Declawing cats was once a common practice across the United States, with cat owners opting to remove their pet’s claws in order to prevent skin cuts and furniture damage.
But in recent years the practice has become increasingly under scrutiny—it’s not the harmless procedure people think, rather it’s a surgical bone amputation that leaves long-lasting pain for the cat.
Thankfully, more and more people are turning against declawing, and many legislators have responded by enacting new bans on the practice. Recent years have seen New York and Maryland issuing statewide bans, along with cities like Pittsburgh and Madison, Wisconsin.
And recently, Allentown, Pennsylvania became the latest to put a ban on declawing cats.
According to Lehigh Valley News, Allentown City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to ban cat declawing within the city’s limits.
The new law makes an exception in cases where the surgery is done for therapeutic benefit for the cat, such as to treat an infection or illness. But it bans declawing for nonessential reasons, like cosmetic purposes or to protect the owner’s furniture. Anyone violating the new law will face a $500 fine.
According to The Morning Call, the new ordinance calls declawing a “harmful and unnecessary procedure.” It received a letter of support from the Lehigh Valley Humane Society, who called declawing an “inhumane, cruel and barbaric mutilation.”
The law reportedly passed unanimously without discussion, showing how far opinion has turned against what was until fairly recently seen as a routine surgery.
“I don’t think very many vets enjoy doing the procedure for customers. Our vet certainly doesn’t,” Hal Warner, President and CEO of Lehigh Valley Humane Society, told WFMZ.
Animal rights groups have long decried the practice, saying that declawing is far more traumatic and painful for the animals than people might assume — less of a fingernail trimming and more of a bone amputation.
“Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe,” the Humane Society writes. “If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”
“It is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to the cat. Educated pet parents can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily.”
Allentown is now the second city in Pennsylvania to ban declawing cats, after Pittsburgh. It remains legal in the rest of the state, but legislators hope that more nearby cities follow suit soon.
It’s the second time Allentown passed a law to protect local animals. In October, they enacted a ban on the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from large scale breeding facilities commonly known as “mills.”
It’s inspiring to see that more and more cities are issuing laws to protect cats from the cruel practice of declawing. We hope the ban will be nationwide soon and no cat will have to go through this anymore.
Please share this good news if you are against declawing cats 😸