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Is Declawing Cats Illegal In The US

cat scratching her bed

Cats are adorable pets and loved by everyone. Sometimes some behaviors that may seem strange to us are natural for cats. One such behavior is scratching and grooming. You may think that your cat is harming themselves with their claws while scratching. However, the reality is that it is innate for them to scratch, and they do not hurt themselves.

Unable to recognize the behavior as innate, many people declaw their pets to save them from harming themselves. With rising animal rights bills, declawing cats is being abandoned and condoned in many states and cities across the country. Various cities are passing laws that prohibit the declawing of cats in the United States.

California was the first to ban declawing cats in 2003. New York became the first state to make declawing illegal. 

Why is Declawing being Banned?

cat scratching carpet

Declawing cats is extremely painful, and your pet may need up to 20 amputations. 

In the past, it was thought to be helpful to declaw their pets. Over time, people understood that it does not provide any benefit rather imparts temporary or permanent pain to these little fellows for life.

Declawing is not like trimming the cat’s nails; instead, it can be painful for your pet to go through this procedure. You can consider declawing as breaking your finger at the last knuckle. Doing such prevents the animals from growing nails provides a permanent solution. Yet, it is not the right practice.

What are the Effects of Declawing on your Pet’s Body?

  • As declawing affects the bones of your cat’s paws, they may have long-lasting orthopedic issues and permanent pain.
  • The gait gets disturbed due to the surgery and might leave a lifetime effect on your fur baby’s back.
  • If the procedure is not carried out vigilantly, your pet may experience bone fragments that make walking more challenging.

Which States and Cities in the US have Banned Beclawing Cats?

The banning of this practice in different states and cities of the US is seen as a good sign for animal rights. Till now, many cities have banned declawing in the US, including

  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Burbank
  • Beverly Hills
  • Culver City
  • West Hollywood
  • Berkeley
  • Denver
  • Austin
  • Pittsburgh
  • Madison
  • City of St. Louis and St. Louis County 
  • New York State

Is Declawing Banned at all?

The above-mentioned states have banned declawing unless there is a medical condition that requires declawing of the animal with proper care. You may need to declaw the cat on the vet’s recommendation if they have an infection or tumor in the nail bed or any other underlying medical condition asks for the procedure. 

Some vets also say they have declawed cats in inevitable cases, such as a cat living with an immunocompromised person who may get an infection due to the cat’s scratching. However, these cases are rare and considered under critical circumstances only where there is no other choice.

Is Declawing Illegal in other parts of the World? 

cat scratching sofa

You might be surprised to know that around 20% to25% of cats in the US were declawed previously, which is much more than in other countries. But, the number of cats living inside houses in the USA is also higher than UK, Europe, and other parts of the world as Americans usually live in high-rise buildings, and leaving the cats out is not a suitable choice.

As more people prefer keeping cats indoors, they prefer getting them declawed to save themselves and their pets from any trouble. Curious cats with claws also tend to damage furniture and scratch people – major factors contributing to the declawing of pets. 

However, declawing is illegal in many countries, including

  • England
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Wales
  • Israel
  • Canada (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Labrador.

Many animal rights organizations are making efforts to ban clawing in all states of the United States and other regions of the world.

The Bottom Line

Declawing is illegal in different cities across the US, including New York passing the law as a State. It is a painful procedure that leaves long-lasting behavioral and physical effects on your pet’s body. However, the pet should not be deprived of declawing as a treatment for a disease.

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