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Austin-based cat owners can no longer scratch their cats – unless it is for a “therapeutic purpose” – under an ordinance passed by the city council last week.
Joining a growing list of cities and states that have banned the operation, the Texan capital says what many veterinarians and pet lawyers do: stealing is a painful operation with long-lasting physical and behavioral effects that only occur under certain circumstances should be carried out.
The body passed the regulation on Thursday. It prohibits cat’s partial or total stealing, a procedure known as an onychectomy, unless it is good for the cat’s physical health – if it is a “treatment”[es] an existing or recurring disease, infection, disease, injury or abnormal condition affecting the health of the animal “, according to the regulation.
A similar exception is in New York, where veterinarians can still scrape cats if it helps cure a tumor or infection.
No More Injured Cats: #ATXCouncil changes city code to ban the cruel and unnecessary practice of stealing cats for aesthetic reasons. The move protects cats from unnecessary amputations while preserving the veterinarians’ discretion to deal with medical issues. pic.twitter.com/VkIcllvSVj
– City of Austin (@austintexasgov) March 4, 2021
Stealing may be rarer than it used to be as more and more cat protection advocates take action against it. As they will tell you, the surgery really hurts. (It’s the human equivalent of cutting off your fingertips.) Also, cats lose the ability to walk as they did before surgery and what used to be their primary defense mechanism. Sometimes behavior problems also follow.
The story goes on
These are some of the reasons the surgery is already banned in some parts of the country – New York State, Los Angeles, and Denver, for example. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti even wrote a letter to Austin City Council advocating the passage of the ordinance.
“In addition to protecting animals from harm, our regulation has helped foster the growing knowledge and understanding that, in addition to the grossly inhuman process of stealing, de-scratched cats often develop behaviors that make them much less desirable as pets or cripple them for life.” he wrote.
In fact, he attributed the 2009 decryption ban to a 43 percent decrease in the number of cats turned over to the city’s pet services department.
According to KVUE, the city of Austin has been collecting public contributions to ban decryption for about two years. The regulation was passed unanimously.
If you are concerned about your cat scratching – which is normal behavior – there are other options besides stealing. First, you can get your cat a scratching post to protect your couches and pillows. Nail caps that fit over your cat’s small poker can also reduce damage.
CONNECTED: This cat scratching toy has over 6,000 five-star ratings and will keep cats entertained for hours
Have any questions? Ask your vet. You will know what is best.