Bill to ban cat declawing introduced in Illinois State Capitol

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – A bill that would ban cat declawing and similar procedures has been introduced in the State Capitol. If the bill passes, anyone who violates it could pay $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second and $2,500 for the third. 

“I bet a pound of catnip many owners that know how painful and inhumane this action is to cats,” Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), the bill’s sponsor, said on Twitter. “Declawing a cat just because someone doesn’t want them to scratch the furniture is unacceptable.”

The decision of whether to declaw a cat is one many cat owners including Becca Bebar, the hospital manager of Northgate Pet Clinic, have faced. 

“Growing up, I had cats and we always just declawed them because my parents were like, ‘We don’t want them tearing up our furniture,’” Bebar said. 

When she moved out on her own, Bebar had older cats that had been declawed.

“Then when I adopted a new one, I was like, ‘Well, I don’t want there to be an unfair advantage’ so I got that one declawed as well,” Bebar said. 

But Bebar’s other two cats aren’t.

“Then I started thinking about it, and I was like ‘I don’t really like the idea of declawing,’ so I’m just going to kind of keep going down that spiral,” Bebar said.

Compared to her other two cats, Bebar said the one with no claws behaves differently. 

“If anybody moves or kind of touches her, she gets really freaked out and then runs away, she really will only come to me and not anybody else in my family, versus my other two [and they] could absolutely care less and we’ll go up to anybody who even comes into the house” Bebar said.

Dr. Larry Baker, a veterinarian and dental specialist at Northgate Pet Clinic, said he wouldn’t encourage people to declaw their cats. 

“The best reason to declaw a cat is an owner that has their cat likes their cat, gets along with their family well, and they’re ruining their furniture, and the owner says, ‘I am going to have to get rid of this cat or have them declawed,’ then to me, there’s no question about it. I would declaw rather than have them get rid of the cat,” Baker said.

But for cat owners who are tired of the scratching but don’t want to declaw their cats, Baker said there are some alternatives.

“One is they can trim the nails themselves,” Baker said. “Secondly, there are little claw tips that are made of plastic they could put on the claws and glue on the nails so the cat can’t scratch.”

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