Skip to content

Cat declawing now banned in the province

Cat declawing or partial digital amputation is banned in more than 10 countries
Veterinarians who are members of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association can no longer perform partial digital amputation or declawing on cats.

SASKATOON —The practice of partial digital amputation on cats is now banned in the province after the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association passed a bylaw banning the act. PDA is more commonly known as declawing or onychectomy.

SVMA Registrar and chief executive officer Greg Parks said the new bylaw was passed by their membership during their annual general meeting held early this month.

Parks told that the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association had already published a position statement on the said procedure where they oppose the non-therapeutic means of declawing of domestic cats.

“This new bylaw is in keeping with many other [VMA’s] across Canada and other countries that have similar legislation. The [CVMA] has a published position statement regarding this procedure, along with additional supporting information on this issue,” Parks said.

“As this is a Bylaw, any contravention from the performance of such a surgery could lead to discipline actions according to our professional legislation (Veterinarians Act 1987 and SVMA Bylaws).”

Scratching is part of a cat’s normal behaviour and alternatives to declawing are available. The CVMA is also encouraging veterinarians to educate their clients on strategies that provide an alternative to declawing.

The CVMA said PDA is “ethically unacceptable when performed without comprehensive client education including a thorough review of available alternatives, as the surgery has the potential to cause unnecessary and avoidable pain.”

Saskatoon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Partnership Development Coordinator Jemma Omidian welcomed SVMA’s decision of banning the act.

“We are thrilled by this advancement in animal welfare for our province,” she said. “As an organization we have always been opposed to the declawing procedure, as it can be extremely painful and cause lifelong damage and pain to the animal. So, the news that this procedure is no longer legal in our province is wonderful.”

She added that they always try to educate cat owners on the issue of declawing.

“For people who are concerned about cat claws, we always try to educate on alternatives to declawing, such as frequent nail trims, temporary nail covers and providing plenty of scratching posts and environment enrichment.”

Declawing involves amputating the last bone of a cat’s each toe, a surgical procedure that has no proven medical benefit to our feline friends. If it will be done to humans, it would be like cutting off each finger to the knuckle.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal. Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom — England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales — are the countries that had already banned cat declawing.