BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts and New Hampshire both have legislation on the table that would ban the declawing of cats, except in cases where it is a medical necessity.
The practice used to be much more common, and was often recommended by veterinarians, but Mike Keiley, Director of Adoption and Programs at MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center, tells WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers that's changed.
"Declawing is not to the medical benefit of the animal, and therefore is not something that we recommend," Keiley said. "If somebody were to say that they were interested in declawing a cat that they were adopting, we'd decline the adoption."
Declawing amputates the bone to the first knuckle. It's painful for the cat, and can cause behavioral issues.
"To be able to express normal behavior, they really do need to scratch," Keiley said.
It has become less and less prevalent over the years, as animal rights groups protested it. New York became the first state to ban the procedure last year.
Some vets, though, say declawing can have a place. Dr. Heather Shosho of the Beverly Animal Hospital said she's never performed the procedure herself, but said it could be a last resort if the cat is causing serious damage and no other treatments have worked.
"If they've tried medications and scratching posts and routinely cutting nails and they plan on surrendering a cat, then I think that it's a discussion that the veterinarian can have with the owner," she said. "We aren't performing declaws unless the animal is going to be surrendered, and with such a high population of unwanted animals, we'd like to decrease that also."
Public hearings for the New Hampshire bill started Thursday, while the Massachusetts bill was just sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@_madisonrogers) reports