OK, it is obvious that a cat cannot enter into a contract with the vet. The cat's owner does that, which places her in the position of guardian and caretaker. It is a position of trust and bounded by morality. There are no professional rules to follow for the cat's owner. She just has to do her moral duty towards her cat. The moral duty may extend to a duty under statute if she acts in a criminal way towards her cat. I am referring to cat abuse.
|The cat is the vet's client when treating a cat.|
The veterinarian has a professional duty of care towards the cat and this is through the cat's guardian the cat's owner. The vet must also follow professional guidelines and his oath.
Sadly, from my perspective, almost all the vets in the USA are in breach of this simple duty of care when declawing cats because it is not done for the cat's benefit or welfare but for the cat owner's convenience. In fact they are probably in breach of the criminal code but are protected by convention. At the same time the cat's owner has acted immorally and in breach of common sense principles that she must act in the best interests of her cat.
I think it pays to dwell on that simple but shocking fact.