I recently met some of my significant other's friends who live in another state and are preparing to move. They mentioned that they wouldn't be able to take their cat to their new apartment without declawing it.

I was floored. Is that really something a landlord can legally require a pet owner to do?

I have my own cat, who sprung into my life about seven months ago. I can't imagine finding a great place for us to move to and a landlord demanding I mutilate my cat in order to keep her in my life.

Jacob Harrison - Townsquare Media
Jacob Harrison - Townsquare Media
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She's registered as my emotional support animal by my therapist, but you're telling me some landlords would have me sever that trust with my pet?

Well, since I know I won't be in my current apartment forever, I had to see if it was remotely a possibility for a landlord here in Michigan to ask this of me or any other cat owner and get away with it.

What does it mean to declaw a cat?

For those who aren't cat owners, or simply don't know, declawing a cat is one of the worst things you can do to a cat. While I'm also not on board with docking a dog's tail or clipping their ears, the comparison is not in the same ballpark as some seem to believe.

From the Human Society:

Declawing is the amputation of the last bone of each toe on a cat’s paw. It would be like cutting off your finger at the last knuckle. The standard method of declawing is amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper.

There are ways to ensure your cat won't scratch your couch or furniture. Probably the easiest way is to invest in a bottle of "Don't Scratch Spray" - which you can buy at a retailer that sells pet supplies.

What's the law on declawing cats?

Declawing cats is illegal in two states, New York and Maryland, and several cities in California. However, several states are looking to outlaw the practice.

Michigan introduced a law last fall that could one day ban the practice in the Mitten State.

As for landlords demanding it, several sources across the internet indicate that this isn't a legal practice anywhere in America. This goes doubly for emotional support animals, which are not bound to restrictions imposed by landlords.

If you face a landlord aiming to impose such a restriction, this website shows you some helpful tips on how to potentially get around it. You could also effort to get the Fair Housing office in your area to handle the situation with the landlord directly.

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Why do they meow? Why do they nap so much? Why do they have whiskers? Cats, and their undeniably adorable babies known as kittens, are mysterious creatures. Their larger relatives, after all, are some of the most mystical and lethal animals on the planet. Many questions related to domestic felines, however, have perfectly logical answers. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions related to kittens and cats, and the answers cat lovers are looking for.

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