Declawing Cats: What You Need To Know

Nova Scotia has just become the first Canadian province to ban declawing!

Many people are unaware that declawing a cat is actually an amputation of the cat’s full or partial toes. To put it into human perspective, it is the equivalent of removing a finger at the first knuckle. It is a practice that was quite common in the past, but is thankfully on its way out as pet owners are becoming educated about the cruel, outdated and unnecessary procedure.

Declawing a cat may prevent your furniture from becoming scratched, however, it can cause multiple physical and behavioural problems for your pet….

Declawed Cat, Cynthia

Declawed Cat, Cynthia


Problems Associated with Declawing

  • Litter box avoidance
    A cat’s paws become incredibly sensitive after declawing, to the point that they may avoid the litter box due to the pain associated with stepping on litter.
  • Social anxiety
    A cat whose claws have been removed has no way of protecting itself from predators. Even indoor cats who do not necessarily have to deal with the same threats as outdoor cats, still can become fearful, anti-social and withdrawn. The confidence that comes from being able to protect itself is hampered when their primary means of protection are removed.
  • Biting
    Cats can begin to bite inappropriately as a means of protection…without having their claws to rely on, teeth become the preferred weapons of choice.
  • Arthritis
    There is an increased chance of a cat developing arthritis in their toes due to declawing.


Declawed cat, Floppy

Declawed cat, Floppy


Cats Need To Scratch

If your cat is scratching your furniture, consider adding scratch posts, scratch mats, scratch cardboards, etc. to enrich its environment.  There is an unlimited number of products and toys available at any pet store to relieve a cat’s natural urge to scratch. Declawing is only ever done for the human’s benefit, not the cat’s, which is very unfortunate.

Your cat needs to scratch as a form of exercise, to relieve an itch on its body, mark its territory, remove dead cuticles, and express affection via kneading. Removing a cat’s ability to perform these natural behaviours severely affects its health and well-being.

Although a vet can refuse to declaw a cat, there are currently no laws against it in most of Canada. The new Nova Scotia ruling is serving to raise people’s awareness on the subject, and alerting pet owner’s of the many problems that come with declawing. We are hopeful that this ban sets a strong precedent for Canada’s remaining provinces to follow suit.


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