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.
As public opinion turns against declawing, more local governments have finally been enacting bans on the practice. In 2019, New York became the very first state in the US to ban unnecessary cat declawing.
Now, Maryland is ready to become the second, with lawmakers reportedly poised to enact a new statewide ban.
According to the Washington Post, the law would prohibit vets from declawing a cat for cosmetic reasons or for the purpose of making it easier to handle. Violating the law could result in a $5,000 fine and a suspended license.
The law would allow declawing only under very strict circumstances — according to WJW the Senate bill allows the process if it’s necessary for “therapeutic reasons.” Most anti-declawing bills allow exceptions if, say, the declawing is done to remove a tumor.
But too many people have had their cats declawed just to protect their home furniture or to control their cat’s behavior. But animal activists have stressed that the procedure is far more barbaric than people think.
“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.”
“When people wrap their head around it, the idea that we would mutilate to protect a furniture item is abhorrent to people,” Del. Lorig Charkoudian, the bill’s sponsor in the House, told the Washington Post.
According to the Post, the measure was first introduced in 2020, but is now making its way through the state’s House and Senate. The House bill is expected to get final approval this week, and the bill passed in the Senate last month and could soon reach the governor.
Senator Cheryl C. Kagan, the Senate bill sponsor, says the law has been gaining steam thanks to widespread support “average Marylanders who want to protect the cats” who “have no special interest other than doing the right thing by their pets.”
While cat declawing has become increasingly scrutinized by the veterinary community, and many cities including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Denver have passed their own bans, it still remains legal in most of the US: Maryland would only be the second of the 50 states to enact a statewide ban.
New York was the first, banning the practice in July 2019. It was celebrated as a major victory by cat activists.
“This is a real triumph for cats and the people who love them,” said New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who had championed the bill for years, according to the Associated Press. “This has catapulted New York to a leadership position when it comes to cruelty against felines.”
Declawing is a procedure too many people still choose for their cats, not realizing how drastic and painful it can be.
We hope that Maryland will soon become the second state in the US to ban this procedure. Share this story if you agree!