Removing a cat’s claws requires the partial amputation of the last bone in each of the toes on a cat’s front feet. The governor’s office said cats often strain their leg joints and spine in response to the removal, which can result in chronic pain.
In the statement, senate deputy leader Michael Gianaris compared the procedure to severing a human finger at the knuckle.
“Cats’ claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives,” the bill reads. “When a person has its animal declawed, usually in an attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal both physically and in behavioral ways.”
The bill makes exceptions for “therapeutic purposes,” or when the declawing would benefit the cat’s health.
Vets disagree on declawing
Veterinarians are split on whether cat declawing is inhumane.
“NYSVMS believes a veterinarian…should be permitted to make medical decisions after direct consultation with a client and a thorough examination of the patient and its home circumstances,” the organization said in a statement.
The bill doesn’t list any specific alternatives to declawing other than “simple training.” The American Association of Feline Practitioners suggests cat owners dull their pets’ nails with scratching posts, regular nail trims and temporary synthetic nail caps, which must be reapplied every four to six weeks.
The practice is illegal in several countries, including the UK, Israel and Switzerland, according to the bill.