Declaw Ban in New York

Declawing may be banned in New York.

Update: The legislation discussed in this article passed in New York on July 22, 2019, and declawing is now banned in that state.

This article published 5/13/2019.

New York state may soon ban declawing surgeries. The ban is being debated in the legislature, and would result in a $1000 fine for anyone performing the procedure if it was not done for one of the following reasons:

  • Existing or recurring illness
  • Infection
  • Disease
  • Injury
  • Abnormal claw condition

Other Places Have Banned Declawing

If New York passes the ban on declawing surgeries, it will join various cities in California, some Canadian provinces, and many countries around the world, including Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, it would be the first US state to do so.

Why Are Declaw Bans Occurring?

Legislation is being brought in many places that would end the declawing of cats. That's because of the many acute and chronic problems the surgery causes.

Cats are digitigrade animals, which means they walk up on their toes instead of on the bottoms of their feet like human plantigrade walkers. Additionally, declaw surgery is the amputation of the ends of the toes at the first joints. So, a cat that has had a declaw surgery experiences 10-18 separate amputations (depending on whether the front two or all four feet are declawed) and then is expected to walk directly on the sites immediately afterward.

Declaw surgeries carry a high rate of complications, including opening of the surgical sites and infections (remember, the incisions are walked upon and go in the litter box).

Also, there's the issue of pain. Not only is there excruciating pain in the acute phase of waking up after the amputations and in the initial days afterward, but many cats develop arthritis in the toes and seem to experience chronic pain as evidenced by a change in personality and gait.

But What About Scratching?

As declaw bans become more the norm, people need to find alternative ways to deal with cat scratching—and that's a good thing because declawed cats can have more behavior problems than non-declawed ones.

Luckily, there are great ways to deal with cat scratching so your cat can keep her claws, stay healthy and pain-free, and your furniture can be safe too.

Giving your cat a great, acceptable cat scratching environment is crucial to keeping your cat's claws off your stuff. Learn more here: "Why Your Cat Needs a Good Cat Scratching Post."

Making sure the stress level for cats is low in your home is another way to ensure your cat is less likely to scratch inappropriately. Learn more: "Is Your Cat a Stress Scratcher?"

Soft Paws® are another great way to decrease any damage your cat might do to you or your home with his claws. They're vinyl caps that you secure over your cat's claws with a non-toxic adhesive.

If you'd like to get involved in efforts to ban declawing in more areas, check out our friends at The Paw Project.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.