Scratching is a normal behavior for cats. There are many reasons as to why cats scratch. It is a way for them to exercise and stretch their legs. With scratching they are able to leave their scent behind and mark their territory. It is also part of their natural instinct. Unfortunately, when cats do this they can cause damage to our favorite couch or our new expensive curtains. To prevent this unwanted behavior some owners elect to have their cats declawed, but there are many alternatives to help avoid this.
What is Declawing?
Declawing is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Many people believe that when you perform a declaw only the nail is removed. Unfortunately, unlike in humans, cat nails are attached to the last bone in their toes. Therefore, the last bone is amputated using a scalpel or guillotine clipper. It would be like cutting off a human’s last joint in their finger. The paws are sutured or glued closed and the paws are then bandaged. There are many things that can be done to avoid this surgical procedure.
Regular Nail Trimming
Regularly trimming your cat’s nails helps to prevent damage to furniture or family members. Indoor cats, kittens, and older cats usually need more frequent nail trims. Outdoor cats may naturally wear down their nails requiring less frequent trimming. Starting nail trimming when they are kittens helps to get them used to it and allows for easier nail trims in the future.
Temporary Nail Caps
Temporary nail covers are glue-on caps that go over your cat’s nail. The dull caps are designed to reduce the damage cats can do with their claws. The covers are shaped to match the natural nail shape, and are available in many different sizes. These caps are durable, inexpensive and can last up to 4-6 weeks. You will still need to trim their nails prior to applying the caps. They eventually fall off on their own due to the nails’ natural growth and need to be reapplied. If applied correctly, they do not affect the cat’s movement, allow for the nails to still be retracted, and are comfortable for them to wear.
Scratching posts are a great way for your cat to stretch, exercise, and keep their bodies in great shape. If cat’s have a scratching post they love it will help prevent unwanted damage to your expensive furniture. There are many scratching posts out on the market, so how do you know which one to choose? Each cat has a different preference with what they like. When choosing a post, be sure that the post is sturdy and tall enough for your cat to reach up and stretch while scratching without the post falling over. Give your cat options with different textures and surface types. Good choices are sisal rope, corrugated cardboard, carpet or wood. Place posts next to areas where your cat likes to scratch.
Providing proper environmental enrichment helps to eliminate inappropriate scratching. Indoor cats especially need mental stimulation to meet their needs fully. They need to have proper resources to perform their natural behaviors. This includes having a variety of toys, using food puzzles, and having areas in the home where they can climb like cat trees. Visit www.catvets.com/environmental-needs for more information on environmental enrichment.
Inappropriate cat scratching may be due to stress or anxiety. One way to decrease anxiety is by using pheromones. There are products that release “happy messages” and come in a spray or diffuser. By applying these products to where they are currently scratching, it deters them from scratching in that area. Do not apply to areas where you want them to scratch. If you would like to order pheromones you can get them from our online pharmacy by clicking the following link: https://frostfamilypetclinic.vetsfirstchoice.com/?utm_source=rxm&practice_uuid=41ab4738-5530-11e6-86e6-0ad28b4792c
For more information on alternatives to declawing visit www.catvets.com/declawalternatives.