Five years ago, I had my female calico, Sassy, spayed and declawed at the same time. According to the vet, it was preferable to do them both at once since the cat would only have the anaesthesia risk once. She was 6 months old when we had the procedures done.
She spent two days in hospital and when I picked her up, she was so happy to see me. I received her in her cat carrier, so I did not actually see her walking around at the vet’s office.
I got her home, and let her out of her carrier. Imagine my horror when I found that the only way she could walk was on her entire front legs. Picture yourself as a cat, and then bend your elbows and “crawl” around with your entire forearms pressed to the ground, not just your hands. I immediately called the vet’s office, and was told not to worry – that she was still really sore and that this would go away on its own in a few days. As long as her paws weren’t bleeding, don’t worry about it, is basically what I was told. My other cat had also been declawed a couple of years before, but never ambulated this way after the surgery. I let it go for a few days, and when STILL no improvement, I called the vet’s office and DEMANDED to bring Sassy in. She said “No problem”, so I took her in. She then looked at Sassy, and told me that some kitties are super-sensitive to the surgery, and that obviously Sassy was one of them. She told me to “massage” her paws and proceeded to show me how to do this. (It looked awfully rough, and the poor kitty yelped every time the vet or I did this to her!)
I felt so bad. I started second guessing myself as to whether I had done wrong by having the procedure done. I didn’t even have a good reason for having it done, except that my other cat was declawed, and I was afraid that this one would tear him to bits if I didn’t have her declawed too. (Oh – and she was scratching at the furniture – big deal).
Almost a month after she had her procedure, she finally started to walk on her feet, rather than her entire front legs, but I noticed that she walked very “gingerly” and her paws looked terrible. They were deformed! She used to have cute little tiny paws and now they looked big and flat and “mushy”. Plus she walked on her FLAT feet instead of almost up on her toes, like most cats do.
I took her back in for another opinion, only this time, to an entirely different vet in another office, in another end of the city. He first described to me that this was not an unusual thing to see after a declaw procedure, and that Sassy would likely always walk this way. He told me that the procedure is not without risk. If I had thought for one minute that this would be the end result of the surgery, I would have never had it done. He took some x-rays of her feet to make sure that a small “nub” of bone wasn’t left over, sometimes when this happens it causes a cat extreme and excruciating pain. Nope – x-rays looked perfectly normal, and unfortunately Sassy was one of the kitties who didn’t do so well after a straightforward declaw procedure.
I took her in for a third opinion, and this time no x-rays, but just confirmation by the vet that what I had been told was consistent with what he was seeing.
Even today, FIVE YEARS LATER, Sassy will shake her front paws violently, as though she is in pain, or has touched something really hot. This can happen while she is walking, or sometimes even when she is sleeping. I talked to yet another vet about this, and he told me that sometimes when a nerve is nicked during the procedure, this can be the end result. This was not, in his opinion, all that uncommon. He compared what Sassy was feeling to someone striking their elbow on a table, and hitting the “funny bone”. That terrible tingly feeling. Ouch!!
If this isn’t enough to turn you off, imagine my horror when my normally docile kitty turned into a biter. She is still a love considering all she has been through, but if she feels threatened or if she is scared, an attempt to reach out and pet her may result in an angry bite. I believe this is attributable to the declawing as well. Once a cat loses her main means of defense (front claws), what else does she have but her teeth? And who can fault her for this considering we did this to her.
As a result of all this, I no longer believe in declawing. I cannot see how this procedure benefits a cat in any way. So many people out there say well – if I didn’t declaw the cat, then it was going to an animal shelter because it was too destructive. What a terrible excuse. If this is an argument, why are so many shelters filled with declawed cats? I have a new kitty who has so far had no problems using a scratching post. I will not declaw her. I do not want to have to risk this tragedy again, ever.
