As support to outlaw the cruel practice of declawing cats grows, Rhode Island is now considering its own declaw ban bill that would Keep Cats’ Claws on Their Paws throughout the state.

Alley Cat Allies is rallying citizens in Rhode Island to contact their House of Representatives in support of the bill, HB 5616. If the bill passes, Rhode Island will follow New York as the second state in the nation to end declawing, except in rare cases of medical necessity. It will also join 11 U.S. cities, the most recent being Austin, Texas, and countries around the world in banning the archaic surgery. It would be an important step to put the wellbeing of cats and kittens first.

If the bill passes in the House of Representatives, it will move to the state Senate in the next step toward becoming law.

Support for outlawing cat declawing continues to grow. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has ended elective declawing procedures in its “Cat Friendly Practices®.” Major veterinary chains Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl Pet Hospitals agreed to no longer declaw in their collective 2000+ hospitals. Declaw ban bills are being considered in multiple states and cities.

Now, Rhode Island has a chance to help lead the nation in this humane transformation by passing its own declaw ban.

Declawing, though once treated as a routine veterinary procedure in the U.S., is now widely recognized as unnecessary and for the permanent harm it can do to cats. Far from just a nail trim, declawing—known as onychectomy—is the surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes. The surgery is nearly always nontherapeutic, meaning it has no medical benefit to a cat.

Without their claws, cats can’t perform many of their natural behaviors. Without the natural protection their claws provide, cats often feel unsafe and anxious. The damage done to their paws can lead to balance and walking issues, on top of pain and discomfort that lasts long after the procedure and can even affect a cat for her entire life. The result is potentially permanent physical and mental harm.

Declawing has no place in a humane future, where we value cats as individuals worthy of protection and respect.

If you live in Rhode Island, please take a few minutes to urge your representatives to leave cat declawing in the past where it belongs.

For people outside of Rhode Island, keep watching our Action Center for updates. A declaw ban may come to your area soon!