The following letter by Becky Robinson was given in response to legislation being considered by the Nevada Assembly Committee on Natural Resources on a bill to ban Declawing. To learn more about the issue, visit Keep Cats’ Claws on Their Paws campaign.
March 26, 2021
Assembly Member Howard Watts, Chairman
Assembly Committee on Natural Resources
401 S. Carson St., #3158
Carson City, NV 89701
Dear Chairman Watts and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of Alley Cat Allies and our over 9,200 supporters in Nevada, I urge you to support A.B. 209, Cat Declawing. If enacted into law, A.B. 209 would prohibit declawing, also known as onychectomy, a painful procedure which involves the surgical amputation of the last joints of an animals’ toes.
Alley Cat Allies is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. We are reaching out to you because A.B. 209 will significantly benefit the health and wellbeing of cats in your state.
Cats rely on their paws, including their nails, or claws, for behavioral and grooming needs. Their claws help them to protect and defend themselves, and scratching removes dead nail sheaths and stretches and strengthens their muscles. Unfortunately, many people think declawing is a harmless solution to address unwanted scratching behavior and will result in more cats staying in their homes. However, declawing is a predominantly elective surgery that can be traumatic and cause permanent damage and pain for cats.
Declawing a cat is both psychologically and physically harmful. Side effects from declawing can include hemorrhaging, paw pad lacerations, swelling, radial nerve damage, lameness, infections, and chronic pain. Cats who suffer from these side effects may develop behavioral issues, such as aggression, biting, and urinating outside the litter box. These consequences of declawing are the behavior issues that cause most cats to be relinquished to animal shelters. Instead of declawing cats, there are many affordable humane alternatives available to address scratching behavior, like scratching posts, spray deterrents, and nail caps.
Leaders in veterinary medicine hold positions against declawing since it is usually done for the preference or convenience of the cat owner rather than for the health of the cat. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has ended elective declawing procedures in its “Cat Friendly Practices®.” Major national veterinary chains Banfield, VCA and BluePearl Pet Hospitals have prohibited cat declawing in their 2,000+ hospitals. Other organizations that oppose declawing include the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend declawing for immunocompromised cat owners.
Laws and policies to ban declawing have been adopted worldwide. Policymakers in New York state, 11 major U.S. cities, seven Canadian provinces, and at least 42 countries have passed legislation and national veterinary policies to make declawing cats and other animals illegal. This year, Nevada joins six other states in the consideration of bills to ban declawing statewide. The case is clear: declawing is unacceptable.
On behalf of our supporters, your constituents, and Nevada’s animals, we urge you to support A.B. 209 and keep cats’ claws on their paws.
President & Founder, Alley Cat Allies