Denver has just become the first city outside of California to pass legislation banning the practice of declawing cats.

The bill, which was passed unanimously by the city council on Monday, only applies to elective declawing – conducting the surgery for medical reasons is still legal.

While eight California cities have banned declawing since 2003, New Jersey became the first state to approve legislation that would ban the controversial procedure entirely in November 2016.

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Animal welfare organizations oppose the surgery because it’s a painful procedure that is typically done to save furniture despite many cats displaying physical and mental complications in the years following the operation. Over 20 other countries in the world have already adopted declawing bans because it’s considered animal cruelty.

Some pet owners and projects opposed the bill because they believe that the reasons behind such an act is between an animal caregiver and their veterinarian.

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However, studies show that declawed cats have increased chances of being relinquished to shelters – and thus euthanasia – because of behavioral tendencies that follow declawing, such as soiling the carpet and increased aggression. In contrast, some organizations have worried that pet owners would be more likely to relinquish their cats if they were unable to remove the claws for whatever reason.

Fortunately, since New Jersey announced their plans to ban declawing last year, there have reportedly been no spikes in animal shelter intake.

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