Many pet owners are curious about declawing a cat because they are often prone to destructive scratching behavior. However, this procedure is a controversial one that has its proponents and detractors.
The American Veterinary Medical Association discourages the procedure except as a last resort. It is also highly recommended that vets educate pet owners about alternatives, such as behavioral training and sprays.
Why Cats Scratch
Cats scratch to remove the dead outer layers of their claws, which expose fresher and sharper nails underneath. This is a normal part of their regular grooming routine and shouldn’t be considered an aggressive or threatening behavior.
In addition, cats scratch to communicate with other felines and mark territory using both physical and olfactory marks. This is done through scent glands in their paw pads that produce a unique smell when scratched.
This scent can then be detected by other cats, which is why they’re so territorial!
It’s also a great way to release energy and help alleviate boredom.
So if you’re having trouble getting your cat to stop scratching certain areas of your home, it’s time to understand why they’re doing it in the first place and how to redirect their behavior.
You can do this by providing appropriate scratching options in various locations throughout your home. It starts with choosing the right scratchers that have the properties your cat prefers, such as rough textures and natural materials like sisal rope.
Cat Scratching Behavior
Scratching is a normal behavior that helps cats to keep their claws in good condition, mark territory with visual and scent marks and stretch their bodies. It is also a natural way for cats to express stress, anxiety and frustration.
If your cat scratches a lot, try to figure out why. If the scratching is related to a change in your pet’s life (such as a new cat, moving or changes in your schedule), it may be time to consult your vet about adjusting the home environment to calm your pet down.
In addition, it may help to provide a more enriched daily routine for your pet. This could include multiple feeding sessions, opportunities for social / predatory play and toys to manipulate and explore.
Cat Scratching Posts
A cat scratching post is a furniture-saving solution that provides your feline friend a place to fulfill their natural instincts. Scratching helps keep their claws healthy by filing away dead skin and strengthening their nails.
If you want to encourage your cat to stop damaging your furniture, the first step is to redirect their behavior with a great scratching post. This will enlighten them to the benefits of scratching and save your carpet and furnishings from further damage.
The best scratching posts are made from durable, sisal-type materials. This material mimics the bark of a tree and will not shred when your cat scratches it.
Cats also prefer height, so a tall post will make them happier. This is important because cats should stretch their arms and legs when using a post.
Declawing is a controversial procedure that involves removing the distal phalange (P3 – the last bone in a cat’s toes) of a cat’s claw. The procedure is similar to cutting off the first knuckle at the end of each finger on a human hand.
It is not necessary in most cases and should be avoided unless you have a special circumstance. The ASPCA and American Veterinary Medical Association discourage declawing as an elective procedure, and there are safer alternatives that can help you and your feline friend enjoy a happier life together.
The procedure is painful for cats, and may cause some to avoid using the litter box altogether. It also changes how a cat’s paws hit the ground, which can lead to back problems. Additionally, declawing can interfere with a cat’s natural ability to scratch, and many owners report that their cats are more fearful or exhibit behavior changes after the procedure.