April 26, 1999
This is about my youngest baby who is now 11 months old, she is my Little Calie Girl. A beautiful golden eyed calico. I have two other furry, four footed, feline family members who reside with us in our home. Calie was a rescue baby that came with us when she was about five weeks old, a happy little kitty full of spunk and energy who loved playing with her other adopted brother and sister. Calie is my third cat to be declawed as I had no real problems with my other two. I always thought it was only the claw that was removed, the procedure was never explained to me, if I had known what I know now, this would have never happened and I would not have this terrible story to tell all of you. It began when I took my baby girl to be spayed and declawed three months ago at our family vet who has taken care of our feline family the past four years. She was given the routine blood work to check for abnormalities before the surgeries. As the others, we picked her up the next afternoon as recommended. Calie came out with a little bandage on one of her paws. I can remember telling my husband, “Our other kitties didn’t have a bandage on.” I had this bad feeling already in the pit of my stomach. I brought Calie home putting her in her bed where she would be most comfortable. I was to take the bandage off the next morning but she did that herself during the night. Her foot was all bloodied in the morning. I have no idea how long she was like this. A few days had gone by, she just did not seem to improve at all. I could see she was in severe pain. For the first few weeks I carried her everywhere, she did not want to walk at all, I even would bring her food and water. My Calie Girl would just lay there drinking or eating her meal. She stayed in my room for two weeks where she was most comfortable barely being able to walk. This just did not seem normal. I called the vet, take her in and drop her off, picking her up later that day. He left a message telling us he could not find anything wrong with her and prescribed pain medication. I tried that without any success. By this time I am in tears. Another visit to the vet with one of my other cats and again I questioned about my poor Calie. I told him she can barely walk, sits up like a prairie dog and when she does walk she is not walking on her toes or her paw but walking on the entire lower half of her leg, it is utterly bending up forward at the knee! He seemed shocked and amazed. This is about where we stand now, my Calie is miserable, I feel absolutely terrible for doing this to my little calico bundle, not of the happy little baby she use to be. Now I carry her most of the time, she mews at me and still purrs while I am petting her beautiful coat as to say, ” I forgive you.” Her vet is to consult a few other vets then get back with me about what we can do, if anything. She may have to be splinted in order for her leg muscles to strenghten so she may walk upright on her paws again, I don’t know. Right now it is a wait and see situation. I am hoping so very much, My Little Calie Girl will be able to walk the happy walk she use. With this I will close in pleading, please do not have your kitty declawed, educate yourself on declawing, don’t do what I did, thinking it was a simple procedure, don’t take that chance of the same thing happening to your friend, your family. As we work with My Calie Girl I will keep you posted.
April 21, 1999
September 9, 2000
Calies Story Continue…
Calie had a terrible experience with her declaw procedure. Her vet consulted an Orthopedic Specialist concerning her difficulty in walking after declaw. With love and care, Calie recovered after 6 months of walking with a lot of discomfort. I am so relieved she has returned to as close to normal as possible. I will never have another one of my babies declawed after this frightening procedure.
On this note I wish to dedicate my story to Calie’s Veterinarian who also attended to my other cats. Dr. Dan Wells was killed by a hit and run driver, who was arrested a week later and found out he was on probation for hit and run and drunk driving. Dr. Dan Wells was a man who was devoted to the health and wellness to our four pawed friends. He was sincerely respected in the community, his warm, kind ways will be missed by all. His practice is being carried out by fellow veterinarians in search of one whom will be able to continue and carry on Dr. Well’s dream.
A Breeder’s story
I have been a breeder of top Himalayan and Persian(Himalayans are a color variety of Persian) cats for twenty three years. I have always discouraged de-clawing of kittens and cats purchased from me. After living through the horror story which follows, de-clawing is now forbidden in my sales contract.
Eighteen months ago Janet, bought a beautiful, cream, hybrid (color-point carrier) kitten from me. The kitten was checked by her vet and found to be in robust,good health. Unbeknownst to me, Janet declawed the kitten when she was under a year old. After having her front claws amputated, Janet never clipped the kitten’s back claws again. The kitten scratched her face and put a hole(corneal sequestrum)in her eye. Janet’s veterinarian didn’t treat the eye properly and because the eye infected, eventually it had to be removed. Still the kitten’s back nails are not clipped and, lo and behold, another corneal sequestrum appears in the remaining eye. Janet has a veterinary opthamologist insert a contact lens into the remaining eye. Thousands of dollars later the cat seems to be recovering when a massive infection becomes systemic and the cat dies. Janet is devastated, I am devastated and this beautiful cat is dead. All this because an unsuspecting owner de-clawed her cat.
