A friend of mine has a very sweet kitten who is just over 5 months old, though she has only been with my friend about 3 weeks. She is a polydactyl cat with 6 toes on one hand and 7 on the other, probably one extra on each hind foot, but it's hard to tell as she's a bit of a kicker. P:
She's a healthy, active, good natured kitty, but her claws are an area for concern. With the positioning of her extra toes, the claws don't retract properly and catch with each step as she walks accross surfaces such as carpet, couch or bed. Most of the apartment simply has wood flooring, but she wanders over these areas enough that we're concerned about her nails snagging and causing injury to her paw.
SO, my friend and I have been discussing solutions to this problem. We tried trimming the extra nails with a regular nail clipper but didn't have much luck. I managed to do one paw, but couldn't tell from the sound if it had actually made much difference. My friend was a bit put off by the struggle, and wondered if it might be better to declaw the toes in question.
I did some research on declawing, but couldn't find anything specific to polydactyl cats. I wonder if anyone has some experience in this area and could give me some input?
I'll outline my more specific questions:
- On her front paws, the thumbs are on the side and up a little - She doesn't quite walk on them like normal toes, but they aren't quite high enough to be out of the way, and still catch on the carpet. I'm not sure if they sharpen properly when she grooms them, but they were rather long which gives extra concern as they can turn inward slightly almost like a human thumb. While I disagree with declawing as a whole, I'm wondering if having these toes out of the way would eliminate some of the trauma, defensless feeling and discomfort while walking that cause issues with a full declawing?
- I don't really see how this would work, but is it possible that entirely removing the extra toes would be less painful, traumatic... Or just easier on the cat in any way? While researching this issue, I came accross a few cases where the toes were removed, but none involving declawing those toes instead. We do like the look of mitten paws and it's fun to watch how she uses them, so we'd rather not go that far...
After hearing about all the potential problems, my friend will be discussing this very seriously with her vet. For the time being, though, (And in case the vet doesn't consider it so seriously) I was curious about what others might think? Even if your experience is only about extra toes or declawing and not both together, I'd be interested to hear your predictions, too! Thanks!