Cat declawing banned in BC

Effective immediately, the practice of declawing cats has been banned in the province of British Columbia by the College of Veterinarians.

BC has become the second province to outlaw the procedure, with Nova Scotia banning it back in March.

Dr. Ellen Nicklassen of the Kelowna Veterinary Hospital says the procedure has fallen out of favor with many cat owners in recent years.

“There’s no medical reason to do it in a generally healthy pet,” says Dr. Nicklassen. “When you’re doing a declaw, what you’re actually doing is amputating the last digit of every toe of the paw. We don’t like cutting off toes for no other reason than because the owner doesn’t want to teach an animal how to scratch appropriately or provide them with a scratching place.”

There will be exceptions for cats that need to be declawed in order to survive.

In cases where the surgery has gone wrong, cats have developed severe infections and nerve damage in their paws.

With declawing no longer an option, Dr. Nicklassen says cat owners will need to take the time to actually train their cats to not scratch up furniture, curtains, or other people.

“I liken it to a dog bite: you teach your dog not to bite, but you don’t take out all of its teeth.”