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forced declawing care questions!

November 9th, 2009, 03:47 PM
my lil man goes in this friday to get neutered. he also has to get declawed. he has to get declawed as he has a couple of deformed toes on each foot (3 on one, 2 on the other). each of these deformed toes are bent at the tips, thereby causing his nails to curl under. i have taken him in to have them trimmed as i thought if i was diligent on keeping them trimmed, then he would not have to be declawed. but, it is not working as well as i thought.
i could have just these 5 toes declawed, but am opting to get all of them done so as to not unbalance the poor lil man, and also in the event that his other toes start to curl as well...and declawing would resolve this condition as it would eliminate the affected area.

i do realize that declawing, not only on this board, but when speaking with animal lovers in general, is a very heated topic. i am trusting that those on this board will understand that as he has a deformity, it is a necessary surgery for him.

that being said....any advice on aftercare would be greatly appreciated. he does have to stay at the vets for 2 nights and i do have 3 days off following bringing him home. i am going to replace his litter with recycled paper litter until he is healed enough to resume regular litter.
any other tips/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

thanks in advance!!

November 9th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Budgirl your right it is a very tough topic to discuss..I just wanted to say it sounds like you have it all covered! maybe just remove things that will give him the urge to jump up on for at least a couple of days. My boy jumped up on the window ledge and missed and it hurt him quite a bit. Other than that in my experience they do heal rather quickly. I have heard that the laser option if the vet is experienced may be a better way. With a deformaty it likely has to be the old method as it probably is affecting the bone.

Lots of rest and quite time !

AND for any one that is going to jump down my throat about it I will tell you in advance that I knew absolutely nothing about how a declaw worked 13 years ago when I got my kitties! and sometimes things are necessary.


November 9th, 2009, 03:58 PM
It is a heated topic but if there is no other option, then you do what you have to do to make your kitty comfy.

If you are doing this - go laser surgery. It may be more costly but the recovery time is shorter apparently.

I have 5 cats. 4 have claws and 1 does not (my foster failure silver persian). I notice that he does not fair well on the counters nor the ceramic floors - he tends to skate quite a bit. It will definately be an adjustment for your cat as well.

Good luck.

November 9th, 2009, 04:06 PM
my vet does offer laser surgery, and i have opted for that. they did advise that with his crooked toes, they may have to also snip - but cannot say forsure until surgery.

i know kiila will be pleased - less pokes for her in the nose! i am hoping he does well! they have also offered fentanyl patches for home as well - he will have them at the vet, and if necessary, a few for home as well to keep him comfy and most likely a lil sleepy.

i am glad that i will be home with him for 3 whole days to keep an eye on him!

i understand paper pellet litter is good as it is less dusty and larger pellets so as to not get in his paws...but wont they be too hard for him to walk on?

November 9th, 2009, 04:07 PM
no mine didnt seem to care! its just basically so they dont get the clumping letter and stuff in the incision..

November 9th, 2009, 04:08 PM
You must use what is recommended. I believe it is called Yesterday's News. Normal litter will infect the wounds. It is quite a nasty and invasive surgery.

November 9th, 2009, 04:15 PM
yes, yesterdays news is what it is - recycled paper pellets.
i went to my fave pet store, and they were sold out, so i went to petsmart. i ended up not buying it as i was so annoyed at the sales clerk who recommended wood (i think it was cedar or maybe pine) shavings - which i would think would have a tonne of dust, sharp edges/slivers, etc.
i will go back tomorrow and pick up a box of it.

November 9th, 2009, 04:50 PM
Get the softer texture version of Yesterday's News, unscented, and start him on it already so that it's not such a drastic change. Maybe mix it with the litter you currently use.

Are you sure all the toes have to be amputated?

Oh, and definitely give him all the pain killers you can. Fentanyl is a good choice, but he may need to be on it for up to 12 days. From this link:

Fact: Post-operative pain remains a problem and is not treated effectively or for long enough, even by those who know better.

A force-plate analysis of 27 declawed cats treated with 3 different pain protocols found that all cats were still shifting their weight off their front paws 12 days after surgery. They suggested that, even though they did not do it themselves,pain management should be continued for at least 12 days post-op. (Romans CW, Gordon WJ, Robinson DA, et al. Effect of postoperative analgesic protocol on limb function following onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jul 1;227(1):89-93.)

In response, a group of five veterinarians wrote a letter to the editor of JAVMA objecting to the lack of adequate pain relief. (Hornstein SE, Stein R, Thompson D, et al. Questions analgesic protocols and conclusions of onychectomy study. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jul 1;227(1):89-93.)

