Save Cat Claws! No More Declawing!

It is documented that dogs do more damage to household items like furniture, stairways, rugs and personal items (shoes) from chewing then cats do with scratching! We do not remove the teeth from dogs! So why is it acceptable to remove the claws from cats?

On March 16, 2017, the CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association) made a strong statement that has paved the way to reducing and/or banning declawing in cats. It stated, “Canadian Veterinary Medical Association opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing or onychectomy, of domestic cats.”

Since then, Nova Scotia and BC have declared declawing of cats unethical and cannot be performed in these provinces. Countries like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, and Croatia have banned all declawing in cats for many years now. The Ireland Veterinary Association has gone so far as declaring the procedure of declawing as, “clearly this is an act of mutilation.”

Myths of Declawing

1. Declawing is just removing the nail.

No this is a major surgery, which involves amputation of their toe.

2. Certain methods of declawing are better.

No, declawing is amputation, it does not matter how it is performed. Amputation of a toe is painful, especially because they have to walk on there paws right after surgery!

3. Cats do not need claws.

Claws are very important for normal and natural behaviour. Like walking, scratching, playing, hunting and kneading for comfort.

4. Once they are healed from surgery, declawing is not painful.

Studies have now shown that declawing can lead to chronic pain, neuroma formations cause abnormal walking and make cats more prone to arthritis.

5. More cats will be relinquished to shelters and Humane Societies if declawing is banned.

Studies have proven that 52% of declawed cats have more risk of being relinquished then non-declawed cats.

6. Declawing helps stop behaviour problems.

No, declawed cats have more aggressive tendencies like biting! Even behaviour problems like abnormal elimination are higher in declawed cats.

Alternatives to declawing

1. Start young, but it is never too late to teach an old cat a new trick!
2. Scratching posts:

  • Location, Location, Location – Especially for training new cats or kittens, scratching posts should be very accessible. Not in a dark corner in the basement.
  • Surface – Scratching posts can be cardboard, wooden, carpet or rope and even heavy fabric.
  • Position – Scratching posts come in horizontal, vertical and angle.
  • Stability and Height – Must be taller than your stretched-out cat and cannot tip over.
  • How many – Minimum one per cat in the household and variety is better.
  • Training – You can train and attract kittens and cats to the scratching post by using catnip, toys, treats and positive praise.

3. Regular nail trims and again start young!
4. Double-sided tape to prevent cats from scratching on stairs and furniture.
5. Supplements and diet:

  • Feliway for a calming effect
  • Calm diet
  • Calming treats

The staff at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital strongly supports Saving the Toes, therefore, as of September 1, 2018; we will no longer be performing declawing.

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” – Charles Dickens

Written by Dr. Lisa Lomsnes, DVM