Is it legal to declaw a cat in PA (plus more info)?

Yes, it is legal to declaw a cat in PA except in Pittsburgh where it is banned. This is the state’s second largest city with an estimated population of 310,000. For international readers who are unsure ‘PA’ is short for the US state of Pennsylvania. Its capital is Harrisburg. It is a shame Harrisburg is yet to ban it. I believe that the Pittsburgh city council banned declawing citywide on 28th September 2021. If a resident of Pittsburgh wants to declaw their cat they’ll have to go out of town. Hardly a massive inconvenience. But…

Note: this info it I believe correct on November 16th, 2022. Things change.

Pittsburgh city council at work
Pittsburgh city council at work. Image in the public domain believed. Click on the image to see a larger version. They were discussing affordable housing at the time the photo was taken.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

…The Pittsburgh ban is symbolic and it is hoped that other cities in PA ban this obnoxious and entirely unnecessary operation which is far more serious (actually brutal) than many cat owners realise as the vets who carry out the operation have deliberately underplayed its severely by calling it ‘declawing’ (i.e., the mere removal of the claw) when in fact is it a partial amputation of each toe (10 in all) from the last joint.

Picture and words which explain why toes are so important to domestic cats and why they should not be mutilated by veterinarians under the banner 'declawing'.
Picture and words which explain why toes are so important to domestic cats and why they should not be mutilated by veterinarians under the banner ‘declawing’.

I could go on criticising the vets who do this operation, and all the criticism would be justified but I have done it countless times before. Fortunately, there is a drip, drip of American cities who are banning it and even a couple of states have done so – Maryland (2022) and New York (2019). Canada is ahead of America in banning it (see below). It is unfortunate that it has to be legally banned by passing an ordinance or statute. Far better for the vets to simply agree to stop as, if they did, it would be the first time in decades they’d be in compliance with their useless oath.

The other US cities where declawing is banned

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Berkeley, California
  3. Beverly Hills, California
  4. Burbank, California
  5. Denver, Colorado
  6. Madison, Wisconsin
  7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  8. Louis, Missouri
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Santa Monica, California
  11. West Hollywood, California

The first city to ban declawing and lead the way was West Hollywood and the other Californian cities followed.

Provinces in Canada where it is banned

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. Manitoba
  4. New Brunswick
  5. Newfoundland and Labrador
  6. Nova Scotia
  7. Prince Edward Island
  8. Québec (effective February 2024)

Countries where it is banned either through a specific law or under the general animal welfare law

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  5. Brazil
  6. Bulgaria
  7. Cyprus
  8. The Czech Republic
  9. Denmark (does not apply to Greenland or the Faroe Islands)
  10. England
  11. Finland
  12. France
  13. Germany
  14. Greece
  15. Ireland
  16. Israel
  17. Italy
  18. Latvia
  19. Lithuania
  20. Luxembourg
  21. Macedonia
  22. Malta
  23. Montenegro
  24. The Netherlands
  25. New Zealand
  26. Northern Ireland
  27. Norway
  28. Portugal
  29. Romania
  30. Scotland
  31. Serbia
  32. Slovenia
  33. Spain
  34. Sweden
  35. Switzerland
  36. Turkey
  37. Ukraine
  38. Wales

In the UK it is banned under the general law. If a vet did it for the convenience of the owner, they’d be prosecuted for animal cruelty. If all the vets in the US who declaw cats were operating under UK law, they’d be in jail 😎👍.

Here are some articles on declawing. There are in fact hundreds of articles on this topic on PoC. I have been fighting it since 2007. New York State were very brave to ban it. Maryland was the second US state to do so. Well done to both these states.

My great thanks to PETA for compiling the list as I have lost track over the years and there is, as mentioned, a gradual advancement in the number of cities banning it. This list will hopefully be out of date in the not-too-distant future.

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