Despite their own research, the same authors subsequently did another study on declawing in which they provided equally poor pain control and only for 2 days. (Robinson DA, Romans CW, Gordon-Evans WJ, et al. Evaluation of short-term limb function following unilateral carbon dioxide laser or scalpel onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Feb 1;230(3):353-8.)

This time, I personally wrote a Letter to the Editor of JAVMA about the lack of pain control, which was published. (Hofve JC. Objects to analgesic procedures in cat study. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Feb 1;230(3):353-8.)

Fact: A recurring theme in studies assessing pain associated with declawing is the difficulty of knowing how much pain a cat is experiencing. Objective measurements of blood parameters (such as adrenaline and cortisol) were found to be unhelpful. Subjective methods, such as pain scores, have also proven unsatisfactory and relatively insensitive to the degree of pain being felt.

Benson GJ, Wheaton LG, Thurmon JC et al. Postoperative catecholamine response to onychectomy in isoflurane-anesthetized cats. Effect of analgesics. Vet Surg 1991;20:222-225.

Cambridge AJ, Tobias KM, Newberry RC et al. Subjective and objective measurements of postoperative pain in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:685-690.

Lin HC, Benson GJ, Thurmon JC, et al. Influence of anesthetic regimens on the perioperative catecholamine response associated with onychectomy in cats. Am J Vet Res 1993; 54:1721-1724.

Fact: Stoicism may be cats' greatest enemy in the declaw debate. Nobody declaws dogs—in vet school we were told that it's too painful—dogs scream and howl; their pain is easy to recognize. But cats are quiet, and they characteristically endure pain without complaint. With cats, a lack of obvious signs of pain does not mean the cat isn't feeling pain; it may even be feeling a great deal of pain.

"Cats, due to their stoic nature, are notorious for not expressing pain and suffering." (Benson GJ, Wheaton LG, Thurmon JC, et al. Postoperative catecholamine response to onychectomy in isoflurane-anesthetized cats: effect of analgesics. Vet Surg. 1991;20(3):222-225.)

"...orthopedic procedures involving the fingers and toes of humans are associated with severe postoperative pain..." (Ibid.)

"Detection of pain in cats is a particular challenge, because signs of pain in cats are often subtle." Cambridge AJ, Tobias KM, Newberry RC et al. Subjective and objective measurements of postoperative pain in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:685-690.

"Onychectomy is a painful procedure in cats...Unfortunately, cats typically receive analgesic medications for postoperative pain less often than do dogs." (Romans CW, Gordon WJ, Robinson DA, et al. Effect of postoperative analgesic protocol on limb function following onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Jul 1;227(1):89-93.)

November 9th, 2009, 05:02 PM
I WOULD not get any more done that absolutely necessary. If your cat does get out, it will have some defense. For ever toe that is amputated, there is that greater possiblility of forever pain.

November 9th, 2009, 05:14 PM
as stated in my inital post, 2 toes on one foot and 3 on the other absolutely need it. there is another on the foot that has the 3 crooked toes that appears to be going the same route. the remaining toes look normal to me, but the vet advised that they have a wee curve to them and most likely will go the same route - perhaps not as dramatically.
after discussing it long and hard with her and putting a great deal of thought into it, i have opted to get them all done - at this point, half as necessity, and the other half as preventative. rather than putting him through surgery twice, i have opted to get them all done at once, and at a young age, rather than him going through it now, and then perhaps in a year from now. also for potential balance issues.
on this, my decision has been very difficult, yet informed, and is made.

i am merely looking for suggestions on how to make his recovery as comfortable and safe as possible.


November 9th, 2009, 05:28 PM
I can't believe you have done your "research", and still would proceed to get the toes done that don't need to be :frustrated: :frustrated:. Would you get all your cats teeth pulled if a couple needed to be, just in case :yell: :frustrated:?

Have you ever spoken to somebody who has had a limb removed? I have, and he lives with perpetual pain.

This is not something I can keep quiet about.

November 9th, 2009, 05:33 PM
i asked as i made the assumption that people would understand that it is due to a deformity....not cuz i am a big freaking meanie!!
i asked for advice on aftercare, not to be chastised!!!!

thanks for trying to make me feel like a big piece of ****ing ****!

November 9th, 2009, 06:07 PM
Awe, i dont think l4h is being mean at all, you asked a question, knowing it is a heated subject. I do think she has a good point. My old aged cat needed teeth removed, we did not remove all of them even though there is a strong chance they would have to be done too. I am happy that you are trying to do the right thing. Do you have a pic of your kitties feet? I have not seen that before, and would be interested in what it looks like. Thanks for putting a lot of thought, and research into helping your kiddo, good luck with it, it must be so hard!

