Many people automatically assume that they need to have their cat declawed when they decide to get one. The first thing they think when getting an inside cat is that it will destroy their home. However, most cats will not scratch your furniture as long as they have a scratching post or somewhere designated to do so. Is it going to be annoying when your kitten rips your comforter because they do not know better and they are trying to jump on the bed? Sure it is, but they may grow out of this. Most veterinarians will tell you that you should only declaw your cat as a last resort when they are continuously destroying items. Most vet clinics will not inform owners of the alternatives that they should try before getting a cat declawed. Which why would they? They are making money off of you getting your cat declawed.

Many owners do not realize that getting your cat declawed can prevent him from using the litter box or make him aggressive. The reason that a cat scratches items is to remove dead husks from their claws, to mark their territory and to stretch their muscles.  When cats are about 8 weeks old, you need to train them to use a scratching posts.

A lot of pet owners also think that getting their cat declawed is the same as cutting our own nails. This is not true, declawing your cat is the same as cutting your finger off up to the knuckle one by one. When they remove the nails from your cat, they have to remove the last bone on each of their toes. Many cats feel the pain of being declawed for the rest of their lives. They can also get infection, tissue necrosis, lameness, and back pain. Declawing can also change the demeanor of your cat, they may feel defenseless and in turn they will bite you as their only defense.

There are some tips that you can try to prevent your cat from scratching. These include:

  • Trimming the claws
  • Ensure that you have stable scratching posts made from different types of materials to give your cat options. If you have a multi-purpose scratching post with a toy, it will incline your cat to use it. You can also buy scratching posts with catnip in it that will draw your cat to it.
  • There are caps that you can have glued to your cats nail to prevent it from scratching, these need to be put on through a veterinarian and need to be changed every six weeks. (This is a safe alternative to declawing)
  • Place a deterrant near the furniture that your cat is scratching. Some options that will deter your cat are:
    • Double-sided tape- your cat will be sure to try to avoid this
    • Bubble wrap- cats will not like walking on this odd surface
    • Water- you can put a tray of water around the couch to keep them from getting to it, just until they are trained to stay back
    • Plastic shower curtains- cats do not like smooth plastic and will avoid this if you drape it over the furniture
    • Citrus- cats do not generally like this smell, get a citrus spray or candle and use it near the furniture.

Declawing should only be used when it is medically necessary. If there is cancer in the nail bed, then declawing may be a viable option. If you or someone you know is considering getting your pet declawed, think about having your fingers and toes chopped at the knuckle. Would walking feel different to you? Would it hurt? Would you ever feel the same again? Your cat should not have to endure something that you would not put yourself through.