A Washington Post article about a proposed bill in the New York legislator to make declawing cats illegal is headlined “Is Declawing Cruel To Cats?” A similar headline would be, “Is Pulling Their Teeth Out Cruel To Dogs?” Of course it’s cruel. Not only is the practice often painful for the animal, it takes away a cat’s primary means of self-defense. In some cases this literally drives cats crazy, making a secure, happy animal neurotic, fearful, and nasty.
Assembly Bill 1297 is the creation of New York state assembly member Linda Rosenthal (D), the same legislator who pushed through a law last year banning the tattooing or piercing of pets. She gets the ethical principle here: surgically altering animals for the owner’s amusement and convenience is wrong. “People often use their animals in very selfish ways,” she says. “This is mostly done because people care more about their furniture than about their cats.”
Exactly. If you don’t like cats, don’t get a cat. Declawing a cat is de-catting it. Maybe taking away a dog’s ability to bark is a better comparison.
To anticipate the inevitable questions: “Does this principle apply to neutering as well? ” and “Should it?” my answer today is “I have to think about it.”
Declawing, however, is an easy call.
Pass the law, New York.