You’ve probably heard about declawing cats as a solution to stop unwanted scratching.
Maybe your childhood cat was declawed. Maybe it’s a dark secret you don’t want anyone to know. Or, maybe you’re a new cat parent and have questions about the surgery.
But here’s the real question:
Is your furniture more important than your cat’s well-being? Would you amputate your cat’s toe bones with a guillotine, laser, or scalpel to protect your couch?
Declawing cats is akin to chopping off your own fingers at the top knuckle.
Sound painful? It is.
“Declawing is a convenience surgery, with a very high complication rate,” says Brian Shapiro, New York director of the Humane Society. Agonizing side effects include:
- litter box avoidance (aka house soiling)
- chronic back pain
- nerve damage
- stress and anxiety
- increased biting
- difficulty walking
I get the desire to have nice things. And the fear of investing in something that might get ruined. In fact, I made plenty of mistakes early on in my cat parenting life; mistakes that unnecessarily cost me thousands of dollars in furniture repair.
But, here’s the good news: there are safe, low-cost, and humane alternatives to stop unwanted scratching. I use all of them. And now, I’m fearlessly shopping for a new sofa and chair for my new home.
Keep cat claws trimmed
This isn’t as tricky as it sounds. But let’s say you’ve never done it or seen anyone do it. What can you do?
We had our vet show us how to do it and now it’s something we easily can do at home every three to four weeks.
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Quick tips: It’s a lot easier to give your cat a mani/pedi if you start them out as kittens. While our older cat didn’t love it because we started later in her life, we did manage to trim her nails, by wrapping her up in a blanket to be on the safe side. Having one person hold the cat and another to do the trimming can make it easier when you’re just starting out.
We use the Safari stainless steel double-bladed nail trimmers available from amazon.
Use sticky tape
One of my favorite things about Sticky Paws furniture strips is it’s both easy to apply and easy to remove. And cats absolutely hate scratching on it.
Not too shabby, right? Okay, maybe it’s a little shabby to have tape on your fine upholstery.
But it’s better than shredded fabric or trying to chase your cat around with a spray bottle 24×7 (spoiler alert: it doesn’t work). Plus, the tape is only a temporary measure to divert your cat’s attention elsewhere…toward his cat scratching post.
Quick tips: If you’re in a pinch, try carpet tape, or any double-sided clear tape. Anytime you bring in new upholstery, put the tape on right away to keep your cats claws off the new furniture from the start.
Provide scratching posts
Okay, you’ve heard this before, right? You’ve been advised that a scratching post will fulfill your cat’s natural desire to clean their claws, mark their territory, and stretch to satisfaction.
But as common as it is, many cat parents get it wrong. They buy the wrong size scratcher, or they stick it in an isolated corner of the house and the cat doesn’t use it.
If you want your cat to use the scratching post instead of your furniture you must right-size it for your cat and place it in a very prominent position in your home. Usually right next to the piece of furniture your cat would like to, or already has started to, scratch.
Quick Tips: Finding the scratcher that works for your cat may take time. I had two cats who loved the Original Scratch Lounge, especially when sprinkled with catnip. Almost all of my cats loved the Cat Tree Condo and it lasted a long time.
For our last cat scratching post, we opted to go for something modern that would fit the style and tone of our home décor. We went with the Milo from Tuft & Paw. I have to say the aesthetic works and my cats absolutely love it but it’s a significant investment. If you’re not quite ready to make the leap, the Vesper Cat Furniture on amazon looks like it has similar features, however, I have not tried that one so your mileage may vary. DIY cat trees are also an option if you’re handy.
Declawing your cat causes excruciating pain
Yes, it’s really cruel to declaw a cat.
Declawing cats is illegal in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, New York is the first state to pass a new ban on the procedure. And several cities, including Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco have already banned declawing cats.
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