Is It Illegal to Declaw Cats in New Jersey?
Hey fellow cat people! If you're thinking of getting your kitty declawed, you should read this first.
A few years ago when I was moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, I was browsing different apartments to move into. As a cat mama, I had to look for places that allowed pets. I remember finding an apartment that I really liked that allowed cats, but then I saw something in the description that stopped me right in my tracks: "Cats must be declawed." It was a firm, immediate nope for me.
But I can remember thinking to myself: "I thought it was illegal to declaw cats!" Turns out I was only partially right - but not by a lot.
What does it mean to declaw a cat?
A lot of people are under the misconception that declawing is necessary, harmless and non-painful. It's important to understand just how wrong these misconceptions are.
According to CatFriendly.com:
"Feline declawing is an elective and ethically controversial procedure, which is NOT medically necessary for cats in most instances. Declawing entails the amputation of a cat’s third phalanx [P3], or third ‘toe bone.’
Imagine someone cutting off the first knuckle of your fingers. The one right below your finger nail. That's what declawing is for cats. You don't want that, do you? Neither does your cat.
So is it illegal to declaw cats in New Jersey?
Unfortunately, the answer is No. Not yet, anyway. There are only two states that outlaw the declawing in the United States. The first was New York in 2019, followed by Maryland in 2022. But there is hope for New Jersey.
New Jersey Bill A2578 proposes that if enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. (New section) a. No person shall perform, or cause to be performed, an onychectomy (declawing) or flexor tendonectomy procedure by any means on a cat or other animal, unless the procedure is deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian. A person who violates this provision shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
As a cat mom of two, I'm no stranger to cat scratches. Neither is my furniture. But personally I wouldn't ever consider declawing them for even half a second. The healthiest thing to do for your cat is to give them regular trimmings and plenty of scratch posts to play with to spare your furniture.
By the way, here's my cat Lucky with his cool claws!
Here's to hoping declawing becomes banned in New Jersey as soon as possible!