This letter to the editor was published in the Baltimore Sun on March 18, 2022.
Maryland has the opportunity to take a humane step forward for the cats in our state by outlawing declawing, a cruel and painful procedure that can cause lifelong harm to cats. Our state should approve the declawing ban currently under consideration by the General Assembly.
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 toesas 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.
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 including Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom. Maryland can take its place at the forefront of this movement by becoming the second state to outlaw this inhumane procedure.
President and Founder
Alley Cat Allies
7920 Norfolk Ave. Suite 600
Bethesda, Md., 20814