New York has become the first state to ban the practice of cat declawing. Declawing surgery removes a cat's claws to eliminate the possibility of scratching. Many owners have chosen to have their cats declawed to keep their pets from scratching furniture or people. The procedure requires the amputation of the last knuckle of each front toe on a cat’s paw, and it has been deemed as inhumane by many animal activists and welfare groups, because the painful surgery “may result in permanent lameness, arthritis, and other long-term complications.” (The Paw Project, About Declawing)
New York Bill No. A01303B labels cat declawing as a punishable civil penalty not exceeding $1,000. Several other states are considering similar laws. Both Massachusetts and New Jersey have pending legislation.