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The Barbary of Declawing Cats

the-lives-of-beasts-are-sweeter-stillYou love your cat but you also love your home. Let’s face it, even the most compassionate cat lovers have probably Googled “declawing” at least once. Cats scratch – plain and simple. I do not intend to get into the merits versus the horrors of declawing your cat. I know people that have chosen both paths, and each feel equally positive about their respective decisions. However, if you have elected to leave your cat “intact”, as I have, here are some helpful ideas.

  1. Soft Paws. I believe there are other brands now available, but Soft Paws was the first I became aware of. Essentially, these are little plastic tips that are glued over the tips of cats’ claws. I tried them for a while with some success. The biggest disadvantage is the need to constantly replace them. Natural shedding of the nails, as well as wear and tear, will cause the tips to come off over time. For some people, the cost and hassle is not worth it. As well, depending upon the cat, you may need to do some “wrestling” when applying. If you go this route I recommend acquainting your cat with the Soft Paws at a young age.
  2. Protecting Plants. Kittens love to dig in house plants. I’ve seen some interesting products for protecting plants, ranging from repellent sprays to little fences and covers. My recommendation: go into your back alley or to a nearby riverbank and collect a bucket of medium sized stones. Lay the stones in the plant pot on top of the soil. Make sure the rocks are a sufficient size – little pebbles can still be dug up by a cat. The rocks actually look quite attractive and watering through them is no problem. The best part – it’s free! For those wanting a “higher end” solution, polished stones can be purchased at most craft stores.
  3. Furniture Protection. Cats love weaves. If you’re investing in new furniture I recommend considering non-porous fabrics. Alternatively, you can purchase pet throws at places like Costco. These blankets are thicker than typical furniture covers, providing better protection from claws.
  4. Repellent Sprays. Don’t waste your money. I don’t think they work.
  5. "A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden." - Robert Sowthey

    “A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden.”
    – Robert Sowthey

    Scratching posts. Every cat should have something for the purpose of scratching. I have found that most cats are attracted to the cardboard scratchers (especially if they have catnip in them). Combination scratching posts/perches are a great investment because cats love to sit up high and look out the window. If you are constructing your own scratching post I have found that cats prefer the carpet to be attached inside out to the post. The weave of the backing is ideal for hooking their claws into.

  6. Nail Clippers. If you can train your cat (and yourself) to endure a nail clipping every so often it’s worth the trouble. The special scissors are available at most stores that sell pet supplies. You need to gently hold the cat’s paw and squeeze each individual toe to protract the claws. You are only aiming to remove the sharp tips, not to cut the claws really short. When you get an “accidental” scratch from your cat it will be less severe if they have had their claws clipped.
  7. When your cat starts scratching something “off limits” use a loud clap of the hands or a quick spray of water to startle them. They are trainable, and will respond if you are consistent.
  8. Pets bring a bounty of joy to our lives. A perfect home will not lie on your tummy when you have the flu. Learn tolerance.

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