Illinois bill would ban declawing cats

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:21 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The debate about declawing household cats heats up in Illinois.

House Bill 1533 would allow the state to fine anyone who alters a cat’s claws in any circumstance. Fines could reach up to $2,500.

Some veterinarians warn if the bill becomes law, it would put the life of a cat in jeopardy.

“This bill does really put cats at risk for abandonment or euthanasia and we would really like to see some modifications so we can have a discretionary clause that if we do find it necessary, we can pursue this avenue,” said Illinois State Veterinarian Medical Association president Joanne Carlson. “The main reason why we are opposing it is does not give us any discretionary options as far as a very special unique situation.”

Carlson says usually declawing is a last resort. However, Amber Pinnon with Winnebago County Animal Services, says she supports the ban because of the impact the declawing surgery has on the future of a cat’s health.

“We see a lot of issues that happen because of that, whether that’s arthritis later,” Pinnon said. “We see cats having litter box issues or resorting to biting.”

Pinnon says a cat’s claws aren’t a bad thing and shouldn’t be taken away from them.

“We don’t stop dogs from barking even though it’s annoying and take away their ability to bark,” Pinnon said. “So same thing with cats and claws, they still have those. That’s still part of their nature and instincts and it makes them a happy, healthy cat.”

Pinnon says the process of declawing is very invasive. She recommends all cat owners do research on other options, such as frequent nail trimmings and buying scratching posts.