Cat Declawing Now Banned In Denver, Colorado

It’s official in Denver, Colorado–veterinarians are now banned from declawing cats unless the procedure is medically necessary.


Veterinarian Aubrey Lavizzo is the leader of the Paw Project and vet who proposed the ban on declawing cats in Denver, Colorado. She’s gotten her wish, and what she calls a compassionate victory for cats, as the Denver City Council has officially banned vets from performing onychectomies (declawing) on cats unless there is a medical necessity.


Related: Claws Are Coming Out In The Battle Over Cat Declawing


Denver joins a small and exclusive group of American cities who currently enforce declawing bans, but the United States as a whole is on the back end of banning the practice as many other first world countries already have.


Kristen Butler is a veterinary technician in Denver and told the city council that contrary to people thinking that declawing a cat is a simple procedure, it is not. She said that it essentially is like cutting off each finger of a human at their last knuckle, and watching it in surgery is a disheartening feeling.


Declawing cats can also present long-term lameness and behavior issues, and may even make it harder for a cat to use the litter box. There can be residual pain in the paw, infection and even back pain. Taking the cats’ claws also changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground and can cause pain for the rest of its life. Additionally, it can cause bone spurs and nerve damage.


Related: Study: Declawing Cats Has Long-Term Impact on Behavior


Many veterinarians in Denver have already voluntarily stopped declawing surgeries, but now the law will ensure it doesn’t happen without penalty. And while some veterinarians nationwide worry that a ban altogether on declawing will actually result in more cats who are homeless and in shelters because people will not take them as pets, proponents of the ban believe that there are enough humans who believe that cats should be loved claws and all.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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