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Proposed bill could ban declawing cats in Michigan

Cat with his little paws up
Tony Wang

Legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives could make the state the second to ban the practice of declawing cats.

The first state to pass such legislation was New York.

House Bill 5508 prohibits an individual from performing “an onychectomy, a partial or complete phalangectomy, or a tendonectomy procedure, or any other surgical procedure that prevents normal functioning of the claws…unless the procedure is needed for a therapeutic purpose.”

The practice of declawing cats is not so simple as just removing the claw. The procedure involves amputating the last bone of each cat’s toe. Instead of clipping your fingernails, it would be like cutting off your first knuckle on each finger. 

Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights) is the representative sponsoring the bill. He says he thinks if the bill passes, there will be a lot more happy cats in Michigan.


“This isn’t just a surgery, and then once they heal everything is fine. Obviously, it’s a brutal practice, there’s severe post surgery pain that lasts for years to follow," he says. "In some cats there are behavioral changes such as aggression, some refuse to use the litter box, and back pain because it literally changes the way a cat walks.”

The bill has received bipartisan support in the house so far. It has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee for consideration. 

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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