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Cats get to keep their claws with new Austin city ordinance

Austin became the first Texas city to ban the declawing of cats for non-therapeutic purposes after a unanimous City Council ruling on Thursday.


The order restricts any owner from doing so for convenience or aesthetic purposes, but owners and vets can still elect to have their cats declawed if needed for the pet's medical condition. Pet owners usually declaw their cats to keep them from ripping up furniture or scratching people and other pets, but the action can have serious consequences.

The act of declawing, which can be considered an amputation, has been banned in 20 countries for the lifetime of pain it can cause in cats. Instead of just removing claws, the traditional procedure takes a bone out of each of the pet's toes. As a result, longstanding wounds can occur, the cat may need to relearn how to walk correctly, and in many instances, the pet could undergo permanent behavioral changes.

Cities such as Los Angeles and New York City have already passed bans on declawing cats, but Austin is the first city in Texas to implement the rule.

Austinites took to social media to give their reactions to the new ruling.

Austin Pets Alive! rejoiced that cats are no longer subject to the "painful and unnecessary" practice and highlighted a former rescue, Grandma Hugs, who suffered from the side effects of declawing.

Alley Cat Allies, the self-proclaimed "global engine of change for cats," also expressed their support on the ruling.


Austin is now the 11th U.S. city to ban declawing.

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