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Winnipeg Humane Society supports proposal to ban cat declawing in Manitoba

The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) supports the upcoming proposal by the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) council to amend their current bylaw to restrict declawing from being performed by Manitoban veterinarians. Veterinarians licensed to practice in Manitoba will be voting on whether to ban the procedure in early 2019.

“Declawing a cat is a cruel practice and a declawed cat will experience pain and suffering for the rest of its life,” says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “Irrespective of the declawing method -being it surgical or laser beam- the procedure is akin to cutting off each of our fingers at the last knuckle. The WHS applauds the progressive actions of the MVMA to try to put a stop to this abhorrent practice and we strongly support Manitoba’s move in this direction. There is no good reason to allow declawing of cats in Canada.”

As such, the WHS is sending out a call to action for the general public to ask their veterinarians to vote in favour of the bylaw amendment to prohibit declawing procedures.

The WHS opposes declawing (partial digital amputation) procedures in cats for non-medical reasons. Declawing is an invasive surgical procedure that removes the claw and bone digit (third phalanx) on either both front feet, or all four feet, on a cat.

Scratching is a natural, instinctive behavior in cats. The practice of declawing has been documented to leave cats in both acute and chronic pain, which can further result in an increase in behaviors such as inappropriate elimination, excessive vocalization, and increased aggression.*

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association currently opposes the cruel and unnecessary practice of declawing, while encouraging alternative measures to be pursued. Alternative measures to declawing include, but are not limited to:

  • Behaviour training, nail trimming, artificial nail covers, feline pheromone sprays, environmental enrichment, and re-homing if necessary.

Nationally, the practice is currently banned in Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. Prohibiting declawing procedures ensures that Manitoba takes yet another step forward in becoming a progressive leader in animal welfare.



*Hellyer P, Rodan I, Brunt J, Downing R, Hagedorn JE, Robertson SA. AAHA/AAFP pain management guidelines for dogs and cats. J Fel Med and Surg 207;9:466-480.