In Savannah Morning News Column

Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat

Savannah Morning News – July 28, 2017 Kerri Polanski, Development & Marketing Manager

There is no denying that cats have claws and they like to scratch things. But, there are ways to help prevent cats from turning your antique dining room table leg into their scratching post without declawing your cat.

Cats scratch for a purpose not out of spite. Their scratching removes the outer shell/worn part of their nail. Their claws are the natural way they navigate terrain, mark their scent, relieve stress and stretch the muscles in their paws. There are many ways to discourage your cats from destroying your possessions while also satisfying their natural need to scratch and sharpen their claws.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, other national animal welfare organizations and the Humane Society for Greater Savannah oppose declawing cats for convenience.   There are several ways to make your furniture unattractive to your cats that don’t include high-risk, unnecessary surgery. Try these alternative methods instead:

  • Scratching posts are widely available in stores or on Amazon.com, as are ramps and door hangers of all shapes and sizes.
  • You can even make your own variety of textured surfaces “from scratch” (pun intended) like we do, with disposable cardboard pieces (they are disposable for sanitary purposes at the shelter).
  • Interrupting their scratching on your couch cushions and transporting them to a scratching post or nearby toy makes it more obvious to them where that behavior is acceptable.
  • By spraying the surface of their favorite targeted spots with an unattractive scent they will stay further away.
  • Lay down blankets to protect upholstery or a vinyl runner with the knobby side up.
  • There are nail caps you can also adhere to your cat’s claws and they last about 4-6 weeks.
  • And, at the very least, keep your cat’s nails trimmed!

Be aware that while declawing your cat may seem to be the quick solution for saving your stuff, it creates severe trauma for your cat that can affect them both physically and behaviorally. Cats who have their claws removed may stop using their litter box because of the discomfort on their paws, and resort to biting as a defense mechanism where none were present before.

Solving one problem to start another is never really the answer.