Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson sent the following letter in support of Massachusetts SB 222, An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing. If this critical bill passes, Massachusetts would become the second state in the nation, behind only New York, to ban the traumatic practice of declawing to protect the wellbeing of cats and kittens.

If you live in Massachusetts, please tell your state senator and representative to vote yes on SB 222 and prohibit cat declawing statewide. You can take action here.

July 9, 2021

Sen. Susan L. Moran, Chair
Rep. Tackey Chan, Chair
Sen. Paul R. Feeney, Vice-Chair
Rep. Mary S. Keefe, Vice-Chair
Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
State Rooms 506 & 42
24 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Sen. Moran, Rep. Chan, Sen. Feeney, Rep. Keefe and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of Alley Cat Allies and our more than 30,000 supporters in Massachusetts, I urge you to support SB 222, An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing. If enacted into law, SB 222 would prohibit declawing, also known as onychectomy, a painful procedure which involves the surgical amputation of the last joints of an animals’ toes.

Alley Cat Allies is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. We are reaching out to you because SB 222 will significantly benefit the health and wellbeing of cats in the commonwealth.

Cats rely on their paws, including their nails, or claws, for behavioral and grooming needs. Their claws help them to protect and defend themselves, and scratching removes dead nail sheaths and stretches and strengthens their muscles. Unfortunately, many people think declawing is a harmless “solution” to address unwanted scratching behavior and will result in more cats staying in their homes. However, declawing is a predominantly elective surgery that can be traumatic and cause permanent damage and pain for cats.

Declawing a cat is both psychologically and physically harmful. Side effects from declawing can include hemorrhaging, paw pad lacerations, swelling, radial nerve damage, lameness, infections, and chronic pain. Cats who suffer from these side effects may develop behavioral issues, such as aggression, biting, and urinating outside the litter box. These consequences of declawing are the behavior issues that cause most cats to be relinquished to animal shelters. Instead of declawing cats, there are many simple, affordable and humane answers available to actually solve scratching behavior, like scratching posts, spray deterrents, and nail caps.

Leaders in veterinary medicine hold positions against declawing since it is usually done for the preference or convenience of the cat owner rather than for the health of the cat. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has ended elective declawing procedures in its “Cat Friendly Practices®.” Major national veterinary chains Banfield, VCA and BluePearl Pet Hospitals have prohibited cat declawing in their 2,000+ hospitals. Other organizations that oppose declawing include the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend declawing for immunocompromised cat owners.

Laws and policies to ban declawing have been adopted worldwide. Policymakers in New York state, 11 major U.S. cities, seven Canadian provinces, and at least 42 countries have passed legislation and national veterinary policies to make declawing cats and other animals illegal. This year, Massachusetts joins seven other states in the consideration of bills to ban declawing statewide. The case is clear: declawing is cruel for cats and counterproductive for humans.

On behalf of our supporters, your constituents, and animals in Massachusetts, we urge you to support SB 222 and keep cats’ claws on their paws.


Becky Robinson
President and Founder
Alley Cat Allies