You’d never know from her gentle disposition that Shelby has no front toes.Transferred to CAT from Willamette Humane with her feline sister Sheena (who is also declawed), we are unsure why Shelby has no front toes. Both cats are seniors and the information provided to us shows their previous owner could no longer afford to care for them.
Declawing generally does not mean removal of the entire digit. “Was it chronic neuroma of her feet or a declawing procedure gone wrong? I just don’t know,” explains Dr. Melinda Barkley, Medical Director at CAT. “Her toes were surgically amputated leaving her paddle-like feet.” We don’t know how many years she’s had no toes.
Shelby doesn’t seem upset when you touch her non-toed feet and she can walk. Rather than stepping on her toes and front pad, as most cats do, she steps further back on her front feet. Dr. Barkley observed that “Shelby does prefer to sit more than stand so I have a hunch that there is some discomfort to her front feet.” Because of this preference, Shelby’s weight will need to be managed at a healthy level since her activity level is diminished.
Declawed cats can experience pain or discomfort in their feet. Most declawed kitties abhor having their feet touched. It is highly recommended that declawed cats remain indoor only and a soft litter be offered to decrease the pain experienced when stepping on the litter. Liken it to being barefoot and stepping on the pointy end of a small piece of gravel, over and over again.
Shelby and Sheena were up for adoption at CAT for a very short time - minutes rather than days - before being scooped up and taken home by Vicky and Peter (of Beaverton) in January 2012.
After a few weeks adjusting to their new home, Vicky told us Shelby compensates well for a cat with no toes. Apparently when Shelby steps into the litter box, her little legs just sink in like tooth picks.
Vicky chuckles at the difference between how Shelby and Sheena grasp the wand toys, Shelby uses her teeth for a firm hold.
Shelby gets a glucosamine capsule every night with little wet food. Vicky and Peter believe it is helping her joints and her gait. She jumps and joyfully plays with Sheena.
Both cats are much loved.