Protect Cats from Declawing

Declawing has been treated as a routine veterinary procedure for decades. But declawing is becoming recognized more and more as unnecessary and inhumane. It has already been banned in many countries across the globe, where the practice is considered horrific from a cultural standpoint. In the United States, things are changing, too.

We’re a nation of animal lovers and our values and humane ethic are inspiring advocates nationwide to stand up for declawing bans. We can’t give cats who have suffered declawing their claws back but, together, we can make declawing a relic of the past.

Declawing is the surgical amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes, similar to cutting a person’s finger off at the last knuckle, closest to the fingertip. It can mean as many as 18 amputations for a cat. When the bones are cut, tendons, nerves, and ligaments in each paw are also severed, causing horrible pain. It is an elective surgery that causes permanent damage and is traumatic and stressful to cats.

We are working with veterinarians, shelters, and people like you who care about cats to stop declawing once and for all. Join us in working to educate others about declawing, support legislation banning declawing, and pledge to protect cats from this cruel practice.

Spread Education and Awareness

For too long, declawing has been treated as a routine veterinary procedure, even though it is an elective  and nontherapeutic surgery (meaning it has no medical benefit to the cat) that is largely performed to prevent scratching on furniture. There are plenty of humane and affordable alternatives that veterinarians can suggest to cat owners, including nail trimming, nail caps, spray deterrents, and providing scratching posts with catnip for extra appeal.

Thanks to growing education efforts, more and more people are beginning to understand how much harm declawing causes cats.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the International Society of Feline Medicine, and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association all oppose declawing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also does not recommend declawing.

Several major hospital groups, including Banfield, BluePearl, and VCA, have also banned declawing.

By continuing to educate and spread awareness about the facts of declawing, we can help protect cats and make declawing a procedure of the past.

Read Just the Facts: Declawing and share this resource to educate others.

Declawing is unnecessary and ineffective. Learn how to humanely address unwanted scratching.

Support Legislation Banning Declawing

At least 42 countries have made declawing illegal, including England, France, Wales, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, and Israel. In Canada, declawing is outlawed in nearly all providences.

In the United States, declawing is outlawed in Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, Missouri; Pittsburgh and Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Madison, Wisconsin. It is also outlawed in eight California cities: West Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Burbank. In 2019, New York became the first state in the United States to outlaw declawing. Maryland became the second in 2022. A declawing ban in the United States capital, Washington, D.C., went into effect in 2023. Starting July 1, 2024 pet owners in Virginia will no longer be able to get their cats declawed.

Over the past years, an increasing number of state bills in the United States have been introduced to ban declawing, indicating that jurisdictions nationwide are finally recognizing declawing as cruel and inhumane.

You have the power to protect cats in your community by supporting legislation to ban declawing. We have the tools to help! Alley Cat Allies has played a part in many of the landmark decisions to ban cat declawing, including the first ever statewide declawing bans enacted in New York, Maryland and Virginia. We are committed to informing and rallying compassionate advocates like you to take action in favor of declawing bans wherever they arise.

Check out our Action Center to see if there is a declawing ban currently up for consideration where you live.

Not sure if your community has a declawing ban? See how you can find laws that relate to cats, and learn how to advocate for humane laws and policies like declawing bans for cats in your community.


There’s something you can do right now: pledge that you will oppose declawing, educate others about the painful, cruel, and unnecessary practice of declawing cats, and speak out in favor of declawing bans in your community.

Sign the pledge and share to help protect cats and get the word out!