Formerly, veterinarians were opposed to the banning of a service they profited from. Now there seems to be a shift in some veterinary circles. Question for our readers: If the cat owner wants the service and is prepared to pay for it, should it be illegal? Healthy public debate is advantageous. Presently, it is legal to declaw your cat in each and every one of the 50 states. Read this press release below about the bill.
A bill that would make New York the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing, A.1297/ S.5084, is being championed by 115 veterinarians from across the state.
Veterinary support for the bill is being organized by The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and The Paw Project.
Eileen Jefferson, DVM, New York state representative for HSVMA, said: “Declawing involves painful amputations – cutting off the last bone of a cat’s digits. When done for convenience, it is medically and ethically unjustifiable. The research consensus is that at least one in five cats show long-term physical or behavioral problems after being declawed.”
According to HSVMA and The Paw Project, these problems include litter box avoidance from pain or stress and increased biting in self-defense. These two problems, not furniture destruction, are the documented top behavioral reasons why cats are brought to U.S. shelters.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, D-67, introduced the bill last year. It later gained bipartisan support from co-sponsor Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47.
Assemblymember Rosenthal said: “Because of their behavioral issues, declawed cats are not as likely to be adopted as other cats. I introduced this bill to end the misery inflicted on cats when there are many safe and effective alternatives to declawing.”
Sen. Griffo said: “This bill benefits not only cats, but veterinarians, cat owners, and shelters as well. I’m pleased to be working with experts on public health and animal health to get it passed.”
Susan Whittred, DVM, New York co-director for The Paw Project, said: “A relatively high percentage of cats are still being declawed despite all the recommendations against it. Targeting this problem through legislation is necessary and overdue. This bill is not an infringement on the veterinarian’s role at all. In fact, veterinarians are helping lead the efforts to see it pass.”
Declawing is currently illegal in more than two dozen countries and several California cities.
The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners have changed their statements in the last year to discourage declawing.