Removing a cat's claws, also known as onychectomy, requires the partial amputation of the last bone in each of the toes on a cat's front feet. The governor's office said cats often strain their leg joints and spine in response to the removal, which can result in chronic pain.
Cats in New York City are free to strut around as they please with their claws unclipped, reports CNN. Now they can scale great heights, literally, or maybe just the couch and your curtains, with their claws intact, thanks to a new bill that was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday. The bill bans cat declawing, making New York the first state to outlaw the practice. "By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures," Cuomo said in a statement. Passed by the state assembly in June, the bill takes effect immediately, according to the governor's office.
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "Today, New York becomes the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing. Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple, and with so many low-cost and pain-free alternatives available, there is no reason to allow this barbaric practice to continue, not here in New York or anywhere. It's a wonderful day for the cats of the state and the people who love them."
"Now that my bill has become law, New York has been catapulted onto the leaderboard of humane states, and we expect other states to quickly follow in our footsteps," she added. Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, "Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats. I am proud of the new Senate majority's emphasis on animal welfare and am glad the Governor enacted this legislation."
Removing a cat's claws, also known as onychectomy, requires the partial amputation of the last bone in each of the toes on a cat's front feet. The governor's office said cats often strain their leg joints and spine in response to the removal, which can result in chronic pain. Cats' claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives. Cats use their claws to assist in climbing and maintaining balance, to help them fully stretch, to relieve stress through kneading and to escape danger, reads the statement.
When a person has its animal declawed, usually in an attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal both physically and in behavioral ways. There are harmless ways to manage undesirable behavior through simple training and other established methods. There are exceptions in the bill for declawing if they are for "therapeutic purposes," or when the declawing would benefit the cat's health.
Even veterinarians seem to agree that declawing is inhumane. The American Association of Feline Practitioners said it strongly opposes declawing as an elective procedure because scratching is just normal feline behavior. Cats scratch to keep their claws sharp and maintain the motion they need to climb. The New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) said it supports declawing as an alternative to euthanasia for cat owners with impaired immune systems or diabetes.
"NYSVMS believes a veterinarian...should be permitted to make medical decisions after direct consultation with a client and a thorough examination of the patient and its home circumstances," the organization said in a statement. There are no specific alternatives mentioned in the bill other than "simple training." The American Association of Feline Practitioners suggests cat owners dull their pets' nails with scratching posts, regular nail trims, and temporary synthetic nail caps, which must be reapplied every four to six weeks.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts have also proposed a state ban on feline declawing earlier this year. The bill is set for a public hearing Monday afternoon. Declawing is an illegal practice in several countries, including the UK, Israel, and Switzerland, as mentioned in the bill. After all, they're just cats, and a little bit of damage to the furniture can always be mended, can't it?