Yesterday Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning the performance of declawing procedures on cats, making New York the first state to prohibit the practice. The bill takes effect immediately.
“Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops,” Governor Cuomo said. “By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures.”
Declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the removal of all or most of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, and tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious medical or behavioral issues. After the claws are removed, cats often shift their gait and where it places most of its weight, causing strain on its leg joints and spine, which can lead to early onset arthritis and prolonged back and joint pain.
Cats’ claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives, including to assist in climbing and maintaining balance and to escape danger.