We’re starting the new year with some news about one of our biggest priorities in humane legislation for cats. Policies against cat declawing continue to arise in the United States and Canada, a movement that recognizes the procedure for what it is: a cruel amputation that can cause lifelong harm.
In 2021, we can build on these new developments and finally leave declawing in the dark past where it belongs. Here is what you need to know.
AAFP Finally Ends Declawing in Cat Friendly Practices
In a long overdue step to amend a glaring inconsistency in its values, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), comprised of 4,000+ veterinary professional members, announced that its “Cat Friendly Practices®” must stop declawing cats in order to remain certified.
Over 1,500 veterinary practices are certified “Cat Friendly,” which involves completing a program to adopt stress-reducing in-clinic techniques for cats. Yet up until now, those same practices have been given free rein to continue declawing, despite an apparent commitment to cats’ physical and mental wellbeing.
The two just don’t add up.
Neither does the time it took to make this move. The AAFP has stated it “strongly opposes” declawing since 2017 and acknowledged its “inherent risks and complications.” But only recently has this position reached its respected “Cat Friendly” certification course. And though new applicants must confirm that they don’t perform “elective declawing procedures,” existing “Cat Friendly Practices” can continue to declaw up until July 21, 2021 under the new rules.
Many questions hang in the air, but flawed as it is, the AAFP decision is an important one which speaks loud and clear: You cannot declaw and be a friend to cats. This undeniable truth is echoed by the declaw position statements of major animal organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the ASPCA.
Declaw Ban on the Table in Ontario
In the new year, we can make keeping cats’ claws on their paws the law of the land in even more communities. Ontario, Canada, is considering a bill to “update Ontario’s animal welfare laws to ban the practice of declawing cats, unless deemed necessary by a veterinarian.”
In passing the bill, known as Teddy’s Law, Ontario would join seven out of 10 Canadian provinces, the State of New York and 10 major U.S. cities, and countries around the world in outlawing declaw surgery (minus the rare instances where it is medically necessary) in its veterinary practices.
The sponsor of Teddy’s Law has created a petition calling on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to pass this critical legislation.
Declaw Bans Up for Consideration in the United States
Canada isn’t the only country with an opportunity to take big steps forward for cats in the new year. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have had declaw ban bills requested or introduced. Similar bills are being considered in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and likely soon in Nevada. Multiple more states may join them.
Talk about a lot of exciting motion in the wave of change against declawing in the United States! And not only can you play a part, your voice is the engine that keeps this movement running full steam ahead.
Stay tuned—Alley Cat Allies will keep you in the know about ways you can support legislation to outlaw declawing. Again, the power of your voice cannot be overstated. After compassionate people like you spoke out, New York became the first state in the to pass a cat declawing ban into law in 2019.
The Tide is Turning Against Cat Declawing
We’re in the middle of an about-face away from the decades-long acceptance of declawing in far too many communities. No longer can the amputation of a cats’ toes be portrayed as a mild, routine veterinary procedure. And it’s all because Alley Cat Allies, The Paw Project, likeminded advocates, and people like you are working to bring the truth to light.
Already, more than half of U.S. veterinary schools have cut onychectomy from their core curriculums. Thousands of veterinarians in the U.S. and Canada refuse to declaw. Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl Pet Hospitals, major veterinary chains with locations throughout the country, all recently outlawed cat declawing in their collective 2000+ hospitals.
It’s high time we ended declawing everywhere, for good. In 2021, Alley Cat Allies continues to fight to protect cats by banning declaw surgeries wherever they remain legal and in practice. Please join us.