Nova Scotia will be the first Canadian province to ban the declawing of cats – effective from March 15, 2018.
‘Declawing’ refers to removing a cat’s claws – generally because of concerns around scratching furniture, people, or other animals.
But experts say the term is a misnomer, and the practice is extremely cruel, describing it as ‘mutilation’.
According to vet Dr. Tara Hudye: “You think you are just literally taking out the claw, but it’s not that way it’s a toe amputation.”
Experts assert that scratching is normal and should be addressed with proper training, nail trimming, and tools like scratching posts – not amputation.
Dr. Hugh Chisholm – who is a veterinarian and Director of Atlantic Canada’s branch of animal welfare organization, The Paw Projectv – put forward the motion to prohibit unnecessary declawing, and has refused to ‘declaw’ since the 1990s saying it doesn’t benefit the animals.
He adds: “You are amputating 10 bones from 10 digits on the paws of a cat, and if that doesn’t constitute mutilation, I don’t know what does.”
In addition to the agony of the procedure itself, declawing can cause further complications – such as arthritis, behavioural changes and displaced bone fragments – for cats big and small.
Chisholm says The Paw Project will now push to extend the ban – which was prompted by much of the general public, as well as animal activists, and veterinarians – nationwide.
This will follow examples set by the UK, Australia, and much of Europe.
He says: “When I explain what a declaw actually is, close to 95 percent of people actually say, ‘oh my god! I would never do that to my cat’.”