Declawing Cats Could Soon Be Illegal in Massachusetts

Cat Declawing

In recent years, may animal rights organizations and animal lovers have become involved in the fight to ban the declawing of cats in the United States. This is a practice that is already outlawed in many other countries. The latest state that is considering a move towards a ban on declawing is Massachusetts, and this is on the back of several other states that already have legislation in place.  Recently, New York became the first state to pass legislation to ban declawing, says National Public Radio. However, there are already some cities that have put this ban in place., including Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco.

The person who instigated this legislation was Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. Both an animal lover and a cat owner, Rosenthal has spent several years fighting for a ban on what she describes as an inhumane practice. Finally, the ban was signed into law in early July 2019 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and it is effective immediately.  This was a move that was supported by many animal rights organizations. The ban means that anyone caught declawing a cat will receive a fine of up to $1000. The exception to this rule is declawing that is performed for medical purposes, such as to remove nail bed tumors.

Now, there is a push for other states to follow New York’s lead and put legislation in place to ban declawing. One state that may follow this example is Massachusetts, says Mental Floss. The possibility of Massachusetts becoming the second state to ban declawing comes after a hearing took place concerning the bill on July 22 in Massachusetts’ Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

If the law is passed, then it will delight many advocates of the declawing ban in Massachusetts. This includes both official animal welfare organizations and individuals who are against this cruel practice.  So, what exactly is declawing and why is this practice considered inhumane? According to the Humane Society, declawing is a procedure that involves removing the claws from cats that is officially called an onychectomy. People often choose to have this procedure done because they have a cat that scratches them or claws at the furniture. Their aim is to stop both activities.

However, the Humane Society notes that this procedure is not the same thing as a human having a manicure, which is what many people mistakenly believe. Instead, it is a serious operation that involves the removal of the toe bones. This is because a cat’s anatomy is very different from that of humans, and their claws are an extension of their toe bones, not something that simply grows from their skin. This means that the declawing procedure is similar to amputation.

Not only does declawing cause severe discomfort for cats immediately following the procedure, but it can also have some long-lasting effects. A cat’s paws can remain uncomfortable permanently and they may have a sensation that feels similar to that of a human wearing badly fitted shoes. The surgery can also cause permanent nerve damage and may lead to painful infections. Furthermore, a cat can begin to have problems using their litter tray following the surgery.

These are the reasons why so many people are supporting a ban on the declawing of cats. If the ban goes through, it leaves a lot of cat owners wondering if there are any alternatives to this procedure, especially if they have a particularly aggressive cat or one that is damaging a lot of their furniture.  However, the Humane Society reassures people that there are lots of alternatives that cat owners can take without resorting to such an inhumane procedure.

One of the simplest options is for cat owners to keep their cat’s nails trimmed themselves. They can also give their cat their own scratching post so that the cat has somewhere of their own to use for their natural scratching habits. This will also help them to keep their nails nice and short. Another option is to take your cat to the vets to have soft caps glued to their claws. This means that when they scratch you, it will not break the skin. Similarly, their claws will no longer leave big scratch marks all over your furniture.

A further way to prevent cats from scratching your furniture is to temporarily add something to the furniture that they do not like. For example, by adding double-sided sticky tape to the edges of furniture, your cat will avoid them. This is because cats do not like the sensation of the sticky tape on their paws. Once they associate the furniture with this sensation, they will avoid touching it in the future.

If the problem is more about your cat scratching you than it about it scratching the furniture, then you need to think about what is causing the cat to scratch. This is something that cats do when they are fearful and feel defensive. The cause is often as simple as you stroking them when they do not want stroking, or that you are touching them in a place or way that they do not like. If this is the case, only stroke them when they approach you. Another possible reason for scratching is that they are in pain. To check that this isn’t the case, you should see the vet and seek their advice.

Despite there being so much support for the ban on declawing in Massachusetts and the fact that there are so many simple alternatives to this procedure, there are still those who are against having the ban in place. Some organizations still believe that choosing to have the procedure should remain the right of cat owners. In the opinion of some groups, banning declawing may result in people abandoning their cats or having them euthanized. Therefore, some groups see the declawing of cats as a better alternative. Although there is some opposition, the general view is that it is likely that this legislation will get passed.


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