Recently, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association released a statement on their views on declawing cats. The organization strongly opposes the practice, stating that the elective procedure is unnecessary and causes needless suffering. Previously, the CVMA had stated that the procedure was acceptable under some circumstances. They have now updated their guidelines to recommend that the practice is to be avoided at all costs as it provides no advantage to cats. These guidelines are being released to try to educate veterinarians across the country, as well as to reduce the demand for the procedure.
The long-term effects of declawing have not been determined scientifically, though the AVMA has listed some possible negative welfare implications, including chronic pain, claw regrowth, and the impairment of normal behavior.
While there is not much evidence to refute or support the long-term effects of declawing, the procedure is still frowned upon by many veterinarians across the world. The surgery is seen as a method to stop a behavior that can be otherwise resolved through management or behavioral modification. Veterinarians are expected to provide safe alternatives to declawing, including deterrents and training via behavioral modification with praise and treats.
This opposition will not lead to bans on the procedure, as legislation must be put in place by authorities from each province. In the future, Canada may join the UK, Australia, and Europe as places that have banned declawing.