Ban on cat declawing could come to Florida

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Florida may soon ban cat declawing.

The procedure, which involves surgically removing a cat’s claws from its paws, is controversial, with some saying the practice is inhumane.

Lauryn Gill, manager of the Bay County Humane Society, says, if you can’t handle the claws, don’t get a cat.

“If you really want that cat but don’t want to mess up your furniture, maybe look into a different pet in the meantime,” she said.

She also said while it’s not painful to some cats, it can be very much so to others. A Panama City veterinarian agreed.

“If you can imagine taking off the tip of your toes basically and then [saying], ‘hey go around and walk on that, you can imagine the amount of pain that they go through,” said Dr. Darren Ruff of Bay Animal Hospital.

Dr. Ruff says there are less painful alternatives, like nail caps, which can save a cat’s claws and the new furniture.

If the proposed ban becomes law, pushed for by state senator Lauren Book, it would mean vets would be fined a thousand dollars for performing the procedure, unless medically necessary.

Some people argue that declawing should be an option for pet owners, in order to prevent abandonment or euthanasia.

Gill says the ban could actually help to bring fewer cats to the shelter, because of fewer behavioral issues as a result of the procedure.

“People wouldn’t be doing that serious surgery, ” she said. and then [saying], ‘oh I need to bring in my cat because it has these issues.'”

“Just like chronic pain in people, it really changes their personalities,” said Dr. Ruff.

The bill has been proposed for the 2020 legislative session.

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