California Could Soon Make Declawing Cats Illegal

California could soon take a big step to protect cats from being declawed with legislation that would make it illegal statewide.

The bill (AB 1230), which was just introduced by Assemblymember Bill Quirk, would make declawing illegal, unless it’s medically necessary to treat an underlying condition.

Declawing has remained a controversial topic among vets, animal advocates and cat owners, but the fact remains that it isn’t a simple procedure that merely removes a cat’s nails. The procedure, which is formally known as an onychectomy, involves surgically removing the last bone in a cat’s toe to which the nail is attached.

“Declawed cats can suffer long-term physical complications as a result of declawing – it’s not just a fancy manicure. It’s painful, unnecessary, and needs to stop,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “…When this bill becomes law, only licensed veterinarians performing the procedure for specific therapeutic purposes will legally be able to declaw a cat, saving them from a life time of pain and possible lameness.”

Some supporters continue to argue that this surgery helps keep cats in homes, but declawed cats still end up in shelters, and contrary to that argument in the eight cities in California that have banned declawing, the number of cats being surrendered has actually gone down.

“I attribute the decrease in relinquishment of cats to our shelters to the decrease in behavioral problems that are the result of declawing. We strongly believe that a ban on declawing saves the lives of cats,” said the Los Angeles Animal Services Department General Manager, Brenda Barnette.

Sadly, for the cats who become victims of this procedure, they may end up suffering from a number of additional medical and behavioral problems, which can make them even harder to place.

A study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery in 2017 added serious weight to arguments against the practice after becoming one of the first to examine long-term consequences of declawing and concluding that declawed cats were far more likely to avoid the litter box, bite, show aggression and groom themselves excessively. It also found that declawed cats were three times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain, which is likely a result of chronic pain in their paws that causes them to shift their weight.

“Declawing is one of the most painful and unnecessary surgeries in all of veterinary medicine.  We’ve seen what these cats go through. We are veterinarians who are standing up against the status quo because it is the right thing to do. We want veterinary medicine to be about helping animals, not helping couches,” said Dr. Jennifer Conrad, veterinarian and founder of the veterinarian-run nonprofit, Paw Project.

Hopefully this bill will garner enough public support to pass and end this inhumane and unethical procedure being performed on cats for nothing more than their owners’ convenience, and more people who don’t want their cats to scratch will turn to any number of available alternatives, ranging from scratching posts to nail caps.


You can help take a stand for cats by signing and sharing the petition urging lawmakers in California to ban declawing.

You can also help by supporting compassionate vets who put their patients first by refusing to perform mutilating procedures like declawing and devocalization. If you’re looking for a new one, has a list of vets in the U.S. and Canada who have pledged not to declaw.

Photo credit: Getty Images


Leanne K
Leanne K3 months ago

Any vet that is not an anti declawer, needs his license revoked

Leanne K
Leanne K3 months ago

Signed but of course

Mona P
Mona Pietsch4 months ago

Petition signed

Antoinette Keyser
Antoinette Keyser4 months ago

I'm sorry that I have to be the only "party pooper" here, but cats are actually wild animals that belong in the wild. If people want to keep wild animals as pets, they should take the necessary measures to keep those wild animals away from other people's properties and other people's pets. Over the last two to three decades, cats have increasingly become more and more of a pest in society. Just this morning I found my garden ravaged because a fricking cat thought it would be a great idea to use my flower bed as a toilet. A few years ago one of these pests entered my kitchen via a (only a slightly opened) window, terrorized my Yorkie and devoured one of her pups. I'm sorry, I am an animal lover and -activist, but EXCLUDING cats, and I am FOR declawing a cat. DO NOT let a cat come near me. If someone cannot keep their pe(s)t on their own property, then they should not keep the piece of rubbish.

Nicky Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx4 months ago

Kittens are born with their claws and I always heard that men and animals have nothing in excess that is not or was not necessary to stay alive in earlier times. Cats have their claws to climb in trees and catch birds or mice to eat. Although our pet cats have plenty of food, their hunting instinct remained intact, even when their claws were removed. If we do not want that our pet cats scratch our furniture or flooring, provide them with enough scratching poles. This is not a 100 % guarantee that no little accidents may occur, but if your carpets and furniture are so important to you, it is better not to take any pets at all. And neither children. They ruin far more than a little cat or a big dog.
To finalise, I recently heard that some vets can apply a kind of "nylon" protective claws over their own. Comparable to the nails women apply on top of their own. This does not hurt them, and they stay in place for abt. 6 months. Then they fall off or can be removed pain-free. Such intervention costs $ 80, so a yearly cost of $ 160, which I would gladly pay to spare my cat from pain and give her the liberty to climb in trees if she wants to do that. Cats who live in rural areas love to roam around and the males, just as with lions or other wild cats, inspect and defend their territory.

Georgina Elizab M
Georgina Elizab M4 months ago


bob Petermann
bob p4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Lisa S
Lisa Smith4 months ago

As much as I support this concept...I humbly disagree that govt should regulate everything in the free country we live in.

michela c
michela c4 months ago

It should be illegal everywhere!
Petition already signed.

Thomas M
Thomas M4 months ago