November 9th, 2009, 06:11 PM
thanks...but deformed feet are quite different than rotten teeth.

thanks to all who answered with the aftercare question i asked.

i am done asking questions here

November 9th, 2009, 06:21 PM
Budgirl I think we knew people wouldnt agree! but you have to do what you have to do! be at peace with the decision you made! and like you said its the aftercare you were concerned with.....:thumbs up

November 10th, 2009, 05:11 AM
thanks winston!! :grouphug:

November 10th, 2009, 06:15 AM

I am familiar with the situation you are describing. It is not all uncommon. I usually see situations like that with polydactyl cats.

I'm not sure how I would approach the situation. I would compare it to when dogs have dew-claws that grow into their skin. Sometimes it's just best to take them off :shrug: I hate de-clawing alot.. but when it comes down to it I think I understand what you mean by unbalancing them.. but I'm not sure if that would actually be true.

I don't think anyone here has recommended it, but have you tried using nail caps? That might help.. or I mean it could make your kitty more uncomfortable.

But I do see cats with funky toes fairly often come through the shelter. I once saw a cat where it only had half a paw and 3 toes. Whenever I see a cat with a funky foot I'll go ahead and clip it's nails for it even if the owner/caretaker didn't pay for it. Most of the people are too dumb or lazy to care for that themselves.

I think it's best you go ahead and discuss it with your vet.. even though I'm sure they will likely advise you to do whatever is most expensive :rolleyes:

This is a MAJOR surgery. It's not terribly invasive, as the actual incision is only the size of the widest part of their claw and they don't really go in and do anything. It is am amputation though and be advised post op pain, bleeding, oozing, etc are all common problems. Your cat will probably be at the vets office for a day or two. Also he will likely have those silly mittens on for a few days and possibly a pain patch.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Just try to think of whatever the best option would be for the kitty. I've had my cats (half a) leg amputated and also saw my grandmoms cat come back from getting declawed. Can you guess which one bounced back from surgery no problem and which one still has phantom pain and issues to this day?

November 10th, 2009, 03:47 PM
I just want to send good vibes to your little man that his surgery goes well and he recovers quickly. You do what you have to do to keep him healthy and well. If he needs the claws out then don't feel guilty. It's not like you are having them removed so he doesn't rip up your furniture, or claw the walls...the usual lame excuses that people give when they get their cats declawed.

November 10th, 2009, 04:28 PM
thanks kathryn and dch!

i am hoping for the very best for my lil man too! its certainly not a surgery i want him to have, but clipping the nails or soft paws will not work - as it is not just the nails that curl under, it is the toe itself at the first knuckle...whereby declawing at the first knuckle would put his feet flat. while 5 of them must be declawed, it is only time before the others will too as they are looking to be headed in the same direction...and to save him from having to go through this surgery twice, it is best to get them all done at the same time.
thankfully his back feet are perfectly normal! :)

November 10th, 2009, 05:26 PM
budgrrl,, not going to pass an opinion at all since that's not what you asked for. I have to believe you are doing what you think is best for your kitty. The reason i am posting is to suggest that you pm Dr. Lee and see what advice he may be able to give you. Goodluck to you and your baby.

November 11th, 2009, 04:20 AM
thanks for the advice aslan (thats my kitten's name!!)
i messaged dr lee and received and answer - thanks for suggesting i message him!

November 11th, 2009, 12:26 PM
you are more than welcome. lol, must be a wonderful kitty then.:thumbs up

November 19th, 2009, 04:58 PM
How is Aslan doing, budgrrl?

November 19th, 2009, 05:04 PM
thanks so much for asking scm!!

he is doing well! the surgery corrected his lil piggies and he has flat feet!
he did have to go back twice, once for an ecollar (or his cone of shame as he likes to think of it!) as he was licking and picking at his paws and today as he had managed to pull out a glue plug while in the litter box and i was worried about it. he did get some antibiotics today as well :( as the one that had the glue plug pulled out was a bit infected.

but overall, he is a lil trooper and is doing great!

November 19th, 2009, 05:07 PM
but overall, he is a lil trooper and is doing great!

Fantastic! I'm glad to hear it. :)

November 19th, 2009, 05:21 PM
Hi Buddgrrl :) I'm so glad to hear that he is doing well! I also wanted to say that I know it wasn't an easy decision to make (as you stated) and that I hope none of the previous posts made you feel worse. We can never sit in judgment of someone else if we haven't walked in their shoes ... and obviously if you are here in this forum asking questions on how to care for your little guy you are looking to get the answers you need to ensure his recovery is as pain free and pleasant as can be! Kudos to you!

All my energy for a quick and speedy recovery :goodvibes:!

