Cat Declawing Ban (Illinois)

H.B. 1533

This bill would prohibit cat declawing in Illinois, with an exemption for the rare cases when the surgery is performed for a legitimate therapeutic purpose.


June 21, 2023

Work Type




​​The Animal Legal Defense Fund​ supports ​this bill.​

Sponsors:​ State Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-50)
​Introduction Date:​ January 27, 2023

The Cat Declaw Ban, H.B. 1533, would amend the Humane Care for Animals Act to prohibit cat declawing in Illinois. Specifically, this bill provides that a person shall not perform surgical claw removal, declawing, or a tendonectomy on any cat, or otherwise alter a cat’s toes, claws, or paws to prevent or impair their normal function, except for a legitimate therapeutic purpose. The bill would impose civil penalties for violations of the ban, which would increase with subsequent violations.

Declawing is an invasive surgical procedure in which the last bone of each of a cat’s toes is amputated — similar to severing a human finger at the last knuckle. It is commonly performed for human convenience rather than for the cat’s well-being. For example, many people have their cats declawed to prevent them from scratching furniture. Besides post-surgical pain and the inability to perform natural behaviors such as scratching, there are other negative implications for well-being associated with declawing.

New York and Maryland are the first U.S. states to ban declawing cats. Many large cities have jurisdictional bans, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Madison, West Hollywood, Austin, Denver, Beverly Hills, and Berkeley.

​​Why is this law important? ​If enacted, this legislation would protect countless cats in Illinois 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).