New York has become the first state in the nation to ban the declawing of cats.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation on Monday. The measure had been passed by the Assembly and Senate several weeks ago.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan has described cat declawing as a "brutal surgical procedure."

Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens said declawing is "similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle." He said the procedure has lifelong ramifications for cats.

The New York law takes effect immediately. It bans cat declawing except in circumstances where it's done to address a legitimate medical condition.

People who violate the law could be fined up to $1,000.

Nine cities in the United States, including Los Angeles and Denver, already have made the procedure illegal.

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