Victory! British Columbia Bans Declawing Cats

Animal advocates are celebrating another major victory for cats in British Columbia with a ban on declawing that went into effect immediately.

While declawing remains a controversial topic, the fact remains that it isn’t a simple procedure that merely removes a cat’s nails. Rather, the procedure, which is formally known as an onychectomy, involves surgically removing the last joint in a cat’s toe to which the nail is attached. For cats, it’s a ten-toe amputation.

While many cats find themselves the victims of this procedure because they scratch furniture — or us – their advocates point out that this is a natural behavior, whether we like it or not.

If cats are declawed, they might not be able to scratch anymore, but they may also turn to other unwanted behaviors — like avoiding the litter box and biting as a defense. Even worse, they may have to live with harmful side effects like chronic pain for the rest of their lives as a result of the procedure.

The College of Veterinarians of B.C. (CVBC), which just implemented the ban, called the procedure “ethically problematic,” adding that it is “not an appropriate means of dealing with feline behaviour issues,” and that “No medical conditions or environmental circumstances of the cat owner justify the declawing of domestic cats.”

“There is a consensus among the public and within our profession that declawing cats is an inhumane treatment and ethically unacceptable, similar to other outdated practices such as tail docking and ear cropping,” said CVBC CEO Luisa Hlus.

The ban went into effect immediately, and will only allow for the procedure in cases where it’s medically necessary to treat an underlying condition that would actually benefit a cat. Any veterinarians who violate the ban will be investigated and face disciplinary action.

Great video from a happy, humane vet. Thanks, Dr. Margie Scherk, for sending this to us.

Posted by The Paw Project on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fortunately, progress continues to be made on this issue in Canada and elsewhere. It’s already been banned in several countries around the world, and British Columbia is now the second province in the nation to ban declawing following Nova Scotia, which banned the practice last year.

In the U.S. several cities have banned the practice, while states including California, New York and New Jersey have introduced legislation that would make it illegal statewide.

While animal advocates continue to push for more bans on this inhumane practice, they’re also working to educate people about the inherent cruelty involved in declawing, as well as safe and effective alternatives, like Sticky Paws, scratching posts and nail caps.

How to Help

You can also help by supporting compassionate vets who put their patients first by refusing to perform mutilating procedures like declawing and devocalization. If you’re looking for a new one, has a list of vets in the U.S. and Canada who have pledged not to declaw.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Ann T
Ann Telfer7 months ago

Great News, Now for the rest of Canada :)

natasha p
Past Member 7 months ago


Antje S
Antje S7 months ago

Good News - Hope it will be banned everywhere

Paulo R
Paulo R8 months ago

great news

Leo Custer
Leo C8 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Jen S
Jen S8 months ago

This is an excellent decision, and I prefer veterinarians to politicians; however, without an enforceable law, I wonder if this will be effective? Enforceable? I find the practice unnecessarily cruel. My cats are not declawed although I do routine nail trimming. I also have a pair of sacred ancestral Louis XIV chairs, brought from France just prior to the Revolution, by my many-times great grandmother, who cherished them. Upholstered in silk, they are heirlooms. Generations of my cats and dogs have been trained not to sit upon them, lounge upon them, hide treats or slobbery toys. They don't know about my great-great-and etc granny's legendary wrath but they do understand positive training. Also they have the everything else in the house including tall Furwood Forest cat trees, bay windows and French doors to see the outside. Good for the Canadians!

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

@ Dot A. : Sorry that I don't agree with you on this point : eventually, declawing will cease. May be I am a bit bitter about mankind, but unless AUTHORITIES do apply laws / regulations to FORBID something, people will continue to do this cruelty. Many of us - everywhere in the world - love more their Louis XIV chairs, and couches than their cat/s. Cats who can not go outside, like to sharpen their claws on our furniture. It is sad to see the greed of so many people in various things. And you can not train a cat as easily as a dog.

May be you know, but cutting the tail of a dog is legally forbidden. Yet there are people who do it themselves - with all possible consequences - as they don't want their dog to throw a glas or cup from the table.

If you don't accept your animal to behave "normally", then better buy a stone dog or cat.

Nicolas Nasrallah
Nicolas Nasrallah8 months ago

Just like i would not want anyone to cut my fingers off , we should not be doing to any other animal . If you cannot put up with cats don't get one and don't force them them to live without their fingers.

Danii P
Past Member 8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Danii P
Past Member 8 months ago

Thanks for sharing