Victory! Denver Bans Declawing Cats

Denver, Colo. just became the first city outside of California to†stand up for cats and ban cruel declawing procedures.

This week the Denver City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that bans declawing, unless it is deemed medically necessary to treat an underlying issue that would otherwise cause cats harm or pain.

While declawing remains a controversial topic, the fact remains that it isnít a simple procedure that merely removes a catsí nails. Rather, the procedure, which is formally known as an onychectomy, involves surgically removing the last joint in a catís toe to which the nail is attached. For cats, itís a ten-toe amputation.

Some have†likened the procedure to cutting off the last joint of our fingers, but that doesn’t even equate, since we donít walk on our hands.

Sadly, cats continue to become victims of this cruel and unnecessary procedure because they scratch our furniture or us. Their advocates continue to point out that it’s a natural and necessary behavior for cats who do it to mark their territory, maintain their nails and stretch, whether we like it or not.

Some supporters of this procedure argue that this surgery helps keep cats from being dumped in shelters, and that if declawing is banned more will be surrendered or abandoned. However, according to Brenda Barnette, the General Manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services Department, who supported the ordinance in Denver, in the five years since†LA passed its declawing ban, the number of surrendered cats actually dropped by 43.4 percent.

For declawed cats who do find themselves in need of a new home, their physical and behavioral problems may be worse, making them even more difficult to place. Without their claws, they may turn to biting as a defense mechanism and start avoiding the litter box because pawing is painful. They may also suffer from chronic pain; declawing has been linked to aggression and chronic back pain, and the procedure itself can go horrifyingly wrong.

Fortunately, progress continues to be made on the issue. Since 2003, several cities in California have banned the procedure, other states have put forward similar measures, and it’s been banned entirely in several other countries around the world.

Hopefully the information that came to light and increased awareness about the issue brought about by Denver’s vote will help encourage other areas to take a similar stand. In the meantime, we can help by promoting the use of safe, humane and effective alternatives that range from scratching posts and deterrents like Sticky Paws to nail trimming or using plastic nail caps like Soft Paws, among other options.

We can also help companion animals by asking our vets if they perform controversial and inhumane procedures, such as declawing and devocalization, and finding a new vet if they do. If youíre looking for a new one, has of vets in both the U.S. and Canada who have pledged not to declaw.

Take Action!

Join more than 100,000 people in calling for a ban on declawing across the U.S.†Pet owners shouldn’t resort to this painful procedure — there are many more humane alternatives.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Sonia M
Sonia M2 months ago

Good news thanks for sharing

Pat P
Pat P2 months ago

Absolute barbarism and should be considered a criminal mutilation, as in the U.K.! No reputable animal organization supports this sickening practice, anywhere. Most developed countries completely ban it--other than Canada and the U.S. WHY NOT?!

There are many ways to prevent scratching and/or provide an area where it is allowed, inside or outside. Do your research and keep doing it, until you discover a solution! I have had some expensive furniture, initially, clawed in a few areas--but my cat is a living being, so I wouldn't even consider amputation! Like a few others, I knew that I would, eventually, find a way to make our relationship livable and lovable, without harming her. All my cats have kept all their parts whole and my life delightful!

Sharon B
Sharon B3 months ago

Thank You!

Christina M
Christina M3 months ago

Thinking that declawing cats can make them more adoptable is barbaric. Cats are companion animals. They are not here for us they are here with us. If they're hurting their owner - said owner should research cat behavior. There is no such thing as a bad cat, just a cat with different needs. Try buying gloves instead of sawing off the cat's fingers down to the knuckle. Teach small children not to harass a cat until it gets hurt. The extent that people will go to to modify animals for the sake of human comfort is disturbing. Then we get surprised when people try to modify humans for human comfort :) what a world.

Christina M
Christina M3 months ago

Go denver!

Ellie M
Ellie M3 months ago


Jenny G
Jenny G3 months ago

Fantastic news!

Kathy K
Kathy K3 months ago

Yay! Now everyone else needs to do the same.

Sheila D
Sheila D3 months ago

There is no way to justify this cruel surgery. If you have a problem with a cat's claws, then don't get a cat.

Antje S
Antje S3 months ago

Thank you - one step further to ending this cruel, painful and unnecessary practice worldwide