Animal advocates raising funds to help cat harmed by botched surgery

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah cat has been living in pain for months due a botched declawing surgery.

Opponents to the popular procedure said the cat, “Sammy,” is an example of why we need to stop declawing our cats, and look for other safer and easier alternatives.

Right now, The Paw Project Utah is raising funds to get a doctor to Utah for a specialized surgery to fix Sammy’s feet and find him a new home.

Sammy is a 6 year old cat that’s been in the shelter since January 30 after his declawing procedure from a Utah veterinarian went awry.

“It’s something that we can easily add on to a spay or neuter procedure, so it’s unfortunately very, very common  here,” says Kristen Doub, State Director of Paw Project Utah.

X-rays of Sammy’s paws show remaining fragments from the botched surgery, and pet experts said they’re causing Sammy a lot of pain.

“It would be synonymous to us walking with a pebble in our shoe,” Doub said. “For him, pretty much five pebbles in each shoe - so he’s got four shoes and he’s got to deal with five pebbles everyday which is pretty painful.”

Opponents of declawing said Sammy is an example of how often the procedure goes wrong, leaving many cats abandoned just like him. Doub thinks owners are not fully aware of what they’re signing their cats up for.

“I have heard it being referred to as a permanent nail trim by some veterinarians,” Doub said. “I think if we start referring to it as an amputation then I think a lot of owners will think twice about signing their cats up for it.”

Paw Project Utah is trying to raise money to fly a doctor to Utah to train Doub on the reparative paw surgery, and Doub will then be able to help other cats suffering from this. If Sammy doesn’t get his paws fixed, experts said his quality of life will be very dismal.

Doub said Sammy would have, “A life full of pain, discomfort, and aggression because he is a little big aggressive when you try to palpate his feet.”

Paw Project Utah says $600 would be enough to fly the doctor to Utah and totally fix Sammy. So far, the organization has raised just $210. Paw Project Utah is taking donations on their website. Donors should indicate their contribution is for “Saving Sammy.”


  • Bitsko

    Without passing judgment, I’ll say that I’ve witnessed the procedure. (Several relatives were vets.) Before you sign on, understand that this is NOT just “removing the claws.” It’s amputating the cat’s “fingers” at the first joint. And it’s every bit as horrible to watch as it sounds.

    Imagine cutting off all of YOUR fingers at the first knuckle because you get tired of breaking your nails. Sound extreme? It is.

  • Christine H.

    All cats who undergo this surgery will experience changes to their paws that get worse over time. Their toes pads shrink, the toes become deformed and they end up walking on the amputated bones. This unnatural pressure causes calluses to form. The toes are at the wrong angle for walking which throws the cat off balance, causing an unnatural gait that puts abnormal stress on joints elsewhere. This causes arthritis and pain. Evidence is visible when the cat is properly examined. Comparative x-rays between normal cats and older declawed cats is shocking. There is no doubt the surgery is NOT beneficial for the cat, considering how many end up with health and behavior problems from it. It’s not ethical, not moral, and not necessary.

  • Flo

    Is anyone aware of any vet’s in the Northern VA tri-state area the offer the corrective procedure? We have a cat in rescued that the victim of a botched declaw that could potential find a forever home after years , if the behavioral issues that are a result of this procedure can be corrected.

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