Right now, Alley Cat Allies is advocating for a lifesaving cat declawing ban in Illinois and urging Illinois residents to join us and protect their cats from this cruel, traumatic procedure. The bill, HB 1533, is under heavy and unfounded opposition, and we need every voice possible to ensure it passes. The welfare of Illinois’ cats depends on it.
Declawing bans have already been enacted in New York, Maryland, and multiple cities in the United States, as well as across Canada and many other countries. More and more states are considering their own bans as the people learn the truth: Declawing is not a nail trim, but more like a “deknuckling.” The surgery involves amputation of the last joints of a cat’s toes—as many as 18 amputations altogether. Bones, tendons, nerves and ligaments in each paw are all severed.
Often the only redress for these maimed cats is aggressive lifelong pain management or surgery to salvage the mutilated paw as much as possible. But the damage done by declawing can never be totally repaired. The only way to protect cats is to outlaw the procedure altogether, as Illinois lawmakers can do by passing HB 1533, currently before the legislature.
Though some express concern that declawing bans could lead to fewer cats being adopted or more cats losing their homes, the truth is cats who are declawed are MORE likely to lose their homes. This is because behavioral concerns such as biting, aggression, and refusal to use the litter box are directly linked to the pain of declawing and the loss of cats’ natural protection anatomy. These issues are the primary reason cats are relinquished to animal shelters.
The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association claims a declawing ban threatens the veterinary profession. Preventing suffering and unnecessary surgeries is not a real threat to the profession, but instead reinforces the veterinarian’s oath to relieve animal suffering. That’s why many veterinarians across the country support laws to end declawing, and many of the largest veterinary hospital chains like Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl have enacted their own bans on declawing.
Declawing has no place in a humane future for our nation’s cats and kittens. Alley Cat Allies will continue to fight until declawing is banned in every state.