Is it legal to declaw cats in California?

Yes, it is legal to declaw cats in California except within the jurisdiction of eight cities where the declawing of cats is banned. These cities are listed below together with details such as the date on which the ban was instigated:

CityWhen BannedVotingPop. of City
West Hollywood20035/035,000
Santa Monica27/10/20096/1100,000
San Francisco3/11/20099/2810,000
Beverly Hills5/11/20095/040,000
Los Angeles6/11/200911/04 million
Berkeley10/11/20099/0125,000
Culver City24/11/20095/039,000
Burbank08/12/20094/1100,000


California is well ahead of the rest of the USA in terms of its attitude towards declawing although two states are debating bans on this operation one of which is New York. It is a shame that a statewide ban was not instigated in California. The momentum was lost after the declawing bans in the cities listed.

People who detest cat declawing are awaiting another major initiative from a courageous jurisdiction either at city, county or ideally state level to reinvigorate the campaign in the hope that the ban will one day be nationwide.


I’d like to write a few words about cat declawing and why it is objectionable. If you are searching for a veterinarian within California who would agree to declaw your cat I would urge you, please, to reconsider. There are numerous reasons why you should reconsider. The first of which is that this is not a declawing operation in a strict sense. It isn’t just a claw which is removed but the bone within which the claw is embedded. This is the last part of a cat’s toe beyond the last joint. The cat has to suffer 10 amputations which is incredibly painful despite painkillers being administered. There’s a very high level of botched surgery because of a careless attitude towards the operation by many veterinarians.

There is, I would argue, a much higher percentage than is realized of long-term consequences to declawing which negatively impact the life of the declawed cat such as arthritis, abnormal gait, continuing pain, shards of bone left inside their paws, regrowth of claws, psychological problems, biting, aggression and so on and so forth. Cat owners need to investigate declawing very carefully. If you wander into a veterinarian’s clinic and casually ask about declawing many veterinarians will gently encourage it because it is a money spinner when they are actually obliged to discourage it under their agreement with the AVMA

I could go on and write page upon page about this operation but I won’t. It would bore you. I will simply ask that you do your research on the operation and reappraise your desire to declaw your cat. If you use the search facility on this website you will find hundreds of pages on cat declawing. All of them are against it because it is a bad operation. It is an immoral operation. It is an aberration which should never have gained traction in the United States. Over 30 countries ban the operation. It is unheard of in countries where it is not banned. It is only in the USA and Canada where it takes place for the owner’s convenience. I hope that you will reflect on that.

3 thoughts on “Is it legal to declaw cats in California?”

  1. Thanks for continuing to educate people about how barbaric and harmful this practice is for cats. I am going to find out how to get this in front of my legislators.

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