No Need to Consider It; Here are 5 Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat


Veterinarian cutting toenails to cute little kitten in veterinary clinic. Unrecognizable woman working.

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If your cat is clawing up your furniture and carpet, you might think the only solution is to get him declawed. However, many veterinarians and other cat experts view this as a painful and inhumane way to solve the clawing problem. Instead, consider one of these gentle alternatives to declawing.

Trim Claws

You have to trim your own fingernails and toenails regularly, so it makes sense that you can trim your cat’s claws as well. As long as you stay away from the pink area of the claws, also known as the quick, this process is just as painless for your cat as it for you.

The easiest way to trim your cat’s claws is to wrap him in a towel and pull one paw out at a time. Press gently on the pad to make the claw extend, and trim only the clear part of the claw.

Make Furniture Unattractive

An alternative to declawing is to simply make the objects your cat is scratching as unattractive as possible. Many cat owners find that putting aluminum foil or bubble wrap over their furniture keeps their cats from scratching it because they don’t like the sound or texture.

Cats also don’t like sticky objects, so putting double-sided tape where you don’t want your cat to claw can help. Additionally, cats find citrus scents unpleasant, so adding a dab of orange oil on your furniture is another option.

Offer Scratching Surfaces

Cats need to scratch. For every spot you don’t want your cat scratching, make sure you have a spot where she can scratch. Some cats like to scratch vertically, while others prefer horizontal scratching.

No matter which one your cat likes, it’s important to look for scratching surfaces made with sisal instead of carpet. If you get a post, make sure it’s as tall as she is when she stands on her hind legs and reaches up. Also, be sure it has a sturdy base so it won’t fall.

Move Scratching Surfaces Away From Furniture

If you bought your cat a scratching surface but he’s still turning to your furniture or carpet, rub catnip on the scratching surface and place it where he’s previously scratched. Then reward him when you see him using his scratching surface instead of your furniture. As he gets used to using his scratching surface, gradually move it away from his earlier scratching spot and to the spot where you want it to stay.

Provide a Distraction

If you see your cat is about to start scratching somewhere she’s not supposed to, quickly offer a distracting game with one of her toys. Most cats will find playing a game more attractive than scratching. The key is that you have to distract before she starts scratching. You don’t want her to think that scratching is what brings out the toys and games.

If your cat is scratching your carpet or furniture, you don’t have to resort to declawing to get him to stop. Instead, turn to one of these humane options.


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