Council bans declawing cats
The city council voted unanimously to ban cat declawing, a move also adopted by many other cities, states and countries to protect cats from a practice widely seen to be harmful to animals.
“Declawing is a painful and unnecessary surgery in which the cat’s toes are amputated at the last joint, often causing lifelong health and behavior problems,” Austin Pets Alive! explained in a press release celebrating the decision.
The order will make declawing a cat illegal unless the procedure is deemed medically necessary, and establishes a fine for those who break the law.
Cat owners used the procedure to protect the furniture and itself from scratches. Once common, the practice is fading as more veterinarians and cat owners realize the damage it is causing. Cats can be trained not to scratch humans, and disposable cat nail caps have been developed as a safe, non-surgical alternative for those worried about furniture.
According to Austin Pets Alive!, the declawing procedure “involves cutting bones, tendons and ligaments, and besides being incredibly painful at the time, it has lifelong consequences for the cat.” Cats often develop chronic pain and changes in posture, and “removing their primary defense tool” can cause a cat to feel “vulnerable and scared”. The procedure can also make cats prone to bite instead and avoid litter box, making them less desirable as pets and more likely to be euthanized.
Austin’s ban has been ongoing since 2017, when the Animal Advisory Commission set up task forces to discuss the issue. In 2018, the commission voted unanimously to recommend a declawing prescription. Austin follows other cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.
Brenda Barnette, CEO of Los Angeles Animal Services, wrote a letter of support to Austin City Council. Los Angeles’ declawing law, she said, hasn’t led disgruntled owners to send a “deluge of cats” to shelters, and the number of cat adoptions at shelters has remained stable. The law has also been found to be “self-enforcing”, with no declawing reported since the law was enacted in 2009.
the Austin MonitorHer work is made possible by donations from the community. While our reports cover donors from time to time, we take care to separate business and editorial activities while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.
‹Back to the headlines of the day
Read the latest Whispers ›