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Nova Scotia first province to ban cat declawing; could Saskatchewan be next?

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Nova Scotia first province to ban cat declawing; could Saskatchewan be next?
WATCH ABOVE: It’s a procedure that’s been done in Canada for years, but now some animal lovers in Saskatchewan are pushing for the banning of cat declawing following a recent move by Nova Scotia – Dec 14, 2017

It’s a procedure that’s been done in Canada for years, but now some animal lovers in Saskatchewan are pushing for the banning of cat declawing following a recent move by Nova Scotia.

“It’s a misnomer,” Dr. Tara Hudye, veterinarian at Lakewood Animal Hospital said. “You think you are just literally taking out the claw, but it’s not that way it’s a toe amputation.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia bans declawing of domestic cats

For years people have been declawing their cats as a way to protect furniture and prevent unwanted scratching.

But what some don’t realize is the pain and behavioural changes that can accompany the procedure.

“Some cats will show pain differently,” Hudye said. “But even later on for differences of behaviour, their play can be altered, anything where they want to bat or use their legs and their toes.”

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That’s why Lakewood Animal Hospital in Regina stopped the practice a couple of years ago and just this week Nova Scotia became the first province in Canada to ban medically unnecessary declawing.

READ MORE: Declawing called unethical, taken off the table at local vet clinic

“After consultation with our members, consultation with the public, there was some outcry there and we just felt that our members, the public and the science behind it also supported this ban,” Dr. Melissa Borgoyne with the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association said.

It’s a move applauded by Regina Cat Rescue, who just this year, announced it will not be adopting any more cats to people who intend to have their claws removed.

“It came about after we had rescued a cat that had been declawed and had been outside and really got very badly injured by another cat, because he didn’t have claws to defend himself,” Alanna Whippler, adoption coordinator at Regina Cat Rescue said.

Whippler adds there’s a number of alternatives to explore when it comes to dealing with your cat’s unwanted scratching.

“Getting the nails trimmed for one thing,” Whippler said. “It’s the hook, how the nails tend to curve down and they can hook into fabric and furniture and stuff, so keeping that curve tip blunted is good. There’s nail caps which I use, they’re synthetic plastic caps that glue on.”

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But the most important thing Wippler says is to have appropriate scratching furniture and posts for your cat.

While declawing is still practiced in Saskatchewan, Dr. Lesley Sawa, president of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, said it is becoming less common.

“It’s our position that in general for all veterinarians that from an ethical standpoint that declawing is unnecessary,” Sawa said.

Sawa added in past meetings there has been a push to ban the practice formally, but in the end it didn’t go through.

“A lot of people worry that if we didn’t do the declawing people would figure out a different way to do it, so it could be a dangerous surgery, or people would try to cut off their cats toe nails,” she said.

“But the other thing is that they would euthanize or get rid of their cat if the procedure wasn’t done.”

Now that Nova Scotia has enacted a ban, Sawa added that other provinces could start following suit, including Saskatchewan.

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