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Now, before I get beaten to a pulp, let me say THIS IS A RESCUED CAT!!! She had a botched declaw job done by her previous previous owner. They then decided they didn't like their little Fluffy anymore, because she was grumpy in in pain all the time, so they took her to PAWS in Seattle, who tried to clean up the botched declaw job, healed her infection, and helped her get through the pain. She was then adopted by a friend of mine who took pity on the poor girl. She lived with them and their 3 dogs and 4 other cats for 3 years, until they got evicted from their house, and they had to get rid of some of their animals in a hurry. We offered to adopt Chai (that's her name) because we already had one indoor-only cat, and were looking for another. Phew! Now that you all know that I DID NOT DO THIS AND I WOULD NEVER NEVER NEVER DECLAW A CAT, I feel much better. Every time we go to a vet I have to tell them this whole story before they get the chance to hit me, so please fogive me for the pre-emptive explanation!

Now, to get to the problem. We have had Chai for ... wow, about 6 years now, which makes her about 10 years old. She has always had a bit of a personality problem due to the fact that she was mutilated by her original owners. She does not like to be picked up or held at all, though she will come sit in your lap on her own accord, provided you do not try to confine her in any way. She also likes to sleep on my pillow and beat me in the face with her tail, just so that I remember she's there and would like to be scratched. She's a wonderful cat, and I love her dearly. My life would be so... well rested ... without her!!! :)

I noticed a problem this afternoon. She was sitting in my lap as I typed at the computer for an unusually long time. At one point I was petting her and rubbed her leg and foot. I noticed her left front paw felt really rough like it had something in it. The bizarre thing was that she ALLOWED me to pet it again and again. This is very unusual, as she usually hates to have her feet touched. She actually let me look at it for a minute, which was even more amazing.

The pad of her first toe has what I can only describe as a bump on the bottom of it, with what truly looks like a bit of toenail growing out of it. I know it sounds bizarre, since her top knuckle was obviously chopped off, but is it possible that she could be developing a claw there? Whatever it is seems to be causing her discomfort, if not pain. She did not pull away when I touched it, as I would expect her to do if she was really hurt, but whatever it is does not belong there.

Her third toe also has something very odd. At the top of the knuckle, where the next joint should begin, there is a tube of old dead flesh, about a millimeter wide and half an inch long. It looks like shrivelled up skin that would have covered the missing piece of her toe. Is this possible???

The fact that she "showed" me her foot indicates that there is a problem that she wants help with. She does not seem to be limping, but I did catch her licking that foot for a while as if it was sore.

I am in Taiwan, and veterinary care is limited and the language barrier is great. Does anyone have any experience with such a thing? There is no sign of infection, and it does not seem to be limiting her movement at all... yet.

Any ideas and suggestions are welcome.

Thank you!

Karen - Mommy to Chai (10 year-old apple-head Siamese) and Tea (12 year old wedge-head Siamese) and a growing assortment of hamsters.
 

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A lot of times these cats will develop warty growths on their pads; this might be some of what you're seeing. I see them in non-declawed cats occasionally, but much more commonly in declawed cats. I have also seen claws regrow up to 10 years after declaw surgery.

If it's not painful, you might just try gently picking off the dead skin. It's probably more irritating than anything, like a pebble in your shoe.

I would also consider starting her on glucosamine sulfate now, 250 mg a day, to head off any arthritis that might be developing from the abnormal gait and balance that comes with declaw surgery.

Of course, if you notice any redness, pain, swelling, or discharge, get her to the vet!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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