This letter to the editor was published in the Delaware Online on March 24, 2022.

Delaware must ban declawing

The Delaware General Assembly has the opportunity to take a humane step forward for the cats in the state by passing a bill, HB 333, that would outlaw declawing, a cruel and painful procedure that can cause lifelong harm to cats.

Declawing is a needless, inhumane surgery on cats. It is painful and stressful, and its harmful long-term effects are so disruptive that cats can end up being relinquished to shelters.

Declawing is not as simple as trimming your nails. It is a surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes as many as 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.

Thanks to leadership from Alley Cat Allies, the Paw Project and many other animal protection groups, declawing has already been outlawed in New York state and 13 major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Pittsburgh, plus many countries. Delaware can take its place at the forefront of this movement by becoming one of the first states to outlaw this inhumane procedure.

Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, Bethesda, Maryland