Save the Paw - Don't rush to Declaw!
Many people think of declawing as little more than a glorified nail trim. However this is a surgical procedure where the most distal bone of the toe (including the nail) is removed from the rest of the digit at the joint.
This procedure has unfortunately become so common that many people automatically have their new kitten declawed. However, with some patience and training many cats and kittens can be trained to use appropriate items for natural scratching instincts and this destructive behavior can be directed away from household furnishings.
Teaching your cat to use appropriate items saves them from a potentially unnecessary surgery as well as saving you money! Although here at All Creatures we use anesthetic monitors, excellent pain control and strict aseptic technique there is always a small risk of post-operative pain, infection, or bleeding. Why put your new kitty through that if you don't have to?
To encourage your cat to scratch on the provided items follow these guidelines:
Find out what material your cat prefers (carpet, leather, upholstery) and cover the scratching post in that material.
Observe if your cat prefers horizontal or vertical surfaces and provide a scratching area that corresponds.
Keep the nails trimmed weekly.
Distract your cat when scratching on an inappropriate object by using a water gun, loud noise etc. and then place them on the appropriate object.
Reward your cat with treats when they use the appropriate objects on their own
Many cats will use an ordinary scratching post or cat tree if it is simply provided.
Soft paws are blunt nail covers that can be applied to the nails during the training period or during kittenhood when they are likely to be the most destructive.