An elective procedure for felines is no longer available at the 93 VCA Canada Animal Hospitals across the country as calls continue for Alberta to outlaw the practice of declawing cats.

“It is a painful procedure at the time it’s done and it's now been conclusively proven to cause other behavioural and medical problems as the cat gets older,” said Dr. Danny Joffe, national medical director of VCA Canada. “A declaw, what it actually involves, is amputating the last digit of every toe.”

Joffe adds declawed cats are more likely to become aggressive and bite and the altered gait of the animal as a result of the procedure can potentially lead to back pain.

“I believe no owner should ask for a declaw.”

Lisa Olund of the Calgary Humane Society, an organization that opposes declawing, says many cat owners are unaware of how intrusive the procedure truly is.

“People think that declawing a car is just removing a nail but you are essentially removing bone and exposing nerves.”

Members of the cat loving staff at the Regal Cat Café in Kensington are stunned that anyone would choose to remove their pet’s claws.

“It’s so surprising the declawing is even a thing,” said Tia Weller. “You bring a cat into your home because you want to add a little love to your family.”

“The last thing you want to do is hurt them.”

The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) is officially against the declawing of cats but does not currently consider clinics that do offer the elective procedure to be violating any professional standards.

Declawing cats is currently banned in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Provincial officials say they are well aware of the bans in other jurisdictions and are plotting the best course of action for cats in Alberta with the assistance of the ABVMA, animal welfare stakeholders and citizens.

With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe