Safe Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat

Bringing home a cuddly new kitten is a wonderfully exciting experience. However, your idea of homemaking and your kitty's may be very different. Cats scratch furniture to sharpen their nails and to mark their territory. They aren't being intentionally destructive, they just want to let others know they live in the house, too. Sadly, this behavior often leads to declawing which is very different from clipping your nails. It actually involves amputating part of your new kitten's toes and can change its personality. Fortunately, there are ways to train your cat to stop scratching inappropriate surfaces so that both you and your kitty are happy. Here are a few great tips:

  • Provide a scratching alternative. Since scratching is often done to mark territory, your cat is going to want to scratch something. Provide a scratching post made of cardboard, sisal or wood and use catnip or toys to draw the cat's attention to it.
  • Cover nails with special caps. Pet supply stores often carry soft caps that cover a cat's nails so that its scratching won't leave any marks. Make sure the cat has become accustomed to having its feet touched if you try to put these on by yourself, though!
  • Make improper scratching spots unpleasant. Cats don't like the way that plastic wrap, sandpaper or double-sided tape feels on their claws, so temporarily placing it on areas you don't want them to scratch will discourage them from doing so.
  • Spray furniture with a citrus scent. You know the smell of oranges that people love? Cats hate it. Spray a natural air freshener on your furniture to make it less appealing to your feline friend.
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