November 19th, 2009, 05:27 PM
budgrrl glad to hear my little namesake is doing so well :thumbs up. poor little guy will get over the evil collar in no time.

November 19th, 2009, 06:14 PM
budgrrl glad to hear my little namesake is doing so well :thumbs up. poor little guy will get over the evil collar in no time.

Funny off-topic side note: My Minnie (RIP 9/3/93-8/18/09) had to have numerous surgeries (she was a bit scrappy with all the household cats and prone to infection). She never seemed to figure out the cone. The bottom would get stuck in the carpet, but she'd keep walking. We'd walk into the room to find the cone face down on the carpet and a Minnie butt sticking out the top! hehe!

Just thought I'd cheer up this thread. :clown:

November 19th, 2009, 06:20 PM
thanks cath and aslan for your kind words!!

equla - my lil man did that a few times too! he put his head down to look at the floor, and kept walking like that - looking like a lil vacuum cleaner!
poor man! i didnt know whether to cry or laugh!
but he is getting used to it!

November 19th, 2009, 06:28 PM
hehe! It is a little pathetic. You laugh, but in a very "I so shouldn't be laughing at this" way.

I'm glad all is going well after the surgery. After Minnie's declaw, she fell off the loft onto tile and fractured her paws. My best advice, as stated by others, is to make sure he doesn't end up on any shelves or cupboards.

Also, when you see him walking on the backs of his paws, that's totally normal. It took Minnie a good month to be walking normally after her surgery.

November 19th, 2009, 06:35 PM
the cone is slightly preventing him from jumping on things as it limits his sight...however, he is getting used to it quite quickly - so the furniture has been rearranged and barricades put up so he cannot jump up. that...and mommy is following him everywhere to spy on him and makes sure he doesnt get into any trouble.

November 19th, 2009, 06:43 PM
Funny off-topic side note: My Minnie (RIP 9/3/93-8/18/09) had to have numerous surgeries (she was a bit scrappy with all the household cats and prone to infection). She never seemed to figure out the cone. The bottom would get stuck in the carpet, but she'd keep walking. We'd walk into the room to find the cone face down on the carpet and a Minnie butt sticking out the top! hehe!

Just thought I'd cheer up this thread. :clown:

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::sorry::laughing::laug hing:

November 19th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Going to have to add to the cone topic-

When Tripod got his leg amputated, he decided the best thing to do was jump up everywhere. He finally learned his lesson after taking a dive off the bed before I could grab him and ended up in the same position- cone first into the floor :laughing: He wasn't injured at all and tumbled right over, but if only he spoke human because 'I told ya so!'. Darn cat kept getting away from me every chance he got and would just reek havoc with that darn lampshade!! :D

Glad to hear kitty Aslan is doing well. Hopefully his paws will heal into a more comfortable position :fingerscr

November 21st, 2009, 01:47 PM
his paws are looking amazing! they are flat to the ground and he is tearing around like there's no tomorrow - with momma hot on his tail to make him slow down and take it easy so that he doesnt hurt his wee piggies as they are healing! :D

the vet said to keep the cone on for atleast a week, 2 weeks if he can tolerate it. i have tested him several times by taking the cone off to see what he will do....and 9/10 times he starts to chew.
he has had it on since tuesday, so nearly a week...and he doesnt seem to mind it at all 2 weeks looks definitely do-able :D

that ought to be long enough, no? i suppose i will be able to tell at that time how his toes look and how much he chews on them?

November 21st, 2009, 01:57 PM
The sucky thing about healing is once the pain goes away, the itching sets in and will make her want to chew even more. I would think 2 weeks would be fine (mine got declawed when I was kid many moons ago, so I don't remember how long it took), but keep an eye just in case.

I also forget how long it took Minnie to start walking on her feet correctly. I remember it being pretty quickly, so... I would think when the paws are back to normal (not flat) all is good.

Did Asian get a pain patch? And how is she doing with the funky litter? Mine hated it. We eventually gave up and let her have an old blanket instead of the litter and just washed it every day. Oy!

November 22nd, 2009, 03:19 AM
aslan did not get fentanyl patches, but he did get metacam, which his doing very well on :)

he also doesnt mind the new litter at all! i started him on it a couple days beforehand and took to it with no problems. the only 'problem' is that he likes to play with the pellets, so he digs them out and plays floor hockey with them! haha!

i will keep the cone on for 2 weeks and then take it on a day by day basis i guess - if i see him chewing his feet, i will put it back on for a day or two and keep on trying :)
he is a sneaky pete though - the minute i take it off now, he grooms himself, plays, etc...and then he runs under a table or elsewhere out of immediate reach and is after his paws! so i do not let him stray too far from me without his lil helmet :(