declawing while Madison, WI and Pittsburgh, PA are taking promising steps similar legislation.
If an anti-declawing bill is in motion in your city, county, or state, tell your representative to support it. They must hear from their constituents, clearly and often, so that they know this is not a matter to be swept under the rug!
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.