Declawing the cat involves the laceration of a tendon that joins the tip of the fingers to the beginning of the forearm. Plantigrade stance occurs because of the biomechanical changes created from declawing. The cat can no longer recruit its muscles properly, causing a collapse that affects the paws and its grip strength. The result is a weight transfer from the fingers to the palm of their paws.
Swollen fingers explain in part why many declawed cats are reluctant to have their fingers manipulated. Deep pressure palpation of these swollen appendages often provokes cats to withdraw their paws. Possible causes include infection, bone remnants, claw regrowth, osteoarthritis, etc.
Declawing involves the laceration of the tendons that attach to the tip of the fingers. These tendons are responsible for flexing the fingers. The surgery leaves them dangling, to scar in mechanically inefficient locations. Sometimes, the muscles that connect to the tendons contract, creating a curled finger, incapable of extension.
The complication rates of declawing vary wildly, anywhere from a small fraction of 1% all the way to 50%. Given that there are millions of cats declawed every year in the United States and Canada combined, post-surgical complications must also be in the millions per year.
Declawing consists of multiple amputations that cause pain, acute and chronic, and prevent the expression of natural behavior by restricting the cat's ability for movement.
When a tendon is damaged, it necessarily weakens the muscles adjoining it, and this also reduces the stability of the joints associated with it. Higher muscles groups must compensate for these deficits, changing the dynamics of every other structure involved in the movement while also decreasing coordination of the paws. Studies have shown that declawed cats have a greater rate of spinal pain than non-declawed cats.
Any pet is reliant on the benevolence of its caregivers; pet owners and veterinarians alike.