Montreal SPCA wants a ban on declawing cats

Montreal's SPCA says it's time to consider a ban on declawing cats in Quebec.

The group has launched a petition drive on its web site aimed at pressuring the Quebec Order of Veterinarians to ban the practice, saying amputating the paw tips of cats is cruel, invasive and unnecessary.

"The term 'declawing' is misleading because the surgery in question consists in completely amputating of the third phalanx of each of a cat’s toes," the text of the SPCA's petition reads. "It would be the equivalent, for a human, of having the last knuckle removed from all ten fingertips!"

It points out that four provinces — Nova Scotia, B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. — have already banned the practice, and bans are being considered in Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

It also says declawing bans exist in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia, among many other countries.

Meanwhile, a survey of Quebec veterinarians suggests the majority are in favor of a ban — the survey taken by the Order shows 61 per cent think there should be a ban. That figure rises to 88 per cent among vets under the age of 30.

The Order itself, however, is cool to the idea — the Order's president, Dr. Caroline Kilsdonk, says she prefers to go the awareness and education route with the public. The Order has launched a campaign of its own, urging its members to become aware of surgery alternatives.