Vets Speak Out For Ban on “Inhumane” Declawing

Life With Cats is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
(Image: AP/Mike Groll)

A spokescat named Rubio and vets opposed to declawing came to the New York state Capitol Tuesday to lobby for a ban on declawing. “It’s a disfiguring, inhumane and misguided procedure,” said Eileen Jefferson, an Ulster County veterinarian. Jefferson’s remarks were published by ABC News. While Jefferson and the other vets spoke at a press conference in the Capitol, Rubio did some lobbying of his own. The 11-year-old Abyssinian roamed the room and greeted journalists with meows and sniffs.

The bill is before both the Senate and Assembly, but no vote has been scheduled, according to ABC News. Assembly sponsor Linda Rosenthal said support is growing as more cat owners learn the details of the procedure, which is a form of de-knuckling or amputation that removes the joints of the toes. The New York bill would ban the procedure unless it is done to remove a tumor or for other medical reasons. It was introduced last year by Rosenthal, a champion of legislation to protect animals. Declawing or deknuckling of cats is already banned in many countries, including Australia, India, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as seven cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.


The state’s Veterinary Medical Society opposes the ban, arguing that the surgical procedure can save cats with destructive scratching behavior who might otherwise be euthanized. The society maintains that declawing is a decision best left to cat owners and veterinarians. The proposed ban is backed by animal advocate and actor Ricky Gervais. The Paw Project is the organizing force behind an ongoing campaign to persuade cat owners that declawing is cruel, crippling and unnecessary.

(Image: The Paw Project)

“How could anyone in their right mind declaw a cat or a kitten?” Gervais wrote in his statement that was posted on the Facebook page for the Paw Project. “I could never imagine committing such an injustice to my beautiful moggy (cat) however many stair carpets or sofas she likes to ruin. New York is one of the greatest most progressive places in the world and I hope to see it at the forefront of the humane treatment of all animals.”

(The Paw Project)


“Americans should speak out against declawing,” declares Dennis Turner, author of The Domestic Cat, who wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in support of the ban. Denver veterinarian Aubrey Lavizzo is leading a drive to make onychectomy illegal in Colorado. She calls it de-toeing. “As veterinarians, we take an oath that we will use our knowledge and skills to benefit society through the relief of pain in our animal clients. When you talk about pain in cats, it’s classified as mild, moderate and severe. Mild is a neuter. Moderate is a spay. And severe is a declaw,” she told The Denver Post.

Leave a Comment