De-clawing is a vicious and terrible mutilation. DON”T DO IT!
Our cat’s nails are clipped every ten days. They are wrapped in a towel, back nails are clipped first, then front claws. In addition, we keep wicker baskets and barky logs in every room. Our cats prefer these scratching surfaces. We also use spray bottles, turned to “stream” and filled with water aimed at their faces to train our kittens away from scratching undesirable surfaces. Anyone who won’t employ these training techniques should be discouraged from owning a cat. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DE-CLAWING!!! NO DATE
Kneader and Patches’ story
If only I had understood! Declawing is an unnecessary cruelty and this is my shameful story.
I declawed my wonderful cat Kneader. Never again! I didn’t ask about the procedure. I assumed that because it could be done, there was no reason not to have it done. I hope when I meet Kneader at the Rainbow Bridge he will have been given back his claws and he will forgive me for putting him through such pain.
Patches’ story begins as a sad one but her life will be as happy and safe as we can make it. We were able to rescue this wonderful cat, Patches. She was a stray………….found wandering…..defenseless on the streets of Sault Ste Marie. She had been declawed. She had been at the Shelter for several weeks. No one had called to claim her!
We will never know the story of how Patches ended up at the Shelter. Perhaps, like me in the past, her family didn’t understand. Perhaps the family didn’t realize the serious situation they had placed their pet in. Perhaps they didn’t understand that aside from the pain and suffering of having deformed limbs, the danger of having a declawed cat “escape” from the house is always present. Believe it or not, some people think it’s just fine to let declawed cats run free!
If the declaw issue is one that means the difference between sharing or not sharing your life with the wonders of a cat, then in all conscience, there is only one recourse! Call a Shelter!
Rescue the ones that have been “dropped off”. Rescue the ones who have been found as Patches was… lost, terrified, unable to fend for herself, unclaimed.
Be prepared to guard and protect your pet.
Be prepared to groom your pet faithfully (as they can’t do it properly themselves).
Be prepared to “scratch” your pet while grooming as well.
Be creative and provide bumpy, loosely woven, hard materials for your pet to “claw”. Something that they can get their pads into so they can get some sensation of stretching and pulling they need to keep their forelegs strong and limber.
Be prepared! Post a note on your back door warning callers about not opening the door, checking for the cat….ringing the bell first.
Lastly, if you have small children…………………don’t even think of having a declawed cat as a pet.
Please visit my site, a tribute to Kneader and Patches. There are important links on my site for you to learn more about delcawing, spay/neutering etc.
Gracie (aka Linda)
“Better inside and fat than outside and flat!”
Well this is a story about Pogo a 8 Month old cat. On February 2,1999 Pogo went in to get neutered and declawed. We dropped him off February 1, 1999 and the vet’s would keep him ’til February 4, 1999. Two full days, just in case. Well I missed him terribly those 2 days and my daughter did, too. So Thursday came and we picked him up he looked great. The vet explained that he would be a little quiet and like usual should be kept away from jumping and we should change his kitty litter to paper and we did for 2 weeks (just in case). They used this special glue instead of stitches or whatever. He was doing good, ’til about 3 weeks or so after his “declawing”. He started walking like on eggshells. When he had to stand for a long period of time he would stand like a kangaroo…. When he would eat he would lay down on all fours and put his head in the bowl. I felt so bad for him and what I did to him. The day I saw him doing that with his bowl I called the vet, I told them I could be there in 10 minutes and they squeezed me in. The doctor saw him, felt his paws and he said “all seems fine, maybe he bruised his toes jumping down from somewhere” and gave him anti-inflammatory pills for 4 days. Well it so happened that in four days he needed a booster so when we came in for the booster I told the same doctor that those pills did nothing. He followed by feeling his paws again gave him a booster and gave us more pills this time “prednisone 5mg” but we had to wait ten days after the booster. Well I felt real bad for Pogo, it was quite evident he was in pain or discomfort as he still walked on eggshells but I could not give him medicine till ten days. Well 4 days passed and Pogo seemed to walk around less and less and I got angry. I called the vet and told him he needs to do something now , we were bordering on abuse….. so Pogo went in that day to get some x-rays and I am waiting to see what will happen as he has to stay overnight….so I’ll have to get back to you…..
