Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows the frustration of coming home and finding a piece of furniture or an article of clothing torn to shreds. It’s a sacrifice you would think all cat owners knowingly accept when they bring their feline friends home. It’s worth it for the love they offer, but not everyone is okay with it. Some turn to the controversial practice of declawing their cats. It’s a procedure experts say brings tremendous pain to the animals in the name of convenience for their owners. The practice could soon be illegal in New York, which is on the verge of becoming the first state in the country to ban it.
The New York Times reports that after years of debate and opposition from some veterinary groups who argue the procedure is preferable to euthanasia and abandonment, this week state lawmakers passed bill A01303B that criminalizes all non-medical declawing. It reads:
“Prohibition of the declawing of cats. 1. No person shall perform an onychectomy (declawing), partial or complete phalangectomy or tendonectomy procedure by any means on a cat within the state of New York, except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose. Therapeutic purpose means the necessity to address the physical medical condition of the cat, such as an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease, injury or abnormal condition in the claw that compromises the cat’s health. Therapeutic purpose does not include cosmetic or aesthetic reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling the cat.”
If New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who is still reportedly reviewing the bill, signs it into law, violators will have to pay up to $1,000.
New York state will join the cities of Denver and Los Angeles as the only places in the country to outlaw the procedure for non-medical reasons. Similar laws are on the docket in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts as well. As cat lovers, we just want what’s best for our furry feline friends.
And if that means the occasional furniture sacrifice or lost shirt we’re not going to tear ourselves up over it.