Ann Arbor, MI (May 31, 2023)HB 4674 introduced last week by State Representative Jimmy Wilson, Jr. of Ypsilanti would make Michigan the third state to make declawing cats illegal. The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) hopes it will pass…well, right meow.

“Some believe declawing helps keep cats in homes, but our statistics show otherwise,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s CEO.

“We see so many declawed cats suffering from chronic pain,” says Hilgendorf. “We’ve also seen plenty of X-rays of declawed cats whose surgeries were done very poorly causing nerve damage and bone spurs. Even those done by highly skilled surgeons commonly suffer back pain, arthritis, infection and/or necrosis.”

The word “declaw” is misleading and sounds harmless, but actually involves amputating all or part of the toe. It is not only a painful surgery to recover from, but research shows declawing often leads to a lifetime of pain and can increase biting, inappropriate litterbox usage, and aggression—which can increase the chance the cat will be surrendered to a shelter or euthanized.

“Owners may think their cat is being ‘bad’ by doing things like not using the litterbox or biting,” says Hilgendorf, “but they’re really trying to let you know they don’t feel well. Without expertise, it can be hard to read pain in a cat—they tell you through their behavior. ”

Declawing cats is already banned in New York, Maryland, several cities, and 42 countries.

“We are so grateful to Representative Wilson for his compassion and forward thinking, and hope this will quickly become law,” says Hilgendorf.

HSHV reminds people that scratching is an instinctual and necessary feline behavior, and there are many strategies that can be used to prevent damage to furniture. See more on the HSHV website. 




About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website( on our annual report(