As New York Assemblywoman Moves To Ban Declawing, Vets Scratch back

| Published on January 15, 2015

Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D) has introduced the nation’s first legislation to ban cat declawing, except for when necessary for tumor removal or other medical reasons.

“It’s like taking off your first knuckle,” Rosenthal told NY Daily News. “(Cats) are born with claws and they are meant to have claws. It’s cruel to remove them for the sake of human convenience and saving your furniture.”

Cats ruining carpet and furniture with their claws in one the main reasons many end up at shelters. Image source: @TobiasKlupfel via Flickr
Cats ruining carpet and furniture with their claws in one the main reasons many end up at shelters. Image source: @TobiasKlupfel via Flickr

The bill is backed by the Humane Society of New York and the Paw Project, whose main mission is to ban declawing.

On their website, the Paw Project explains why declawing is inhumane:

“Many people, including animal lovers, do not realize that declawing is a surgical procedure in which the animal’s toes are amputated at the last joint. A portion of the bone, not just the nail, is removed. Declawing may result in permanent lameness, arthritis, and other long-term complications. The practice, although common in the United States, is actually illegal in many countries. Great Britain’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons goes so far as to declare declawing ‘unnecessary mutilation.’” (

What the Opponents Say

Vets are voicing their displeasure of the bill, which has not been introduced in the state Senate yet.

Chris Brockett, immediate past president of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, told NY Daily News that declawing should be an option (not a first one, but still an option) to cat owners.

“You are taking away a decision that should be made between an owner and the medical professional,” he continued.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has an entire page on their site dedicated to this controversial topic. In it, they say that while they do not condone declawing as a first option for cat owners, they also do not support banning the practice.

Comments from the general public are mixed – but many feel that if the option to declaw is not there, a lot more cats may end up in shelters or abandon because owners won’t put it up with scratching.


So what are the alternatives to declawing?

Cat owners can work on behavior modification to trainer their cat to not scratch on their furniture (or themselves). This works best with a certified animal behaviorist or trainer.

Another option are claw caps, such as Soft Claws, that encase the claws in a soft rubber, so they can’t do damage when they claw. These are applied every 3-4 weeks.

Image source:
Image source:

What do you think? Should we ban declawing?


About the Author

Based in Wilsonville, Ore., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She is the founder of A Fairytail House. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles. She is also owned by two rescue kitties, Roxy and Sassy.