Published in the Albany Times Union on May 29, 2017

New York has the opportunity to demonstrate that cat declawing, a painful and unnecessary procedure, has no place in a society that values the humane treatment of animals. It should approve the declawing ban currently under consideration by the state Legislature.

Declawing is not as simple as trimming your nails. It is a surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes — potentially 20 amputations altogether. Not only are the bones cut off, but tendons, nerves and ligaments in each paw are also severed. Side effects can include hemorrhaging, paw pad lacerations, swelling, radial nerve damage, lameness, infections, reopening of wounds, chronic pain, biting, and urinating outside the litter box.

Declawing is a needless, inhumane surgery on cats. It is painful and stressful, and can have harmful long-term effects.

Why do some veterinarian groups oppose this bill? Declawing can be very lucrative for veterinarians, who charge as much as $900 for two paws.

Eight cities in California and many countries, including Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom, have already outlawed declawing. New Jersey has also considered a declawing ban recently, and we’re hopeful that it will eventually be passed into law soon. But New York could be the first state, and because it is the right thing to do for cats, we urge the Legislature and the governor to move this bill into law.

Becky Robinson
President and founder, Alley Cat Allies
Bethesda, Md.