The topic of declawing cats is an extremely controversial one, with more people than not viewing it as a barbaric practice that should have been outlawed decades ago. While not everybody is up to speed with that mindset, the state of New York is now considering a ban on the procedure unless it is deemed medically necessary. With the animal’s best interest in mind, New York would be the first state to officially outlaw it.
Cat lovers in the Empire State are excited at the prospect, but the decision is not yet in the bag, as it were. First, opposition from vets must be overcome, as many of them feel it should remain a legal alternative in last resort cases. The gruesome practice involves surgically removing a cat’s toes down to the first knuckle. Some people seek the procedure for felines who claw incessantly, mostly with cats that remain indoors 24/7.
Currently, in the U.S., it is illegal in a handful of California cities, including Los Angeles. The Paw Project, founded by California veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, is a group that would like to see New York’s ban pass. “It’s the amputation of a cat’s toes to protect a couch. None of us went to vet school to protect couches,” Conrad told NBC New York in a recent interview. Bans on declawing are already in effect in much of Europe, the U.K. and Australia.
N.Y. Declawing Bill
New York’s proposed bill would effectively outlaw cat declawing using language that states “unless medically necessary” and levy a $1,000 fine against anyone caught performing the surgery on felines which do not meet that standard. The N.Y. Veterinary Medical Society is opposing the legislation using the argument that the practice must remain as a “final option” for cats that won’t stop scratching furniture and people.
Rationalizing Cat Declawing
Jennifer Mauer, executive director of the Society, reasons that a ban such as this one could end up encouraging cat owners to simply give their pets up to shelters if they can’t get the surgery performed, resulting in an increase in euthanization. An assemblywoman in L.A. isn’t buying it. Her office reported that since their ban went into effect there has been a 43 percent reduction reported on the number of cats surrendered by their owners.
Linda Rosenthal stated, “We’re making a lot of progress,” but, “There’s a lot of competition for space in legislators’ heads.” Rosenthal has successfully pushed the bill in her district for three years now.
What are your thoughts on the controversial procedure? Are there reasons you feel are being overlooked for allowing the practice to continue? Tell us in the comment section below.