Cat Declawing Ban (Pennsylvania)

H.B. 508/S.B. 1178

This bill would ban cat declawing procedures, except for therapeutic purposes.


May 9, 2024

Work Type




The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports this bill.

Sponsor: House Bill lead sponsor Rep Liz Hanbidge (D-61) and Senate Bill lead sponsor Sen Carolyn Comitta (D-19)
Introduction Dates:
House Bill: March 17, 2023
Senate Bill: April 22, 2024

This bill, H.B. 508/S.B. 1178, would prohibit the declawing of cats unless the procedure is medically necessary for a therapeutic purpose and performed by a licensed veterinarian. Under this measure, declawing for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, as well as for reasons of human convenience, would be strictly prohibited.

Declawing is an invasive surgical procedure in which the last bone of each toe is amputated, similar to severing a human finger at the last knuckle. The procedure is commonly performed for human convenience — often to protect furniture — rather than for the cat’s well-being. Declawing causes significant post-surgical pain and leads to a cat’s inability to scratch, eliminating a critical natural behavior. This can cause lifelong physical problems and lead to behavioral issues, such as biting and aggression, which the cat may resort to because they have been stripped of their primary defense mechanism.

Similar legislation has been enacted in three U.S. states — New York, Maryland, and Virginia — as well as numerous large cities that have jurisdictional bans such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Madison, West Hollywood, Austin, Denver, Beverly Hills, and Berkeley. In Pennsylvania, communities such as Allentown, Easton, Etna, and Pittsburgh have successfully passed local laws to prohibit declaw procedures.

Why is this bill important? If enacted, this legislation would protect countless cats in Pennsylvania from being subjected to a painful and unnecessary surgical procedure, while still allowing declawing in the rare cases when it is necessary for the health of the cat, such as in the treatment of cancer of the nail bed.

Coalition Support: The Humane Society of the United States; Paw Project

For more information about animal protection legislation in Pennsylvania and opportunities to take action for animals, visit

Sign Up!

Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund's email list to stay up to date on lawsuits, legislation, and regulations affecting animals.

Sign Up Now