INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have filed legislation this year to outlaw the declawing of cats, which many animal advocates and some veterinarians say is a cruel deforming of felines’ bodies and impedes their natural instincts to climb and scratch.

Maryland last year joined New York, which prohibited declawing in 2019, as the only states that bar the practice. But some U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh and Allentown, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Denver; Madison, Wisconsin; St. Louis; and eight cities in California have their own bans, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And nearly 40 foreign countries do, too.