New York becomes first state to ban declawing of cats

National & World

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday that bans declawing procedures on cats. The bill takes effect immediately.

“Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats,” Cuomo said in a press release. “I am proud of the new Senate majority’s emphasis on animal welfare and am glad the Governor enacted this legislation.” 

According to the governor’s office, declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the removal of all or most of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, and tendons, nerves, and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious medical or behavioral issues.

Officials from the governor’s office say after the claws are removed, cats often shift their gait and where it places most of its weight, causing strain on its leg joints and spine, which can lead to early-onset arthritis and prolonged back and joint pain. Cats’ claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives, including to assist in climbing and maintaining balance and to escape danger.

“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,” said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal. “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.”

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