A Look Back in Time: The Hissing Kangaroo Cats of the ’90’s

The pace in the clinic has slowed down a little since the holidays.  It’s the calm before the storm, really.  Next week marks the beginning of dental “month”.  Which is the annual torrent of discounted teeth cleanings that runs from February through April.

On the one hand it’s great because this way the majority of our patients get in to have their teeth cleaned, which is wonderful.  I think we see less yucky mouths overall in the ones that get cleaned annually.  On the other hand, come April, we AMCOP employees are about ready to quit our jobs and kill each other because we’ve been burning the candle at both ends getting these hundreds of dentals done for 3 months straight (during regular business hours, Monday through Friday of course).  We’re usually slightly burned out by April’s end.

But that’s ok, we’re helping pets right?  😉

Linda, one of our technicians just walked into my office with a kitten that I neutered and declawed today (he wanted some attention).  He has bandages on his feet and was boxing at her through his cage bars.  He had duck and pea canned cat food for dinner and is pretty happily “stoned” on his Fentanyl (narcotic) patch.  His feet are numb from the nerve block I put in before I declawed him and I gave him an injection of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory also, just for good measure. 

20 years ago, I was a 17-year-old kid working at an animal hospital in my home town.  I remember the vets spaying cats. The cats wiggled around during the surgery, while tied to the operating table with their eyes wide open and pupils huge.  I asked the vet if the cat was feeling the surgery, and she said no, it was just the drugs. 

 The cat was on a drug called Ketamine, which, incidentally on top of its use as a human and animal sedative,  is a street drug. It’s coveted by whatever kinds of people do illegal street drugs…I’ve seen what it does to pets, I’d never take it in a million years.  

It’s a good sedative, and memory eraser, and hallucinogen, but turns out, not so good for pain control (they figured this out years later).  

Those cats were feeling pain.

Declaw cats didn’t fare any better.  They got the same drug, and I’ll never forget how they looked post-op.  They sat in the backs of their cages on their haunches, paws in the air in front of them, like little kangaroos. 

Hissing kangaroos, that is. 

These cats were in a lot of pain and they were pissed.  Every time their feet touched the ground they growled, jumped, cried, spit or some combo thereof. 

It was horrible.

So, I do declaw cats.  I’m not going to get into the ethics of it at this time.  I quote the clients for multiple pain control modalities that add over $100 to the cost of the declaw.  If they decline the pain control, I decline the surgery. 

After all, it is an elective procedure. 

I’ve seen the alternative. 

No hissing kangaroo cats on my watch .


2 thoughts on “A Look Back in Time: The Hissing Kangaroo Cats of the ’90’s

  1. hmmm.. I am not sure about declawing a cat. It seems so much a part of their essence as a cat.

    Kind of like removing a dogs ability to smell.

    1. I guess, but really, even though they’re declawed they still “claw” stuff and I’ve known multiple declawed cats who can still hunt….(and catch) prey.

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