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Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.
KD, I am so very sorry that you did not receive a followup message from me. I typed a long message with questions for you and apparently it did not come through. One of our moderators is looking into this to see if there might have been a bug on our message. Again, I am very sorry. I did not know that you had not received my correspondence until a short while ago and I want to apologize greatly.Can you clarify if she plays aggressively with both cats and people, or just people?Have soft paws been tried thus far to see if this helps?In what manner is she allowed to play with people and how is her scratching people handled?How often are her nails trimmed?
As you've mentioned before, biting would be her limitation if she was declawed...but this often increases in severity once the cat no longer has claws. It may reach a point where it's not safe to be around her at all, so I would avoid this if at all possible.Nail trims will at least soften the blow of a swipe.Soft paws are little nail caps that go over the natural nail and stay on with a drop of glue. Kinda similar to the idea of artificial nails in women. In any case, they're soft and rubbery so they soften the pressure from the nail, keep cats from destroying furniture, etc. If she will sit on someone's lap calmly or allow her feet to be played with while she's asleep you'll likely be able to apply these on your own at home. Some mobile vets will also come to your home (to minimize the stress of the vet) and apply them if she's too feisty for your own restraint efforts.
Spaying should certainly help to calm her down, which may occur a few weeks following. Be advised that it won't occur immediately and will likely be gradual over time.She may be a cat that would do best with having someone trim a few nails each day while she sleeps. Since she's a stray and you mention she's out of control at the vet's office, she's likely lived a feral past where aggressive behavior got her what she wanted (if she didn't want to be restrained she may have acted aggressively and found that she was permitted freedom).As far as behavioral training with playing too hard, the best approach is going to be taking your hands/limbs out of the equation until she's worn out a bit and less likely to act aggressively. That is, use toys like teasers and laser lights to play with her until she's less energetic. Other options to consider would be toys like the undercover bird/mouse, flingamastring, the Bolt, etc. It's also of some usage for many cats to use a water bottle and spray a stream at their back end if they hook a nail into their people. Other cats learn quickly from having all play time removed if they hurt someone with which they're playing.