New York may become the first state to outlaw cat declawing. A bill banning the procedure is making its way through the Senate.
The surgery involves amputating a cat’s toes back to the first knuckle. Because cats’ claws are connected to bone, a veterinarian has to slice through tendon and nerves to cut off the last segment of bone in a cat’s toes.
“It’s amputation,” said veterinarian Jennifer Conrad in an interview with the Associated Press. “It is the equivalent of taking a cigar cutter and cutting the end joint off.”
Painful Procedure or Last Resort?
Some oppose the potential ban, because they see it as a last resort that would prevent cats with behavioral issues from being abandoned or put down.
“None of us love the procedure,” said Richard Goldstein, a veterinarian at New York City’s Animal Medical Centre. “But when the alternative is condemning the cat to a shelter or to death? That’s why we do it.”
Some vets argue that declawing has negative long-term effects on cats.
“The research consensus is that at least one in five cats shows long-term physical or behavioral problems after being declawed,” said Veterinarian Eileen Jefferson, in an interview with NiagraFallsReporter.com.
The ban supported by groups like the Paw Project comes at a time when Americans’ opinions on pets continue to evolve. A separate bill in the Legislature calls for removing sales tax from pet food.
“There’s a rising tide of social concern about animal welfare,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “We’ve proven that the American public is deeply concerned about the welfare of animals, the ones that live with them and the ones used for food production.”
Each state also criminalizes severe forms of animal cruelty.
Cat declawing is already banned in some cities in California. Australia and a range of European countries including Britain have outlawed the surgery as well.
Senate bill S5084 would ban it in New York.
The bill was put forth last year by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal. According to the New York State Senate’s website, the status of the bill is in committee.
“Because of their behavioral issues, declawed cats are not as likely to be adopted as other cats,” Rosenthal said. “I introduced this bill to end the misery inflicted on cats when there are many safe and effective alternatives to declawing.”
Cats with behavioral problems can let their angst out on sturdy scratching posts, while you try alleviating their general attitudes. Although they can be pricy, scratching posts would set you back less than a cat-declawing operation would.
Paw caps are used to cover your kittie’s claws making them safe for furniture and even your skin depending on how effective the brand is. They also come in all sorts of colors. Your kitten will scratch away in style.
Some products such as sprays are designed to mimic calming pheromones or naturally-occurring chemicals that cats use to communicate with members of a species. Similar soothing products also come in plug-in diffusers and collars.
Whatever stressor is causing your cat to lash out, it probably hates it less than being sprayed with tap water. Fill a spray bottle with water and give one spray to your cat everytime it draws its claws toward furniture or people. After a while, simply raising the spray bottle will cause your cat to run away and cool down.