Cat declawing ban reintroduced in Legislature
A ban on declawing cats in Michigan has again been introduced in the Legislature.
For the past few legislative sessions, lawmakers have introduced bans on onychectomies, or any other surgical procedure that removes or interferes with the normal functioning of the claws of a cat. The bills have not advanced out of committee.
Currently only Maryland and New York have statewide bans on declawing cats, with various cities around the U.S. banning the practice on a local level. More than a dozen states currently have bans introduced in their legislatures.
Previous versions of the ban included a possible $1,000 fine for individuals who surgically remove cat’s claws, but the current version, HB 4674, sponsored by Rep. Jimmie Wilson (D-Ypsilanti), doesn’t include a fine.
Declawing, entails the total or partial surgical amputation of a portion of a cat’s toe bones and attached claws. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association the procedure is painful for cats and it discourages the declawing of cats as an elective surgery.
The Humane Society of the United States likens the lasting pain cats feel with declawing procedures to cutting off a human’s fingers at the top knuckle, possibly leaving cats with phantom pain and nerve damage among other long-lasting painful side effects.
In the past, Michigan Humane, the state’s largest animal welfare organization has supported the ban, noting in a blog post on its site in 2022 that though they didn’t believe the “important” legislation would advance in that legislative session, they were hopeful that enough awareness is being created that the bill would get a second chance.
Though declawing a cat for cosmetic reasons or for purposes of human convenience would be banned under the legislation, veterinarians would still be permitted to declaw cats for therapeutic reasons, meaning if the procedure would alleviate a condition that interferes with the cat’s health.