***BUT I HOPE IT’S SOMETHING SIMPLE AND NOT ANY OF THOSE STORIES I READ OFF OF YOUR SIGHT…..
March 14, 1999
Well here is the ending sort of to my story…..
Well the next day I get a call at work from the Vet who tells me that no they did not x ray his poor paws because he visually checked his paws and the cuts they made on his paws healed beautifully and there is no sign of infection. The vet told me he has been doing this for 25 years and has never had to redo it. So he told me there is no sign of nails left behind to give Pogo an infection so the pain that Pogo is feeling will have to go alone. The vet said that Pogo is 11 lbs so he is pretty big for 8 months and so he is putting lots of weight on his front paws maybe that is the cause for his pain. In the end the vet said “nothing could be done” He said we could give his some Prednisone 5mg “probably will not do anything” but I told him I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. So it has been a few days he has been home and he still walks with difficulty..
The vet said it could take up to 3 months after the declawing to start walking well……. It’s sad…….Pogo used to run around crazy and wild…..Pogo now just lays down everywhere…..so we don’t get to see him often…..It’s sad…..
Thanks for listening……and I would suggest to anyone if you really don’t have to *********DON’T*********
N. Chevalier NO DATE
I still feel very bad about this whole situation.
When Rushy was six months old he came into our life. I immediately took him to be neutered and declawed. I knew that declawing was not pleasant for a cat, but I never knew just how horrible it could be. For at least a year after his declawing Rushy did fine. But all of a sudden one day I saw him limping. One of his little toes was horribly infected and swollen. I immediately took him to the vet. Rushy was very frightened,in a lot of pain and he had to wear a bandage and take medication for a while. We didn’t know what the cause was but we were glad he was going to be alright. Not long afterwards the very same toe was swollen and infected! We went back to the vet and had him treated and then came home and tried to figure out what he was getting his paw stuck on that would cause that type of injury. We had no luck. After two more visits for OTHER infected toes our vet x-rayed Rushy’s paws and found the problem. When the original vet amputated Rushy’s toes, she didn’t get the entire nail bed. This allowed his claws to grow partially back–underneath the skin! So, whenever Rushy walked, ran or jumped the partially grown claw would irritate the skin that grew over the knuckle and cause an infection. Poor trusting Rushy ended up needing to be re-declawed to take out the nail beds completely. I feel bad that he experienced 2 unnecessary operations and several painful infections because I was not educated about the horrors of declawing.
Mel — 1-30-99
Intro …BABY GIRL’S STORY
I know that some owners take their kitties to be declawed and they heal up fine and they feel there cat goes on normally through the rest of its life. I thought this too. I was wrong. Read on to educate yourself that not all of these surgical procedures go over smoothly. What I thought was going to be a simple thing turned out to be two weeks of torment for me and my kitty. I do not feel this procedure is worth the hassle. The suffering on the owner and the animal itself isn’t worth a piece of material that does not live. Material things do not matter as much as a living breathing thing does …
The Personality Change …
I would just like to state that my kitty before suffering this hell had an attitude that was unbreakable and like no other. People loved that about her. Since her surgery she has grown acustom to being “loved on” and around anyone who has a hand to pet her. I feel as if her “natural” behavior was just stripped from her like a medal.
The Story …
On January 19, 1999 I took my kitty to the vet to be dropped of for what’s considered a normal declaw. Happens everyday right? Kitties go home and everythings fine right? Well upon dropping her off they assured me it was a simple procedure and I signed a paper allowing her to undergo drugs and testing to assure she could take the drugs. They told me to pay when I picked Mama Kitty up and it would be an over night stay. I said okay, I said my good bye’s and then I left to go to work.
I called constently checking up on kitty and to make sure she was okay. They told me she was fine and things were looking good. Well time came to get off work. I went home to a quiet motionless room. Sad I decieded I had nothing better to do than sleep. The next morning as soon as I got to work, I called to check on kitty and then since I felt ill I went home. Shortly after noon I called again to check if things were good to see if it was fine for kitty to come home. They said I could and I flew to the vet.
