A bill that would ban the practice of declawing cats in New York was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

New York is now the first state to ban the procedure.

The practice of declawing a cat is considered harmful and requires the removal of most or all of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, as well as tendons, nerves and ligaments. The removal can lead to pain for cats and a change in their gait, making it harder for them to maintain balance.

“Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures.”

The measure was a long-sought one for Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

“Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple, and with so many low-cost and pain-free alternatives available, there is no reason to allow this barbaric practice to continue, not here in New York or anywhere,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful day for the cats of the state and the people who love them. Now that my bill has become law, New York has been catapulted onto the leaderboard of humane states, and we expect other states to quickly follow in out footsteps.”