Declawing cats has its supporters and opponents. In 2017 the Association of Feline Practioners (AAFP) published their position statement on feline onychectomy or declaw. They strongly oppose the elective procedure. Some veterinarians and veterinary hospitals are no longer performing this procedure. There are alternatives to declaws.
The position statement by AAFP has brought out arguments on both sides. As there are more cat parents that elect not to have this procedure and veterinary clinics no longer offer declaws; cat parents are looking for alternatives that will minimize or eliminate the destructive behavior associate with cat claws.
Top 3 (+ 1 Genius) Alternatives to Declawing:
It may seem basic, but the good old scratching post is the optimal location to direct scratching behavior. The post should be at least as tall as the cat when it stretches and places its front legs over its head.
Offer your cat different elevations and surfaces to find out what they like best. The post should be tall enough to let the cat stretch Cats want tall scratching posts and one that is sisal covered most preferred.
Most cats can be easily trained to use the post for scratching instead of furniture. Similar to litter boxes (more than one per cat rule) you should offer multiple posts and locations to find what and where works best by your cat(s)
What should you look for in a good scratching post?
- Appropriate Height
- Sturdy base
- Both vertical & horizontal surfaces
- Sisal fabric covered surface
Take the edge off nails for your cat with a nail trim. A Mani/Pedi or actually Pedi/Pedi for your cat eliminates the needle-sharp tips. One variation on traditional clipper tripping would be to use a dremmel. There is a professional grade tool that has two speeds which is “whisper-quiet”, ideal for cats.
Both types of trimming need to be properly introduced as not to create a stressful situation.
Hide the Claws
Vinyl caps were created 20 years ago (Soft Paws®) to cover up cat’s claws to eliminate the destruction done with the claws. After a trim, the caps are glued onto the individual nail. The glue is non-toxic and lasts 4-6 weeks. The cat will be able to continue normal scratching behavior without the damage to furniture or carpets.
Here is the +1 … Pheromones!
This particular method is a tag-team with the scratching post. These pheromones mimic naturally occurring feline pheromones which send “messages” that help them feel comfortable or relaxed or in the case of FELISCRATCH by FELIWAY when applied to a desired scratching surface send a message to the cat so they know they are free to scratch here.
All of these alternative can be used in conjunction with each other. Taking time to introduce you cat to them and rewarding them for the desired behavior you can save your sofa without surgery.
Happy Pet Parenting,
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