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.
…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.
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
- Austin, Texas
- Berkeley, California
- Beverly Hills, California
- Burbank, California
- Denver, Colorado
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Louis, Missouri
- San Francisco, California
- Santa Monica, California
- 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
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Québec (effective February 2024)
Countries where it is banned either through a specific law or under the general animal welfare law
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The Czech Republic
- Denmark (does not apply to Greenland or the Faroe Islands)
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
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.
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’