The risk of complications and unwanted side effects with feline elective onychectomy (declaw) have been well documented and legislative or veterinary bylaw bans on feline onychectomy are becoming more frequent. However there remains pushback and discordance both within the veterinary community and the general public regarding the procedure. One of the main arguments of opponents of legislative bans remains that the procedure has a protective effect which prevents cat surrender in shelters or euthanasia, and strengthens the human-animal bond.

In this talk, we will look at the impact a provincial ban on elective onychectomy had on provincial shelter intake, including specifically for cats surrendered for destructive behaviour, as well as owner-requested euthanasia. We will also discuss the role shelters can take to dispel fear-based myths and advocate for animal welfare within our communities and beyond.