When I got there, gave them my name, and Kitties. They brought her out, and informed me she would not eat anything. So it’s been a day in a half with no food or water for her. She immediately started “crying”. She would not stop meow’ing at me. They told me to give her a pain pill twice a day (Torbutrol), to replace her litter with shredded paper, to keep her in a “quiet” area and not allow her to jump. They gave me a 15 minute speech of “after declawing care”. The whole time kitty was whining from her carrier. Then came the payment. They said with hesitation it was $128. I looked at her and said wait a second. Before I could finish she started saying that she spoke with me on the phone yada yada, and went into this long explantion again. Kitty still whining I said look whatever tell me how much so I could get my kitty home where she felt comfortable. They had told me originally it was $120 even. When I signed the paperwork I was given that as my quote for everything. When I called to check up on her they included a $5 charge for a de-wormer pill since she ate a flea which gave her a worm? In any case it came to $125. And that was my now new quote. Well I ended up paying $128. Anyway, I finally I got to leave. Kitty whined the whole drive home as well.
When we got home and I took the top of the carrier, she flew out of it like a bird would a cage. She landed in the hallway where she walked around in a drunkin stooper. I noticed she had a piece of her paw like hanging from the right side of her left paw. Just kinda attached there, by what I had no idea. She also seemed to hold that left paw just a bit. She then disappered under the bed where she hid for 2 days. She would slowly creep out to grab a bite of food. But she would not touch her regular food. I had to go buy some of the moist canned food. Finally by that following Saturday she would come out if no one else was around. I got a glimse of her paw. I thought the left one was where she might have a problem. But it was her right paw swollen as big as a puppy’s paw would be. I was concerned and called the vet. Closed at 1 and no emergency care # to call. I had no choice but wait till Monday (01/25/99). I got no sleep that night or Sundays as kitty was out of pain medicine and limping where ever she moved to. She even sat holding the right paw up.
That Friday I quit my job in order to take the next week off to give kitty as much TLC as I could and to recover from the cold I had at the same time.
Monday morning I called and got an appt for 11:00 am. When I brought her in I explained what she was doing and that her right paw other than looking swollen had what seemed to be a hole. I also asked what was with the little piece hanging on the side of her left paw. The vet told me that apparently it was glued on wrong. I followed with what was glued to what. She explained they went through kitties “peds” in order to remove her first joint and that they used tissue glue to put the “peds” back on so they can heal up. I (uneducated in this matter) said ok with a blank expression. The vet then squeezed kitties right paw and a pinkish bubble oozed out and she told me it looked like an infection. The vet then went on to say she would give kitty a shot to sedate her a bit to clip off the piece of paw they glued on wrong and clean her paws up so they could get a better look at her. When they returned kitty was so out of it she was laying half in the carrier and half out. Not through the front either, she was laying in the carrier from the side of it. How that was comfortable I don’t know, but she didn’t budge. The vet’s helper placed her all the way in and the vet continued to explain all the meds they were giving me. I got more pain killers (Torbutrol) I also now had to force drops in her mouth twice a day along with the pain pill, and then soak her paws in Chlorhexiderm twice a day as well. Breathless I said okay and that was that. I ended up shelling out another $44 bucks and was informed my previous fee of $128 was showing unpaid. Apparently the dumb lady I spoke with on the phone didn’t even know how to do that much, which leads me to believe she did over charge me or include something she shouldn’t have. I argued with the lady at the desk and she assured me a bill would be sent to mark that as I paid already. I gave the additional $44 for the meds, rescheduled for a follow-up on the next Friday and went on my way to get kitty home and comfortable.
At home kitty went back into her hiding stage but only for about 12 hours. When she came out she layed down beside me on the floor where I could see both her paws. I noticed her right paw had a hole the size of a pencil eraser where her “ped” should have been. I have no idea what they did to her on that visit, but I don’t feel it was good. Later that night my bf helped me to soak her paws in the solution they gave me. Her left paw started bleeding like we just sliced her foot open. An hour after the paw soaking I looked at her left paw and what would have been a pinky toe had no ped either. I have no idea if this is normal or what. They told me it was. 1-29-99
Shani, Simba and Nermal’s story
First of all I was against having my cats declawed from the very beginning. After arguing with my husband about the cats for 2 years I decided to look into declawing. Some people I’ve known most of my life have declawed cats and their cats have always been well cared for and healthy. The thing is that I thought declawing meant they were going to remove the claws, nothing else. The word declawing is in itself misleading because it should be called de- toeing.
