by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Declawing is inhumane. Essentially, it amputates the tip of the cat’s toes and can lead to problems with joints because of the animal’s altered gait. Fortunately, declawing is unnecessary. With a few steps, you can curtail cat scratching and save your furniture.
Before you even bring kitty home, set up several styles of scratching posts. Some cats like vertical; others like horizontal. Some prefer twine-covered scratchers; others prefer corrugated cardboard ones. Shop around to find a few different types of cat scratching posts or boards. By starting him off on the right paw, your new cat may make the right scratching choices.
A cat sitting there, scratching away furiously at the couch, has already made up his mind that the couch is a good target. It could be its location, since cats are also scent marking when they scratch. (Even declawed cats go through the motions, not because they’ve forgotten they have no claws, but because they’re marking “their” stuff.) Perhaps she likes the way the fabric feels. Or maybe it’s a reason only your cat knows. Deter her by negative association. Squirt the cat with a water bottle while firmly saying, “No!”
Also, leave treats for the cat sitting near her scratching post. Rub catnip on it to attract her attention. Lure her there using a laser light so she associates her claws scratching something that is positive.
Some cat owner find success with leaving aluminum foil on scratching targets. Others apply double-sided tape to the area. Cat hate its sticky sensation on their paws.
Spray-on cat repellant may help temporarily (formulas usually last only up to 24 hours), but make sure you don’t use sprays anywhere near the cat’s food bowls or litter pan.
Let your cat sitter know about any scratch training methods you’re using so you can consistently enforce them between you. Remember, pet sitters offer an extension of your cat care, so it’s important to keep them in the loop on how you care for your pet.
Cat claw covers offer another option. Like artificial fingernails, they glue on over the cat’s trimmed claws. The soft, plastic caps last for around four weeks and even come in fashion colors! Can you imagine your kitty sitting pretty with “painted” toenails? As long as she will sit still for you, nail caps could solve the scratching problem and offer fun, feline fashion. Consider the Green Bay Packers’ gold and green or the Wisconsin Badgers’ red to support your favorite home teams.