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Declaw Surgery Banned in New York

Declaw surgeries are no longer legal in the state of New York.

Declaw surgeries for cats are considered inhumane by many, including those of us at Though it's a common misconception that a declaw surgery removes a cat's claws only, the reality is that the procedure is an amputation up to the first joint of each toe. That's necessary so the claw doesn't regrow.

Around the world, people are working to pass laws making declaw surgery illegal. Many countries and several US and Canadian states already have such laws. In July of 2019, New York became the first US state to ban cat declaws.

Why Are Declaw Surgeries Inhumane?

Declawing carries a high rate of complications, both during and well after the surgery itself. Many of those revolve around the fact that cats are digitigrade—they walk on their toes instead of the bottoms of their feet like us plantigrade humans. So, right after surgery, declawed cats must stand on, walk on, and dig in the litter box with ten amputation sites.

Surgical complications can include:

  • Infection
  • Opening of the incisions
  • Extreme pain

Negative consequences that can occur after declaw surgery include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Gait changes
  • Regrowth of abnormal claws
  • Personality changes and increased aggression
  • Inappropriate urination

You can learn more here: "Declawing Cats: Alternatives to an Inhumane Procedure."

Without Declawing, How Can You Keep a Cat from Scratching?

The main reason people have their cats declawed is to keep them from damaging items in the home by scratching. Luckily, if you create a great cat scratching environment, your kitty won't need to be declawed to keep the furniture safe.

Cats need to scratch. It's good for their mental and physical health. Learn more: "Why Cats Scratch."

Choose a scratching post your cat will love.

Start by choosing excellent cat scratching posts that your cat will love to scratch. Cats like strong, sturdy posts that don't wobble when they stretch out and push against them. They like to scratch sisal fabric, which doesn't catch and pull on their claws and feels satisfying. They want tall posts they can stretch up onto and work their shoulder and neck muscles.

Next, you'll want to choose great spots to put your quality scratching posts. Cats use posts to mark their territory, and they want to do that in highly visible areas of the home where there's lots of traffic. So, don't hide your post away in the corner. Choose a beautiful one that matches your home décor and put it in a high-traffic area.

Declaw Bans Are Increasing

New York is the first state to ban declawing cats in the US, but others are trying to get such legislation through, including Florida, California, and Massachusetts. There's no doubt that other states and cities will follow suit as more people understand the long-term negative effects of declawing cats.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.