Scratching is a normal cat behavior that serves multiple purposes, including forelimb muscle stretching, claw sharpening, and scent and visual marking. To prevent cats from scratching furniture, scratching posts or scratching pads are available in a wide variety.
SCRATCHING POST TIPS:
- Put the scratching post/pad where the cat rests or where it has previously scratched things.
- Make sure post/pad is tall or long enough for the cat to get a good stretch.
- Make sure the post is sturdy enough to handle the weight of your cat.
- Encourage the proper use of the post/pad by putting treats on it, playing with toys near it or placing catnip on it.
- Sofas, or other inappropriate surfaces, should be made unappealing by covering with double stick tape or foil.
- Nails should be trimmed weekly to decrease the damage cats can inflict.
- Alternatively, place soft, pliable, plastic nail caps over the cat’s nails.
- Nail caps are glued to the nail and need to be replaced monthly as the nail grows and the caps fall off.
SHOULD I DECLAW MY CAT?
Onychectomy (surgical declawing) is a last resort. Declawing involves amputation of the third phalanx (last digit of the toe). It’s a controversial, invasive procedure that can have complications. However, cats that undergo the procedure generally have no obvious or long-term ill effects. Having your cat declawed is a decision that should not be taken lightly and should only be considered after other avenues to minimize property damage have been tried.
Source: Dr. Jacqueline C. Neilson, DVM, DACVB