Working to End Cat Declawing 

BREAKING NEWS (July 22, 2019) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a state bill that bans declawing in New York other than for medical reasons. This is the first statewide law that has been enacted to ban cat declawing. HSVMA acknowledges the work of our New York State Representative Dr. Eileen Jefferson in working steadfastly over the past several years to support passage of this important animal welfare legislation. 

June 13, 2019

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association opposes cat declawing and applauds recent efforts to ban this procedure from being performed in cities and states throughout the country. Declawing is already illegal in many European countries (including the UK), Brazil, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, and declaw bans have been passed in eight cities in California plus the City and County of Denver, Colorado.

Cat on couch
Cats can be trained to avoid destructive scratching.

HSVMA continues to help educate the public and provide tools to veterinary professionals who are opposed to this non-therapeutic procedure, which involves the amputation of the first digit of a cat's toes.  

Many veterinarians are already refusing to perform these procedures, as they are typically performed solely for the convenience of the caregivers and provide no medical benefit to the animal.

However, the pressure does exist to perform these surgeries. Clinic policies, economic concerns and client demands all factor in to this difficult decision for veterinarians.  Regardless of the reasons, current research has proven that there are behavioral and medical consequences to declawing and shelter relinquishments have actually decreased in areas where declawing is banned.

HSVMA has developed the following activities and education tools designed to help veterinary professionals who are committed to taking a stand against this inhumane procedure:


 Martell-Moran, NK, Solano M, Townsend H GG. Pain and adverse behavior in declawed cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 2017; 1098612X1770504 DOI: 10.1177/1098612X17705044

Official letter from Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services Department, about the decrease in cat relinquishment numbers after the declaw ban in Los Angeles was implemented.

Outreach to Veterinary Students

Cats need their claws for normal feline behaviors.

HSVMA is offering presentations at schools and urging students to consider and formulate their ethical positions on the issue of cosmetic and convenience surgeries prior to applying for jobs upon graduation.

Getting the word out

HSVMA has posters on cat declawing for veterinary clinics, animal shelters and humane societies. Download a copy of the poster here.

The Paw Project is a non-profit organization that has led the fight against declawing in this country. Dr. Jennifer Conrad, Founder and Director, has been an advocate for domestic and captive wild felines who have suffered consequences due to declawing.  The Paw Project website has a directory for veterinarians in the US and Canada who refuse to perform these surgeries.  Dr. Conrad also has a documentary about her mission against declawing and how she got started on her journey performing surgical repair for big cats.

Legislative advocacy

 As The Paw Project leads the way, go to their legislative page for updates on current advocacy news and developments.  HSVMA has worked with The Paw Project in several states, including California, New Jersey and most recently New York, to try to pass declaw legislation.