Cat declawing, a practice that has been labeled as "amputation" by veterinarians, may become a thing of the past in New York.
Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill in the state Senate that would prohibit declawing cats, unless it's done for medical reasons, such as removing a tumor. The bill is the first of its kind in the country.
"It's like taking off your first knuckle," Rosenthal told the New York Daily News. "(Cats) are born with claws and they are meant to have claws. It's cruel to remove them for the sake of human convenience and saving your furniture."
While groups like The Humane Society of the United States, PETA and ASPCA all strongly oppose declawing cats because the surgery is painful and has no medical benefit, the American Veterinary Medical Association says that it should be used only when all other attempts to curb scratching have failed.
According to the anti-declawing group The Paw Project, 25 to 43 percent of all cats in American homes are declawed. Animal advocates say that the surgery can lead to foot problems and infection, and that alternatives like scratching posts and regular claw trimming are a better solution.
Backed by the Humane Society and The Paw Project, the bill will head to the state Senate.
Rosenthal also introduced a bill to ban tattooing and piercing pets, which was signed into law last month.