Cat lovers, get ready to purr.
Animal activists met in Albany, New York, last Tuesday to lobby a bill that would make declawing of cats illegal in New York State. If passed, New York will become the first state to ban the practice.
“For humans not to respect the integrity of the animal and the animal’s body is criminal,” Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democratic who is the assembly sponsor for the bill, said during a press conference. “However, it’s still allowed, it’s an option, and that’s why we aim to make it illegal.”
The act of declawing a cat involves cutting bone, tendon and nerves from cats’ toes.
“Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat's nails — the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed,” The Humane Society writes on its site. “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”
The bill — which, at the moment, is before both the Senate and Assembly, but no vote has yet been scheduled — is raising the some professionals’ hackles. The state's Veterinary Medical Society opposes this legislation, saying that if the bill passes it will be an utter catastrophe. The society says that the procedure can save cats with destructive scratching behavior from being euthanized.
"It is the veterinarian's obligation to provide cat owners a complete education with regard to normal scratching behavior of cats, the procedure itself, and potential risks to the patient," reads a memo from the society, according to The Associated Press. "Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively."
Yet, 130 other New York vets support the bill.
"It's a disfiguring, inhumane and misguided procedure," Eileen Jefferson, an Ulster County veterinarian who does not perform the procedure, told The AP.
As for Rosenthal herself, she’s throwing some cat-worthy shade towards the society’s opinion.
"In most cases declawing is performed as a convenience to the owner," ABC reports Rosenthal said at the press conference. "I've heard so many times: 'I have expensive furniture! I have nice drapes!' If your standard is 'I need pristine furniture,' don't get a cat."