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Saskatchewan, a huge province in Canada, has followed many other provinces to ban declawing cats. Already, the ban for non-medically necessary declawing is in effect within the 251,367 square miles of the province. 

“No member shall perform elective and non-therapeutic partial digital amputation of any felid including domestic cats,” reads the new bylaw voted for by the the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association.

Saskatchewan is the province located above Montana and North Dakota, stretching to the Northwest Territories. Now, neighboring provinces on either side also ban declawing, also known as onychectomy.

Saskatchewan

Image by TUBS via Wikimedia Commons,(CC BY-SA 2.5)

Saskatchewan Joins Other Provinces

Over recent years, declawing was becoming more and more uncommon. Now, veterinarians have a tool to discourage unnecessary and painful amputations of the third toe bone and nail of a cat’s paw. If the procedure were done on a person, it would mean amputating fingers at the last knuckle!

The other provinces (and one island) that ban declawing include:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia, 
  • Labrador
  • Manitoba 
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Nova Scotia 
  • And Prince Edward Island

In Nova Scotia, anyone who declaws a cat illegally could face six months in jail and a $25,000 fine for a first offense. 

Alternatives to Declawing Cats

In 2018, a group of animal hospitals across Canada, the VCA Canada, announced a company-wide ban on declawing. Instead, they suggested a list of alternatives to declawing, such as:

  • Scratching posts and pads
  • Regular claw trimming
  • Temporary synthetic nail caps
  • Synthetic facial pheromone sprays and diffusers
  • Environmental enrichment to meet cat’s needs

For more, please see our “5 Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat.”

The Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association

After an annual general meeting, the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association passed the new bylaw after a vote.

Veterinarian Dr. Lesley Sawa, from the Animal Clinic of Regina, commented: 

“The bylaw basically bans non-medically emergent declawing of cats,” said Sawa. “Many clients would declaw cats for convenience in order to stop cats from scratching furniture and such, but it has always been hard for us as veterinarians to proceed with that procedure.”

Now, Sawa says the ban will help veterinarians encourage and educate the public about the alternatives to declawing. For example, keeping a cat’s nails trimmed may make them less likely to use the couch as a scratching post to remove shedding nails. 

Saskatchewan, cat declawing

Image  by Naturell via PixabayPixabay License

The Many Risks of Declawing

Veterinarians also cite the risks of declawing, including chronic pain, nerve trauma, bone spurs, necrosis, lameness, and related behavioral issues. For example, cats may take to biting more often and avoiding the litter box due to pain.

However, many people are unaware of the risks of declawing and how painful it is. For instance, we recently shared the story of Pasha, a fluffy cat abandoned after her owners declawed her. Due to the pain, she had problems with vomiting and diarrhea. So, her pet parents took her to be euthanized, but fortunately, rescuers stepped in to save her. Unfortunately, it’s common to see cats returned to shelters due to behavioral issues caused by painful declawing.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), declawing is an unneeded procedure. On the other hand, scratching is both learned and inherent normal behavior for cats. In other words, it’s just part of being a cat, so why punish them for it?

A Growing List of Places Outlaw Declawing

Today, a handful of United States cities ban declawing, such as Austin, Texasmost recently. Thus, Austin joined Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and St. Louis.

In 2019, the state of New York banned elective cat declaw surgery. In the meantime, many other states are considering or have introduced bills to ban cat declawing. Recently, Susie Martinez introduced a bill that could make Nevada the second state to ban the cruel procedure.

Globally, more than 20 countries ban declawing cats. One day, will the United States be among them? We hope so.

Featured image: Saskatchewan Capital, Regina, by ErikaWittlieb via PixabayPixabay License with cat by 12019 / 10259 via PixabayPixabay License

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