April 2, 2019 2:36 pm

Declawing cats ‘cruel and unjustifiable’: Montreal SPCA wants the practice banned

The Montreal SPCA is demanding the Quebec Order of Veterinarians ban the practice of declawing cats.

Karol Dahl/Global News
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The Montreal SPCA is demanding the Quebec Order of Veterinarians (OMVQ) ban the practice of declawing cats — also known as “partial digital amputation.”

The animal welfare organization has launched a petition on its website to stop the procedure, which it describes as “cruel and unjustifiable.”

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READ MORE: Winnipeg Humane Society stands behind proposed cat declawing ban

“The term ‘declawing’ is misleading, as the surgery consists of amputating the third phalanx of each of a cat’s toes,” notes Dr. Gabrielle Carrière, head veterinarian at the Montreal SPCA.

“In human terms, this would be the equivalent of having the last knuckle removed from all 10 fingers.”

This can lead to potential long-term consequences — including behavioural problems as these cats are being “deprived of their main defence mechanism.”

WATCH BELOW: Why is the practice of declawing cats banned?

“The procedure can cause chronic pain … including permanent nerve damage to the paws, difficulty walking, paw hypersensitivity and lower back pain, regardless of the age at which it is performed,” Carrière explains.

READ MORE: Alberta veterinarians vote to ban declawing, ear cropping, tail docking surgeries: ‘It’s inhumane’

The SPCA cites a survey by the Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (AMVQ), which found that 61 per cent of all veterinarians and 88 per cent of veterinarians under the age of 30 believe the OMVQ should ban declawing.

It states that more than 30 countries across the world no longer allow the practice.

WATCH BELOW: Declawing, ear cropping among pet surgeries banned in Alberta

Last year, Canadian provinces Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island officially banned the procedure, with other provinces such as Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick expected to follow suit.

“Quebec, too, must ban this invasive and cruel surgery,” said Élise Desaulniers, executive director of the Montreal SPCA.

“In 2017, the president of the OMVQ, Dr. Caroline Kilsdonk, argued that the population was not ready for a ban on declawing, but that is not a valid excuse.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick vets to vote on banning cat declawing this spring

While it agrees the procedure is cruel, the organization says it is focusing on education and raising awareness before moving ahead with a ban.

WATCH BELOW: N.B. vets to vote on banning cat declawing this spring

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