To Declaw or Not? New Jersey Could Be The First State To Ban Procedure


As horrible as it may seem for many, some cat owners find a cat’s ultra-sharp claws a problem and for that, they would want their feline companion to be declawed. The procedure has been banned in some cities in the state of California, but New Jersey could be the first to have a statewide ban.

New Jersey could be the first state to have declawing ban.

Flickr / Heidi De Vries

Having a cat is a package deal that includes inevitable scratches on your skin as well as destroyed furniture or your most favorite imported rugs. Cat owners know it just happens. But for some, persistent scratching becomes a real issue that they would seek medical intervention to avoid the inconvenience.

Scratching is part of normal feline behavior.

Flickr / steve p2008

The process of declawing, or removal of claws, is called onychectomy. Specifically, the process involves having to amputate the last bone on each of the cat’s toe. There’s also another procedure called flexor tendonectomy, which involves cutting off the tendon that controls the retraction of the claws, as explained by Democratic Assemblyman Troy Singleton. This means that the cat can still keep claws but it can no longer flex or extend them.

Singleton, who is the bill’s sponsor, described declawing a “barbaric practice that more often than not is done for the sake of convenience rather than necessity.”

The proposed bill states that vets who declaw can face a fine of up to $1,000.

Flickr / Heidi De Vries

Vets can still perform declawing but only when it’s deemed necessary, like addressing a medical condition. Otherwise, vets can be fined, imprisoned for six months or both. Violators will also be penalized between $500 to $2,000.

Flickr / Jill Allyn Stafford

Many cat owners expressed their gratitude that New Jersey will soon have a declawing ban. But veterinarians don’t echo the same sentiments. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents over 89,000 veterinarians, the group prefers lawmakers not to instruct vets on what to do. AVMA also doesn’t consider onychectomies to be barbaric.

AVMA, however, thinks declawing is not medically necessary or common these days.

Flickr / angela n.

AVMA believes having a cat declawed should be a last resort if the claws are a risk to the owner and if behavior modifications have failed. The group also doesn’t recommend tendonectomies.

Cat owners who have problems with cats consistently scratching are advised to trim the cat’s nails. There are also nail caps that can be placed on the claws to lessen the damage, Dr. Cia Johnson, animal welfare division director at AVMA, said.

Flickr / Christmatos

What the AVMA worries about when it comes to the declawing ban is more cats ending up in shelters, especially if scratching cannot be resolved.

declawing ban new jersey
Flickr / Cait Stewart

NJ’s declawing ban has passed in the Assembly but has yet to be approved by the Senate. The fight is ongoing and the motion has yet to be passed into law.

What do you guys think of declawing?

SHARE this story with your friends and family!