Often, cat owners decide to have an onychectomy, or cat declawing, performed on their cats as a quick fix to prevent their furniture from getting scratched. Apparently, this procedure can equate to cutting the tips off of a person’s fingers or toes.
However, unlike human nails, cat’s claws are connected to their bones. When performing an onychectomy, veterinarians have to cut through nerves and distal phalanges to remove the claws.
This procedure subjects cats to physical pain and prevents a natural bodily function. Experts have observed the behavioral changes in cats that have been declawed, and they note that this surgery contributes to higher levels of stress due to pain.
This act of mutilation is frowned upon by animal welfare advocates. Overwhelmingly, declawing is considered cruel and barbaric unless done for the medical benefit of the cat.
Fortunately, New York State’s Legislature recently created a bill that would make New York the first state in the US to make cat declawing illegal. Bill supporters hope if this legislation passes, then other states will follow suit with their own bans.
Currently, the bill is awaiting the signature of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after review. If enacted, vets will be subjected to a $1,000 fine if they perform declawing for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Further, this law specifies that an onychectomy should only be done when medically necessary, such as when a cat has an infection or a tumor is present.
However not everyone if in favor of this bill, for example the New York State Veterinary Medical Society stated in late May that declawing should be allowed since some owners are being harmed by cats that scratch frequently, and in those cases the cats often risk to be abandoned or euthanized. Also, they argue that some pet owners have conditions, like diabetes, immune disorders or hemophilia, where having a cat with claws would put them at risk.