Cats in New York are free to scale couches, window screens and curtains with their claws unclipped.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday that bans cat declawing, making New York the first state to outlaw the practice.
"By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures," Cuomo said in a statement.
The bill, passed by the state assembly in June, will take effect immediately, according to the governor's office.
Removing a cat's claws requires the partial amputation of the last bone in each of the toes on a cat's front feet. The governor's office said cats often strain their leg joints and spine in response to the removal, which can result in chronic pain.
In the statement, senate deputy leader Michael Gianaris compared the procedure to severing a human finger at the knuckle.
"Cats' claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives," the bill reads. "When a person has its animal declawed, usually in an attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal both physically and in behavioral ways."
The bill makes exceptions for "therapeutic purposes," or when the declawing would benefit the cat's health.