I was very worried about this declawing but the vet tech reassured me that my cats would only suffer temporary pain and everything would be normal after that. They de-toed my cats and sent them home the same day with heavily bandaged front feet. I was told I could remove the bandages the next day or bring the cats back in to have the bandages removed. The first thing I found out was that Simba was not about to use the litterbox after having been declawed. He started using the carpet in the family room instead. Then I noticed that they were walking differently than they had ever walked before. I could see they were clearly in a great deal of pain and I called the vet’s office to ask for pain medicine. They refused to give my cats any pain medicine because they said my cats would walk on their paws and damage them since they wouldn’t be able to feel the pain. My cats continued to limp for weeks and were walking in an unnatural way. Shani eventually seemed to get better but Simba did not. I had to go into the vets office for another matter and while I was there I asked to make an appointment for Simba. I was told to bring him in the next morning. When I brought him in I was surprised to find only the vet tech and no vet in the office. She briefly looked at his paws and said “I don’t see anything wrong” , she seemed angry that I had wasted her time. I then had to show her where there were scabs and a lump in his paw. She agreed to give him an antibiotic shot in his paws and she told me that sometimes cats regrow deformed nails inside their paws and he might need a second operation.
In the mean time I had switched Simba back to his regular kitty litter as I was told I could do so after a week. I had to retrain him to use the litterbox by confining him to one room. To this day we still have occasional problems in getting him to use his box because the family room is now scent marked. The carpet is completely ruined.
Simba’s limp began to get worse again so I decided to get a second opinion. My new vet said both of Simba’s paws were infected inside and he would need to do a second operation to remove more bone. It appeared that the paws had been infected right from the start and so had never healed properly. They were still scabbed over after 3 months. Apparently, because the wounds never healed kitty litter had worked it’s way inside one of his paws. Thankfully the vet did not have to remove too much bone from Simba’s feet and he can still walk. My new vet kept Simba overnight and removed the bandages himself. He also sent Simba home on an antibiotic to prevent any further infection from happening as would likely be done with an amputation on a human. I was not charged any additional amount for this extra care either.
Three of my cats were declawed. Of the 3 it took Shani 3 months to recover, it took Simba 6 months to recover and while Nermal was younger and recovered more quickly her paws look disfigured with loose skin hanging off of them. Also one of the reasons I adopted Nermal was because she was a very loving purring kitten. She tends to be very nervous now and spends a lot of time under the bed though she is still loving with me. I can’t help but wonder if de-toeing caused this behavior difference. I can clearly see that my 3 cats walk flat on their feet compared to Shelby who is not declawed. Also, while other vets have denied this is a possibility my new vet said that cats may develop osteoarthritis as a result of being declawed. Only the future will tell me whether or not my cats will go through further suffering as the result of being declawed. Given a chance to do it all over again I would never declaw a cat.
Shelby has a sisal rope scratching post, has her nails trimmed regularly and I would use soft paws if needed.
Furpurr, a vet tech’s story
I have 5 cats. Two are declawed and 3 are not. If I could go back in time, I would give my babies their claws back, but I can’t. I feel very guilty for doing it when it wasn’t necessary. Not only that, but I’m a vet tech. I feel I should have known better. I feel that all vets and vet techs should know better, but it blows my mind that the majority of them that I have worked with declaw their cats. At the time, it was my first job at a vet clinic. Looking back at what happened now, having the experience of 3 other vet clinics under by belt, I know that the first place where I worked was an absolutely horrid place! How I could be so stupid and nieve I don’t know.
My first vet clinic job was at a very small practice solely owned by an older vet. His techniques and equipment were archaic. He never used gas anesthesia, he used expired drugs (He’d say, “Back when I started practicing there were no expiration dates..they are still good! Not like they automatically go bad on the exact date on the bottle), and his surgical packs were NOT sterile. The instruments were put in a metal ice cube tray with drapes folded and placed on top of the instruments, then autoclaved. In school (to get my vet tech license) nor in any other practice, have I seen it done this way. After autoclaving the “pack” they were placed in a cupboard stacked on top of each other, many times with the instruments exposed.
