Cat owners can all relate to the exasperated feeling of finding claw marks all over the new couch or pilling in the area of the carpet that their kitty just loves to tear up. Scratching is a behavior that can trash your interior design aspirations, but for your cat, it’s all part of being a normal and healthy feline. Scratching and kneading help your cat maintain their nails, is an important part of marking their territory, and likely just feels good.
All that said, it’s understandable for pet owners to look for solutions to prevent their cats from destroying furniture. A practice that was common in the past was to declaw cats. No claws, no problem, right?
Unfortunately, declawing is an inhumane practice. Read on to learn why it’s harmful to your cat’s health and about safer alternatives that will make you and your kitty happy while sparing your couch.
Why is declawing harmful and inhumane?
In the past, declawing was a much more popular practice but today, many vets, animal experts, and pet owners are moving away from it because of its negative health and behavior impacts. To truly understand the harm that declawing causes, let’s walk through some basic feline anatomy. Your cat’s claws are attached to his last knuckle. Just like your fingernails, the claws grow back when they are clipped. So, in order to permanently remove the claw, the surgeon has to remove the last knuckle on each of your cat’s toes. As you can imagine, this is an extremely painful and disfiguring procedure. Furthermore, declawing can permanently affect your cat’s ability to walk and can even lead to long-term sensitivity in the paws. Some pet owners report that their declawed cats’ paws are so sensitive that they dislike using the litter box.
But how can I prevent my cat from ruining my furniture?
With a little patience and training, you can divert your cat’s attention away from furniture and toward appropriate targets for scratching. Here are some options for you to try:
- Distract with scratch pads and posts placed around the areas where kitty likes to scratch.
- Deter by placing double-sided tape or knobby plastic covering over their favorite spots.
- Sprinkle catnip over the cat furniture where you do want them to scratch.
- Trim those nails regularly!
- Apply soft nail caps (as an added bonus, your cat will look absolutely glamorous).
- Chill your cat out with pheromone diffusers or collars. If your cat is scratching to be territorial, or is doing so out of stress, this could be the answer to your problems.