I have three beautiful, sweet, affectionate Persians, and all three are de-toed. I had to have my youngest one, a flame-point named Dhalia, de-toed because she had a congential heart defect which meant many surgeries to correct her problem. All those surgeries meant lots of itchy stitches on her chest- and she would scratch away at those suckers all day when she still had her toes. There's no excuse except complete ignorance for having my sweetie Ritty Pants de-toed, I thought I was being a good mommie. My vet told me it would prevent future problems between us.
Thinking back on it- what problems would we haved encountered? I never see my kitties try to pick on the furniture with their paws (I call it 'sharpening their paws'). I do see them 'sharpen' on the metal runner for the sliding glass door to the screened in patio though- so what? Anyway, it's just stupid furniture. I wouldn't have my toddler's bladder removed because he wets the bed!
But one of my babies, Gravity, was just rescued that way- de-toed. I've had Dhalia and Ritty Pants since they were tiny little kitties, and they are still VERY sweet and never have any problems with strangers, the litter box, or even having their little feet touched; but Gravity, the kitty I found, seems to have a lot of issues with his paws.
I've noticed that Gravity has nightmares he actually acts out! He'll meow SO loud while he's still asleep that I get scared he's hurt himself on something and I go running to check on him. What I find him doing in his sleep is extraordinarily disturbing. He will be licking his front paws, or chewing on his toes, and he doesn't stop until I pick him up and start coddeling him. His front legs also twitch a lot like his paws tickle or itch- or maybe still hurt! And if anyone touches his de-toed paws- that person better watch out for those teeth! He will bite and draw blood. The only time he doesn't have nightmares are the nights when he sleeps with me in my bed and snuggles up real close under the blankets. He always seems somewhat skittish, and is very wary of anyone but me.
I feel so bad for him. I wonder what he dreams of when he chews on his feet. Does he invision the surgery, and the pain following it? I pray that his feet don't STILL hurt after so many years. I can't even possibly imagine the horror. You know, some people have to be given a drug called Ativan before and after they have invasive surgery to keep them from having any memory whatsoever of their potentially traumatic experience. Animals have memories and emotions also. It's about time that people take them into consideration.
Even before reading all the posts here, I had a suspicion that his problems were from his de-toeing surgical experience. Now I'm absolutely positive. I will NEVER have another precious baby de-toed. NEVER! And I will be sure to tell everyone I know, cat owners or not, about the devastating effects de-toeing has on cats, and their parents who love them.