P.E.I. veterinarians ban 'unnecessary' declawing

In a vote at their annual meeting on the weekend P.E.I. veterinarians implemented a ban on the declawing of cats except in exceptional cases where it is medically required.

'It's a surgery … that shouldn't be done'

Declawing involves removing the final joint of the cat's forepaws. (Julian Brown/CBC)

In a vote at their annual meeting on the weekend P.E.I. veterinarians implemented a ban on the declawing of cats except in exceptional cases where it is medically required.

Dr. Gary Morgan, registrar of the P.E.I. Veterinary Medical Association, said veterinarians have been trying to counsel clients away from the surgery for some time, but the decision was made Saturday to put a stop to it.

"It's unnecessary. It's a surgery that doesn't need to be done and shouldn't be done to cats," said Morgan.

The surgery involves the removal of the end joint of the cat's forepaws, and can affect their balance and mobility, and even cause psychological issues.

"Traditionally it's been a convenience surgery to protect the furniture or protect the children. People were concerned about aggressive cats," said Morgan.

16 cats declawed

He said the Island's 12 veterinary clinics have been approached by about 40 people regarding the surgery this year, but following counselling 24 decided not to do it.

Sixteen cats were declawed. With declining interest in the surgery, he said the issue would likely have eventually gone away on its own.

People concerned about their cat's claws should talk to their veterinarian about options, says Gary Morgan. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

There are options to the surgery that are very effective, said Morgan, such as capping of claws, frequent trimming, or training cats to use a scratching post.

"I would like to impress upon people that feel they can't deal with a cat with claws, that they should speak to their veterinarian about the alternatives," he said.

"There are many and they are successful and they're not as difficult as it may seem. Most of the time you can deal with it in a non-surgical fashion."

P.E.I.'s Animal Welfare Act banned ear cropping and tail docking in 2015, but still allows declawing.

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