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Written by Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

@ Written by Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

Since January 1, 2017, veterinarians in Quebec have been banned from performing surgery for aesthetic purposes on animals such as docking and dogging.

For cats, onyxectomy (or declawing) is a problem. Even though it is still legal in Quebec, elsewhere in many European countries, in Australia and Brazil, this practice is prohibited (38 countries in total). And the trend in Quebec is that more and more veterinarians refuse to perform this type of surgery, such as the veterinary clinic on the Promenade and the veterinary centre's South Shore and Laval.

But what is onyxectomy?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, feline onyxectomy is considered a major surgical procedure and not routine. It is actually an amputation of the third phalanx of the cat’s fingers. This surgery involves risks and complications including pain, infections and reactions to anesthesia. There’s also a change in behaviour following these amputations, such as de-fried cats that do their needs outside the litter, bite more easily, or experience finger discomfort throughout their lives. The role of veterinarians and animal health workers is to inform people of alternatives and discourage them from opting out of their cat.


The cat does not really make his claws.

The popular belief that our cat makes its claws is a myth. Indeed, the cat who rubs his front paws on the couch and the objects of his environment does so to “mark” his territory. Located between the pads and the interdigital spaces, the podal glands of the front legs serve to emit an alarm signal and delimitation or territorial recognition. Basically, it is by accident that your cat damages the furniture, the frames and the posts of your gallery. The important thing is to know the alternatives that are presented to us.


Everything goes through education.

Many people think the worst about the claws of their cats and so they dread that their cats scratch their children or their dogs. In veterinary circles, what we notice is that the declawed cat will rather bite more often than a cat not declawed. A cat that can no longer scratch to defend itself will therefore resort to the only other defence that remains: bite. Also, cat bites are a big source of infection and are much more serious than scratches.

We will choose our own education and that of our children so that the relationship with our cat is as harmonious as possible. Learning to recognize the signs of feline discontent is an asset. A cat that whips its tail flattens its ears, scolds or feule (spits) is a cat who wants to be left alone and he is not happy. By learning to recognize and respect the body language of the cat, we greatly reduce the risk of injury.

In addition, to ensure that our cat behaves appropriately, positive reinforcement must be used to reward the animal for its good moves by giving it a treat or by flattering it.

Finally, there are other tips and tools that can help you prevent your cat from damaging your home, here are several.


Several options

To prevent damage to our furniture and woodwork in our home, it is possible to use one or more of the following options in combination with soothing pheromones (Feliway) as well as catnip spray. Soothing pheromones are sprayed on places where we do not want our cats “to make their claws”. And catnip is sprayed in places where we want our cats “to make their claws” like for example on a pole installed for this purpose or a scratching post.


Scratching posts installation 

The scratching post is a tool that mimics the tree in nature. The latter must be solid, stable, at least 1 metre high and must be covered with a rope or carpet. The height of the scratching post is also important for the cat because the longer it is the longer it will allow your cat to lie down all the way to stretch his spine. Once you’ve bought a good scratching post, you have to put it in the right place, where the cat wants to scratch, not where we’d like it let him do them. Then we must spray catnip on the scratching post and play with our cat near the object using for example an annoying cat.


Environnement Enrichment

Today, to provide better living conditions for our cats, they live more often than not inside our homes. But for it to flourish, the cat needs stimuli. Give him some simple toys to keep him busy. A simple cardboard box or a log is enough to do the trick. Indeed, felines love materials such as wood, sisal rope, carpet or a thick fabric that covers for example their scratching post. You can also use these materials on wall corners to protect your mouldings. You also install two-sided adhesive tape, foil or plastic wrap to further entertain your cat. Remember, when your cat learns about his new environment, reward him every time he uses his toys and play structure. Thus, your cat will make a positive association with his game items.


Cut claws at 2 to 4 weeks.

To control the length and the sharp aspect of the claws of our cat, it is recommended to cut them, or to have them cut, at 2 to 4 weeks. Take the opportunity to achieve positive reinforcement by manipulating your cat’s fingers often and when his claws are cut.


Claw's covers

Claw covers are small claw packs that are glued to them immediately after cutting. It is possible to carry out this procedure yourself or have it done by a specialist. Normally, the cat will lose its claw covers a few at a time and they will have to be changed from time to time every 2 to 4 weeks.



In order for you to be happy with your cat, you do not need to have it declawed. As we have demonstrated, there are simple steps and facilities to take. Of course, that represents a small


Sources :
• Véronique Harvey Le Huffington Post Québec
• ÉduChateur

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