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Another Major City Votes To Ban Declawing Cats

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Animal lovers have something to celebrate this week, after another city officially banned declawing cats.

Seattle's City Council voted unanimously to ban vets from performing the procedure. Declawing, also known as onychcechtomy, removes the upper third of a cat's digit. That includes their claws, as well as the nerves, tendons, and ligaments that connect them to a cat's foot.

American Veterinary Medical Association

While the procedure guarantees that a cat's claws won't grow back, pet owners have long complained that the surgery is unnecessarily cruel to the animal. The Humane Society says that if the procedure was performed on humans, it would be comparable to “cutting off each finger at the last knuckle."

Examples of dangerous botched surgeries have drawn headlines, and the American Veterinary Medical Association says there's no good reason to declaw a cat. So does the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Seattle City Council.SeattleMet

Seattle is now the ninth city in America to ban the operation, and the first outside the state of California. Earlier this year, the state of New Jersey also passed a law banning vets from performing the surgery, with a penalty including a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

But while the ban passed unanimously in Seattle, some people are still arguing in favor of declawing.

One of the groups that argued against the declawing ban was the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association.

My Pet Reference

They argued that the decision to declaw a cat, or find another way to keep them from wrecking the furniture, should be left up to individual cat owners. Other critics worry that a declawing ban would lead to more cats filling the city's animal shelters.

But, so far, none of the other cities that banned cat declawing have noticed a spike in abandoned cats. Plus, pet experts say there are other reasons to ban the surgery. One of the vets who spoke out against the operation was Seattle's Aubrey Lavizzo.

He says that cats who are declawed often develop behavioral issues. Other veterinarians say that declawing can cause painful conditions including nerve damage and bone spurs.

Some owners simply say that the pain a cat feels during the surgery is only temporary, and they would rather pay for a declawing than worry about their furniture. While the issue is settled in Seattle, it's clear that this debate will continue across the country.

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[H/T: 9 News]