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Madison Wisconsin Bans Declawing Cats

The inhumane practice of declawing cats has officially been banned in the capital city of Madison, Wisconsin as of December 7, 2021.

declaw ban

Following a unanimous vote by Madison’s city council last Tuesday, declawing cats for elective, non-medical reasons is now illegal — effective immediately. Anyone who violates the ban could be subject to fines up to $2,000.

The ordinance was sponsored by Alder Lindsay Lemmer with the support of several animal welfare groups including Alley Cat Allies, The Paw Project, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the Madison Cat Project.

“I am overjoyed my colleagues listened to the latest research, to veterinarians, and to our community, and made the humane choice to support the ban on elective cat declawing,” Lemmer told Veterinary Practice News. “Declawing a cat is a cruel and outdated procedure. How we treat animals speaks to our deepest values.”


Declawing cats is one of the most controversial surgical procedures performed by veterinarians today. So controversial, in fact, that countless people consider it a cruel form of mutilation. It’s illegal in many parts of the world, including England, Australia, Germany, Finland, Brazil, and many other countries. It’s also outlawed in more than a dozen cities in the United States including Denver, Colorado, and St. Louis, and even a few states — New York, California, Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island — where it’s considered inhumane.

The recovery from a declaw surgery results in excruciating pain for the cat. A cat’s claws are vital – they are not only a defense mechanism – they provide balance, mobility, exercise, and stretch, and they allow him to mark his territory.

To understand why declawing is so very controversial, we need to understand exactly what’s involved in the procedure. It’s not merely a trimming of the claws. Declawing is the surgical removal of the claws – but also, to prevent the regrowth of those claws, the entire first joint of each toe is amputated.

The procedure often results in permanent, lifelong impacts on a cat’s health, both physically and mentally.

There are plenty of humane alternatives to declawing.

Would you support a similar ban in your city or state? To get involved, first, look for a paw-friendly veterinarian who won’t declaw cats. Then, join the Paw Project to help them get out their message that Paws Need Claws.

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