One of our cats was declawed when we got her. Horrible, we thought, but it was already done and didn't seem to bother her at all. She didn't really get along with the others all that well, but claws weren't that much of an issue as they just hissed at each other, so she finally settled in. All our cats are indoor only, occasionally outdoors in a special pen and carefully supervised.
So, what's the problem, you might ask. Well, last week we took her in for a checkup and mentioned to the vet that she'd been walking funny. Just a weird little hop and then shaking her feet. He examined her feet and told us she had adhesions from her declaw surgery. Since we've had her for four years, this surgery was fairly old and healed. I had never heard of adhesions from declawing, but the vet said it is fairly common in older declawed cats. He said it's making her feel like electric shocks on her toes, and it really hurts.
Now we have this poor baby scheduled for more surgery on her feet, to free the adhesions. If I could just give her claws back with this surgery, it might be worth the pain she'll have to go through (again). But it will only restore, hopefully, her comfort in walking. It is going to be as traumatic as the original surgery, with bandages and pain meds, as well as the risk of infection and bleeding. The vet says it needs to be done now before she is any older and it gets any worse. She is eight years old.
This sweet little girl has never hurt anyone and the whole thing makes me sick, but she is slowly but surely losing her ability to walk.
Anyone who wants to copy this letter to convince someone not to declaw, please feel free. I wouldn't want to see this happen to another cat.
October 11, 1999