The ear crop patients and the declaws stayed in the clinic for 2 nights. The cats toes were sutured together after the claw was removed, and weren’t even fully awake until the next day. They got their bandages removed the day after surgery, and they would stay that day too to “stay quiet” in the confined area and so we could “observe” them. The cats recieved no pain medication. After their bandages were removed, most of them freaked out and flopped around in the cage and climbed up the bars etc. Many of them broke open their sutures. The cats would shake their paws when you walked by, and you’d get splashed with blood drips. The assistants began putting newspaper over the cage doors so that we didn’t get bloody all the time. If we didn’t, we spent a lot of time cleaning up blood spatters off the wall across from the cages with a bucket and sponge. The cats would calm down eventually, and sometimes would be standing there looking at me with pools of blood around their paws. I always ran and told the doctor about the poor bleeding cats. He’d humor me and come back to the kennel. He’d take a look and say, “He’s fine. When I began practicing, we didn’t even suture the toes. Believe me. They are fine.” The toes would stop bleeding finally after the cats calmed down. I’d move them to a clean cage. Then I’d clean the cage as best as I could. All the “cat” cages had layers of caked on dried blood that I couldn’t remove no matter how much I scrubbed. I worked to get the fresh blood off, but most of it had been there for years. I was also responsible for cleaning all the blood spots off of the cats so the owners didn’t freak out the next day when they came to pick them up.
I had a cat when I lived with my parents. We got her from an ad in the paper as a declawed adult. I had to find a home for her when I moved out of my parents house and in with my severely allergic, asthmatic best friend. When my best friend moved out, and my fiance (now husband) moved in, the first thing I wanted was a cat. We got two. I assumed that since I didn’t want my furniture destroyed, I’d have to get them declawed. My mother gave us the living room furniture, and she wasn’t an animal person. I knew I’d never hear the end of how my stupid animals destroyed the wonderful furniture that she so graciously bought for me. Oh how I wish that I were more educated then! As a poor college student, I let the doctor declaw my two babies since he didn’t charge me anything to do it as his employee. I thought that’s how all cats were declawed, and that at least I’d be there to comfort them and keep them from banging around and opening their sutures. (an advantage that I wouldn’t get elsewhere)
Well the surgery went okay, but the next day when we removed one of my kitty’s bandages, she was in so much pain that my docile little angel BIT me! I was shocked, but I understood her pain. I did my best to keep both of them quiet, and they recovered remarkably well. (they were both only 2 pounds though)
Even though they both recovered well, and they still have no difficulty walking etc after 3 years now, the male cat has extra flaps of skin that makes his front paws look deformed.
After working at other clinics I have seen that the older doctor’s techniques where very, very wrong. None of the other clinics allow cats to bleed like that. If they do begin to bleed, they re-bandage the paws immediately. One clinic where I worked gave pain medication and the cats seemed MUCH more comfortable than any other place I have worked.
Bottom line is that I switched clinics. The second place that I worked was a cat only clinic. They discouraged declawing, although they’d still do it if the owner insisted. I learned all kinds of valuable techniques for training, and most of all I learned that it is totally unnecessary to put cats through that surgery. Cats and people’s furniture CAN be in the same house without ill effects. I vowed that if I got another cat I’d try out the training skills that I had learned. I now have 3 cats complete with claws and BEAUTIFUL furniture. IT CAN BE DONE. I cannot believe that I just happened to get 3 cats who just happened to be non-scratchers or “easily trained”. I know it was because of the simple training that I did, and the scratching places that I offered them. My newest cat was a STRAY. He even uses the scratching areas.
I can’t give my first two fur babies their claws back, but what I can do is educate people. The first doctor that I worked for is BY FAR the WORST vet that I have ever heard of. Why did people go there? His prices were CHEAP. Know what’s even cheaper? A $5 cardboard scratching pad at pet supply stores. Then there’s no need for a painful surgery, they get to scratch, and you have no regrets. Give them a chance.
If you need training tips check out lisaviolet’s links, and I’ve also written training info at http://www.homestead.com/comfycreatures/cattraininginfo.html
PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!