Regina Cat Rescue to refuse would-be adopters who want to declaw their pet

Regina Cat Rescue is ready to turn away hopeful cat owners planning to declaw their new pets.

'It's an amputation. It isn't really medically necessary,' says volunteer

Regina Cat Rescue is taking a stance against declawing cats. (Regina Cat Rescue/Erika Gayle Photography)

Regina Cat Rescue is ready to turn away hopeful cat owners planning to declaw their new pets.

This week, the volunteer organization formalized a policy to refuse adoption of cats to people who want to declaw them.

Each person looking to adopt a cat from Regina Cat Rescue must fill out an application. On it is a question asking people whether they plan to declaw. If they mark "yes," volunteers will inform people of the dangers of declawing. If they don't change their mind, they will be refused.

Regina Cat Rescue volunteer Rachel Molnar said the organization wanted to speak out against declawing to prevent it.

"A lot of people don't necessarily realize how dangerous it is or the other behavioural issues that can arise because of declawing," said Molnar. "Hopefully, by providing that education, we can just provide that clarity there." 

Canadian vets dismiss declawing

This year, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association toughened its stance on this procedure, calling it "ethically unacceptable" with the potential to cause "unnecessary and avoidable pain."

In 2015, the Lakewood Animal Hospital in Regina announced its vets would no longer perform the procedure.
Peter was found in Regina after being attacked by another cat. He couldn't defend himself because he had been declawed. (Regina Cat Rescue)

Molnar said declawing is the amputation of the last bone of each toe on a cat's paw.

"It's an amputation. It isn't really medically necessary," Molnar said. "We know it causes unnecessary and avoidable pain."

Molnar said the process can also lead to behavioural issues, like litter box avoidance and biting.

Many cat owners turn to declawing to prevent unwanted scratching on their furniture or themselves.

While some people might not approve, scratching is a tactic cats use to mark territory. Their claws also help them balance, climb and defend themselves.

Recently, Regina Cat Rescue took in a cat that had been declawed and was left outdoors. Without claws, he was unable to defend himself and was attacked by another cat.

Badly injured, he was forced to have his left eye surgically removed. The cat is now recovering from surgery.

Peter is now recovering after eye surgery. (Regina Cat Rescue)

Declawing alternatives

Instead of declawing, Regina Cat Rescue recommends that pet owners:

  • Provide suitable objects for scratching, including scratching posts and cardboard boxes. This scratching can be encouraged with catnip, treats and praise.
  • Consider temporary synthetic nail caps.
  • Place deterrents such as double-sided tape on furniture.

Declawing is already prohibited or significantly restricted in countries like Australia, Brazil, Israel, Finland, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.

With files from Alec Salloum