BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing a ban on the practice of declawing cats.

Supporters of the measure say declawing is cruel and painful. They say cats rely on their paws and claws to groom themselves and to help protect and defend their bodies. The practice involves amputating a cat's toes to the first knuckle.

A bill that would prohibit declawing is scheduled for a public hearing at the Statehouse on Monday before the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

Lawmakers in New York last month voted to approve a bill banning the declawing of cats. The bill was sent to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe and in several Canadian provinces, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.

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