Declawing is banned in 22 countries as a form of animal abuse. In 2017, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) issued their position that it “opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing.” In 2017, Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to officially ban the practice. It is also banned in British Colombia, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador.
What is declawing exactly?
Declawing, or “onychectomy,” is an amputation of the end bones of cat’s toes and is a major surgery. This is the equivalent of a human losing the top of each finger at the first knuckle.
What are the risks of declawing?
Unlike most animals that walk on the soles of their paws, cats walk on their toes. This means declawed cats often have trouble walking or exercising properly because they have lost bones, tendons, and ligaments in their feet. Recovery from declawing can be painful for cats — some cats never walk properly again, develop arthritis or bad posture, and declawed cats are three times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain.
Declawing also results in emotional and psychological effects as they develop negative behaviours. For humans, that means you may be exchanging one negative behaviour — scratching furniture — for others.
Research* has shown that declawed cats are:
- Seven times more likely to eliminate waste outside the litter box
- Four times more likely to bite
- Three times more likely to be aggressive
- Three times more likely to overgroom
*Nicole K Martell-Moran, Mauricio Solano, Hugh GG Townsend. Pain and adverse behavior in declawed cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 2017.