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Should declawing cats be banned on P.E.I.?

To declaw, or not to declaw. That's what readers on the CBC P.E.I. Facebook page have been debating since the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association announced on Tuesday that it will ban elective and non-therapeutic declawing, effective in March 2018.

CBC readers divided on the issue — some say it's cruel, while others argue it's necessary

The P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association says it has no plans for a ban following Nova Scotia's announcement this week that it would make the practice illegal. (John Robertson/CBC)

To declaw, or not to declaw.

That's what readers on the CBC PEI Facebook page have been debating since the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association announced on Tuesday that it will ban elective and non-therapeutic declawing, effective in March 2018. 

The P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association says it has no plans for a ban following Nova Scotia's announcement this week that it would make the practice illegal. 

But readers are divided on whether or not P.E.I. should follow suit, with some arguing the practice is inhumane while others say it's still necessary.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

'Absolutely it should be banned'

Reader Kayla Vangorkum said declawing should have been banned years ago. 

"Very inhumane," she said. "If this procedure was performed on a human beings, declawing would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle."

Fallon Berry agreed.

"If this procedure were done to dogs, I think there would be much more protest. I don't think it's right."

Dwayne Robbie reminded people that "it is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period."

"And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing."

Damaged furniture

Defenders of declawing cats say it's necessary because of the damage scratching can do to furniture, but several readers said it's not a good enough reason for the procedure.

"Cats have claws. You know that when you choose to get one, and therefore should also know that them scratching [and] destroying things is always a possibility," Kendre Jackson said. 

Cats that scratch can cause damage to furniture, but some readers say that's not a good enough reason to have them declawed. (CBC News)

"If you can't handle that happening then you should not get a pet that has claws. Get a fish."

Cara Llewellyn said she believes declawing should be banned, and for those who are worried about furniture damage, they should look to alternative solutions.

"Trim their nails or use soft paws. By declawing them you are basically torturing them," she said.

'I'm glad I did it '

But some readers said from personal experience, declawing was necessary.

Teresa McNeill Sellick said she tried scratching posts, nail trimming and nail tips, but nothing worked.

"I had to have her declawed," she said. "She has good balance, she still jumps, uses the litter box and doesn't bite. She is the same good-natured girl she always was, just doesn't destroy everything.

"I'm glad I did it and would do it again if I had to."

Phyllis Clark said if declawing weren't an option, she wouldn't have cats as a household pet.

"Expensive furniture can get shredded in seconds, wooden doors and stair components. My cats get declawed or out the door they go."

'A slippery slope'

Krista MacLeod said if people are determined to declaw their cats, it should at least be done by professionals. 

"As with any ban you risk people just doing it themselves incorrectly and unsafely. If done young enough before the actual development if the bones takes place it is not that extreme," she said.

"You can ban all you want, it just means it will be done unsafely. It is a slippery slope."

Scott MacLeod agreed, saying the province's measures to educate the public on declawing was effective enough.

Sarah MacMillan