More than two dozen veterinary hospitals in Alberta are among nearly 100 clinics across Canada that will no longer perform elective declawing in cats.
VCA Canada announced Wednesday a company-wide ban on elective feline partial digital amputation, commonly known as declawing.
The company operates 93 animal hospitals across Canada, including seven in the Edmonton area and 19 in Calgary.
Declawing involves surgically removing a cat’s claws by amputating the third phalanx of each digit. VCA Canada said pet owners often opt for this procedure in hopes of reducing cats from scratching and damaging furniture.
“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has deemed the practice of elective declawing inhumane, and we wholeheartedly agree,” said Danny Joffe, national medical director of general practice at VCA Canada.
In March 2017, the CVMA changed its previous stance on the practice, announcing its opposition to elective and non-therapeutic declawing of domestic cats.
“Much research has become available since we last examined this position statement and it is evident that felines suffer needlessly when undergoing this surgery as an elective measure,” CVMA president Dr. Troy Bourque said at the time.
“From an ethical viewpoint, the CVMA views this surgery as unacceptable as it offers no advantage to the feline and the lack of scientific evidence leaves us unable to predict the likelihood of long-term behavioural and physical negative side effects.”
Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to ban cat declawing. The ban came into effect last month. British Columbia followed suit, also banning the practice in March.
Cat declawing is also banned in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Brazil, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and some cities in California.
The procedure is not banned in Alberta.