A state senator is pushing to make Florida one of two states in the country to ban cat declawing.
Declawing a cat is illegal in Europe and in some U.S. cities, but New York is the only state to impose a similar ban to what’s being proposed in Florida.
Declawing a cat involves amputating a cat’s toes back to the first knuckle, which causes some to argue that declawing cats is cruel.
Dr. Sara Parks with First Coast No More Homeless Pets says declawing has no benefits to a cat.
“Unless there’s an honest medical reason why the cat needs to be declawed like for the cat, the cons far outweigh the benefits,” Parks said.
Parks said that declawing a cat can have long-term health impacts.
“They will shift more of [their weight] to the back, and they end up with arthritis, not just in the front limbs but also in their spines and their hind limbs, she said. "So it’s not just painful in the moment but it’s painful for the rest of their lives.”
If your cat is clawing at furniture or at your skin, Parks says there are some remedies to fixing that, such as putting double-sided tape on your furniture, buying soft paws to cover a cat's claws, or use an odor that cats don’t like on items like furniture.
The bill states that a person may not declaw a cat unless the procedure is necessary for a therapeutic response.
The bill adds that anyone who violates the law would face a civil penalty up to $1,000 for each violation. Licensed veterinarians could face discipline from the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
If it becomes a law, the ban would become effective July 1, 2020.