Scratching cats can be annoying and painful, but Manitoba New Democrat MLA Nahanni Fontaine is working to pass a bill that would see cat declawing outlawed.

Bill 221 was introduced to the house on Tuesday to alter the Animal Care Amendment Act.

The bill would ban the surgical procedure that removes the claw and upper joint bone of a cat’s paw.

“I think Manitoba should take a lead and ban outright the declawing of cats. There’s simply no need for it,” Fontaine told CTV News.

According to the NDP, the majority of Manitoba veterinarians refuse to perform the surgery because it can be painful, may lead to infection, and is debilitating to the animal’s natural scratching behaviours.

The Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association recommends that cat owners should instead buy a scratching post, nail caps, or do regular nail trims. 

Fontaine added that training is also a viable option.

“As a pet owner myself, I spent a lot of time with my dog making sure he doesn’t do the things I don’t want him to. The beauty of domesticated pets is that you can train them,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to punish (cats) physically in such a long term way.”

Fontaine said some people have expressed concerns that this ban would affect the cat adoption rate, but she’s done the research and said a number of other jurisdictions have gone ahead with a ban and haven’t seen a decline in adoption rates.

“I think it’s incumbent on us to move ahead with more progressive, humane approaches to pet ownership,” she said.