Declawing Your Cat Is Now Illegal In The State Of NY

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For many years, the thought of declawing your cat was viewed as a personal preference. For myself, I’ve never once thought to declaw a cat. But clearly, there are people out there that do not feel the same way.

Fast-forward to today and the internet is an endless resource of cat knowledge– included! By now we know the negative consequences involved when it comes to declawing your cat.

And we are also well aware of what the procedure itself actually is.

The state of New York is a state that truly cares about the well-being of our feline friends. Because as of this Monday, July 22, 2019, declawing your cat is now illegal! Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law (S.5532B/A.1303). First mention of the bill made waves last month, and New York cat owners anxiously awaited the final say from the Governor. They had to wait for once it went through the proper legal process–supurr frustrating! 

According to supporters of the ban to make it illegal to declaw your cat, it’s estimated that roughly 25% of domesticated cats in the U.S. have had this procedure done to them.

Governor Cuomo was asked what inspired him to make this legislation of declawing your cat illegal. He was quoted as saying: “By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures.

Reason for the bill’s passing stems from the common knowledge that removing a cat’s claws requires the partial amputation of the last bone in each of the toes on a cat’s front feet. It’s also primarily done for a human’s gain, and not a feline’s (with extremely rare exception). As a result, this can potentially lead to chronic pain. This is what the governor’s office deemed as cruel and unnecessary. Seems pretty obvious to us!

Many members of the state government were vocal about the cause and importance of the law being made official.

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. 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 out footsteps.”

Photo property of @JuggandZigZag ~ Zig Zag

Senate deputy leader Michael Gianaris also weighed in on the bill. He described his feelings of discontent related to cat declawing.

Cats’ claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives.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.

The bill was passed by the state assembly last month, and according to the governor’s office, will take effect immediately 

Clearly not all cat owners–or veterinarians–are happy with news of this new bill. But legislation made sure that there valid exceptions to the rule. Hopefully these are very rare. The bill makes exceptions for “therapeutic purposes,” or when the declawing would benefit the cat’s health.

This past May, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) weighed in on declawing your cat. They were supporting the procedure for cat owners with diabetes and/or impaired immune systems. In their opinion, declawing your cat could be an alternative to euthanasia for those persons mentioned above.

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.

It turns out that New York is not the only state with plans to ban declawing. Massachusetts (Bill S.169) has already proposed a state ban on feline declawing earlier this year.

There are other areas of the world who have made it illegal to declaw your cat. Declawing is already banned in the UK, Israel, Switzerland and several Canadian provinces. It’s also banned in some US cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver as well.

We want to know your thoughts, do you think that other states should follow suit? Share with us in the comments!


Related Story: No Need to Consider It; Here are 5 Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat

Related Story: “Naughty” Cat Behaviors That Shouldn’t Be Discouraged


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  1. I am so happy relieved and grateful that New York State has banned/made illegal the archaic and painful and inhumane practice of declawing cats. My hope is that every state follows suit and makes this illegal. It is mostly lazy owners who can’t be bothered teaching their cats appropriate behavior.

  2. Of our 3 cats only one is not declawed. That one is destroying our carpeting! All vets we’ve used will declaw the front but save the back claws for defense should they accidentally get outside. I believe the decision should be the cat owner’s and not the government’s

    • Except when either party stops looking at the welfare of the cat and start caring about money and furniture more than the cat =( There are lots of alternative options to declawing and behavioral practices that can help cats-lots of cat trees, deterrents, etc….DECLAWING isn’t the answer.

  3. Teach ‘em young!!! They are taught at 6 weeks old to accept claw trimming…when they are so used to having it done regularly, it takes 5 mins!!! I have some that sit there and wait their turn!!!!!!

  4. I fear, with this law, more and more people will not adopt cats any longer. This law is very short sighted. I have had many kittens with claws and they all, no matter what deterrent, cat tree, nail clipping, training at a young age or behaviorist vet, destroy furniture, drapes, etc. Claws are necessary for those cats that are outside or are indoor/outdoor cats. Each cat that I’ve had declawed (Front Only) has never experienced any issues with the procedure. Watch our humane societies/rescue centers fill with cats and then let me know what you think about this law. Euthanazia of a healthy, lovable cat is what is inhumane-

    • Do you have any idea the number of DECLAWED cats that are in shelters still?! The behavioral and physical issues that occur with the unnecessary procedure?! No one does this to dogs and they are still adopted out–and fill the shelters. There is NEVER ANY REASON TO DECLAW unless it is medically required, not simply because your material possessions are damaged =( I certainly hope your felines don’t have issues later in life from this.

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Written by Modi Ramos

Crazy cat lady since birth and lover of all things feline. Owner of CattitudeDaily and former Editor of iHeartCats. Meow!

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