New York becomes first state to ban cat declawing

Posted at 12:23 PM, Jul 23, 2019

Cat declawing is a controversial practice sometimes done to protect furniture, but sometimes it results in chronic pain for cats.

In New York, it's now illegal.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday to ban the surgery.

New York is the first state to do so.

Declawing is the practice of removing a cat's claws to prevent scratching. According to the Humane Society, the process usually involves removing the last bone of each toe on the cat's paw . Animal activists claim declawing is a needlessly painful process, and the Humane Society recommends it only in the most dire circumstances, when the health of the cat is affected.

Removing a cat's claws requires a partial amputation of each toe and can strain leg joints and the spine. It also leaves a cat without the ability to climb a tree to safety if threatened outdoors.

The law takes effect immediately. The penalty for declawing will be a fine "not to exceed $1,000."

The bill makes exceptions for "therapeutic purposes" or if declawing would help the cat's health.