Rhode Island is considering a statewide ban on declaw surgery—a traumatic procedure that can cause permanent harm to cats. Alley Cat Allies is mobilizing local supporters to speak out in favor of the bill and help protect cats in their state. 

The Rhode Island House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare will discuss House Bill 5073, which prohibits declawing, at its meeting on Wednesday, February 27. If the bill passes in the House committee, it will be the first step toward becoming a law that will safeguard the health and wellbeing of cats.   

Declawing is no nail trim. It is the surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes. Thprocedure can cause chronic pain and long-lasting trauma that could lead to behavioral issues. Cats rely on their claws to protect themselves and for grooming needsPost-surgery pain in their paws can cause catto avoid the litterbox. Without the natural protection of their claws, cats can also become more aggressive and are more likely to bite. These are among the most common reasons cats are relinquished to animal shelters. 

Cats are almost always declawed to prevent unwanted scratching behavior. But many safe, affordable and humane alternatives are widely available, including scratching posts, deterrent sprays, and vinyl nail caps. 

Rhode Island is one of several states, including West Virginia and New Jersey, considering declaw bans this year. To date, nine cities in the United States, four Canadian provinces, and at least 41 countries have outlawed declawing.    

If you live in Rhode Island, you can send a message to your legislators in support of HB 5073 or attend the meeting to speak in favor of the bill in person