Phantom pain after declawing is rarely if ever discussed by veterinarians. It needs to be aired. Dr. Bradshaw in his celebrated book Cat Sense says that it is likely that domestic cats experience phantom pain after the declawing operation. Eighty percent of people who have had fingers amputated experience phantom pain. Humans and cats have very similar mechanisms for feeling pain. Domestic cats hide pain. Therefore, it is likely that declawed cats are feeling phantom pain but not showing it except through the sort of signs that we are becoming used to reading about on the Internet such as developing arthritis, having a unusual gait and not using the litter box. I discuss the unwelcome consequences of declawing more fully on the following page:
Dr. Bradshaw, himself, suffered from ten years of phantom pain after most of the nerves in one fingertip were severed in an accident. He learned to ignore the pain realising that it was meaningless but cats are unable to do this or at least are unlikely to be able to do it. It requires a rationalisation of what is happening and cats think instinctively.
As mentioned, veterinarians hardly ever discuss the likelihood that domestic cats feel phantom pain after being declawed. They should even tell their clients about it. It is a misrepresentation of the operation not to do so. It is another example of the desire of veterinarians who declaw to hide the reality of the operation. Even the name does this is as much more than the claw is removed. A study on phantom pain should be commissioned.
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