According to Fox 31 News, Denver may join Los Angeles as the next major city in the United States to ban the procedure of declawing in cats. Councilwoman Kendra Black proposed a bill banning the practice of declawing cats. The bill’s first committee hearing takes place on Wednesday, October 25.
Black said, “It’s a cruel practice. A cat declawing actually severs the tips of the toes of cats and they use a piece of equipment similar to a cigar cutter.”
Declawing bans are not a new notion. For years, proposals have been in front of legislatures in West Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Efforts to get bans passed have been blocked mainly by veterinarian trade organizations. While the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association has failed to comment, Black reports that the organization opposes the notion of a declawing ban.
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald says that the issue is complicated. He stated that declawing used to be a common practice. However, recent awareness about how declawing can harm cats has made the practice less common.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, declawing can have many negative effects on cats. For instance, pain in the paws, tissue necrosis (tissue death), back pain, lameness, and infection can all occur following a declaw surgery. Additionally, regrowth of an improperly removed claw, bone spurs, and nerve damage can occur.
Removing a cat’s claws changes the way in which his foot meets the ground and can cause him pain. It’s similar to you wearing a pair of uncomfortable shoes, according to the Humane Society. For days after the surgery, newspaper shreds are usually used in the litter box to prevent litter from irritating the cat’s feet. Unfortunately, the unfamiliar litter substitute coupled with the pain cats often feel after surgery when scratching in the litter box can lead cats to stop using the litter box.
Dr. Fitzgerald, who has been practicing veterinary medicine for 30 years, counsels his patients against declawing. However, he isn’t fully on board with a declawing ban. He stated, “If the person – the human owner – is really sick and has an autoimmune disease that a cat scratch may endanger their health, that’s a different story.”
Black notes that she is open to medical exemptions to the declawing ban. She says that Denver Animal Control would be responsible for enforcing the declawing ban if it were to pass.