This letter to the editor was submitted to Illinois newspapers on March 19, 2023.
As a global leader in the movement to protect and improve the lives of cats and kittens, Alley Cat Allies has helped many cats suffering from the unnecessary and cruel procedure known as declawing. It should be called deknuckling. Often the only redress for these maimed cats is aggressive lifetime pain management, or surgery to salvage the mutilated paw as much as possible. But the damage done by declawing can never be totally repaired. The only way to protect cats is to outlaw the procedure altogether, as Illinois lawmakers can do by passing HB 1533, currently before the legislature.
Declawing surgery is the needless, cruel, and inhumane surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes—as many as 18 amputations altogether. Bones, tendons, nerves and ligaments in each paw are all severed. Declawed cats are more likely to lose their homes for behavior reasons that are caused by the declawing itself.
The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association claims this bill threatens the veterinary profession. Preventing suffering and unnecessary surgeries is not a real threat to the profession, but instead reinforces the veterinarian’s oath to relieve animal suffering. That’s why many veterinarians across the country support laws to end declawing.
Director of Communications
Alley Cat Allies