5 Cat-Friendly Alternatives To Declawing

| Published on March 24, 2016

Declawing is becoming widely regarded as cruel, destructive, and unnecessary as health and behavior experts continue to speak out about the procedure and it’s residual effects. When your cat scratches the side of the couch or the leg of your dining room table, she’s not doing it to spite you. Scratching is an instinctual habit for your cat– and a healthy one too since it helps her stretch, release pent up energy, and shed loose layers from her claws. Still, it can be frustrating and destructive. Here are 5 furntiture-saving and humane alternatives to getting your cat declawed.


Image: Alexander : Flickr

#1 – Scratching post
Cats are opportunists and will always choose the best option if they’re given a choice. Since they’re instinctually driven to scratch, they’ll dig their claws into whatever is available. Adding a scratching post or two to your home can redirect her scratching habits to a more appropriate place. Choosing a scratching post that’ll be more alluring than the side of your couch isn’t always easy. Read How To Choose A Scratching Post Your Cat Will Actually Use for helpful tips.


Image: Jill Allyn Stafford : Flickr

#2 – Claw trimming
If you have an indoor cat who doesn’t need sharp claws to defend herself against other animals, simply trimming her claws is a great option. Make sure you understand how to trim her claws safely before you begin. If you don’t feel confident that you can trim them without harming her you can get them trimmed by a groomer or your veterinarian.


Image: Anders.Bachmann : Flickr

#3 – Nail caps
Several companies like Soft Paws make caps that fit over your cat’s individual nails. While wearing nail caps, your cat will still be able to get the stretching and stress relief benefits of scratching… without leaving a trace on your furniture. If you’re concerned your cat won’t be able to shed the outer layer of her claw while wearing the caps, Soft Paws says “As the outer layer of the nail sheds, it takes the nail cap along with it. There are 40 nail caps per package, enough for 4 front paw applications.”


Image: Beatrice Murch : Flickr

#4 – Deter
Since scratching is a healthy behavior for your cat, you should only use deterring methods if you’re also providing her with a more acceptable option like a scratching post. Once you’ve introduced her to the new scratching post (and perhaps sprinkled a bit of catnip on it to make it more exciting) you can use double sided tape or tin foil to cover the undesirable spot. They should feel uncomfortable enough on her paws to deter her.


Image: Regina : Flickr

#5 – Feliway
Inappropriate scratching can be a sign that your cat is stressed out. In a multi-cat home cats also use scratching to mark their territory– both visually and with the scent glands located in their paws. Feliway diffusers use a synthetic version of the pheromones cats use to mark places and objects they’ve deemed to be safe and comfortable. Using a Feliway diffuser can effectively trick a cat who is stressed or territorial into feeling happy and content enough to stop scratching.

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