Published in the Exponent Telegraph (WV) on March 12, 2017.

We applaud Delegate Rodney Pyles for taking the first step to prohibit veterinarians from declawing cats, which is a painful and unnecessary procedure.

Too often, people who aren’t informed about declawing believe it’s a simple surgery to stop their cats from scratching, but it’s not as easy as trimming your fingernails.

Declawing is a surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes, similar to cutting the finger off at the last knuckle if performed on a human being.

It can mean as many as 20 amputations for a cat. In addition to the mutilation of their toes, the bones are cut off and 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.

It’s an inhumane and needless surgery that brings pain and stress to cats, and it can have harmful long-term effects on their well-being.

There are humane solutions to cat scratching that do not involve declawing, including nail trimming, scratching posts, claw caps and deterrents.

It’s often overlooked that declawing is a big source of income for veterinary offices. Those who still declaw cats can charge as much as $900 for two paws.

Declawing is not in a cat’s best interest and mostly benefits the bank accounts of veterinarians who still perform this harmful procedure.

Declawing is already outlawed in eight cities in California and many countries, including Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom. We encourage the state of West Virginia to do the same.

Becky Robinson
Alley Cat Allies
Bethesda, Maryland