Cat claws

Alternatives to declawing cats

Did kitty scratch the new Mercedes? How about a gash in the new sofa? Tsk, tsk....kitty is only doing what comes naturally.

Cats’ nails grow continuously. Therefore, the old nail sheaths need to be removed and discarded. Cats accomplish this by scratching. Scratching keeps their nails in healthy, tip-top shape. Most cats will gladly use scratching posts designed for that purpose. Several posts are usually needed, distributed around the house.

Unfortunately, some surfaces are just too good to go untested! Most cats like rough textures. Some prefer vertical surfaces, and some prefer horizontal (rugs and carpeting are prime candidates). It’s wise to provide cats with scratching furniture that gives them a choice of surfaces and heights. Try a horizontal one wrapped with rope. Or try the floor pads made from cardboard — they’re cheap and easily replaced.

If giving your cat her own furniture doesn’t squelch her desire to scratch on more costly items, it’s time to look towards other solutions:

NAIL TRIMMING

Easily done at home, or by a veterinarian or groomer. It doesn’t keep cats from wanting to scratch, but it does dull their nails. Consider trimming cats’ nails monthly.

SOFT PAWS NAIL CAPS

Soft Paws Nail Caps allow your cat the freedom to scratch without doing any damage. They last 6 to 8 weeks before replacement is needed. Take-home kits are available from your veterinarian, or you can have a technician apply them.

DECLAWING

A very last resort! Declawing is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia where the end of each toe is amputated so no more nail can grow. Recovery can be lengthy, especially in older cats, and at least one night of hospitalization is required. Discuss the pros and cons with your veterinarian before considering the declaw procedure.