You CAN have your cats AND your furniture. No one wants to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on furniture, only to have their much-loved animal rip it to bits while it’s in their care because of its excessive behavior. The apparent solution, in the eyes of many individuals, is to have their cats declawed; however, is this really the most logical alternative?
Those who advocate for it portray the procedure as being straightforward and painless, but in reality, it is neither straightforward nor painless. The vast majority of people are under the impression that the claws are the only thing that is clipped off. Amputation of the first joint of each toe is required for declawing, and any amputee can attest to the fact that the agony is excruciating and does not go away for months, if not years. The only difference is that your cat won’t be able to convey the discomfort to you.
This, however, does not imply that you are required to tolerate torn furniture and curtains as well as snagged carpets. I have four cats of my own, and none of them have had their claws removed. As a result, none of the furniture, drapes, or carpets in my home have been damaged. You have a variety of options available to you that will either reduce the amount of damage or eliminate it entirely.
1. Give them exactly what it is that they desire.
Scratching isn’t simply a way of sharpening claws; it’s also an essential type of exercise that tones and develops the muscles. Scratching may be done anywhere, anytime. Even cats that have had their claws removed will groom themselves. It comes naturally to them. Fish have to be able to fly, birds have to be able to swim, and cats have to scratch. Whatever. So give them something appropriate to scratch on, ideally not one of those abominations sold in the pet department that are little scratching posts wrapped in carpet. That will only serve to confuse them.
If it is what you already have, you should at least remove the carpeting from it and wrap the bare wood with rope made of sisal or jute of high quality, measuring half an inch in diameter, twisted securely, and sealed with glue. If you are able to sew, you may try your hand at producing a slip cover that can be quickly removed and replaced as required. Burlap is an excellent choice for this, but you can use virtually any fabric as long as it has a dense weave or a textured surface. The upholstery velvet and corduroy are among of my kitties’ favorite fabrics. In a perfect world, the height of the post would be at least two inches higher than the cat would be able to reach.
Many cats are more comfortable scratching on a horizontal surface, and they respond positively to scratching pads sold at pet stores that are fashioned from corrugated cardboard.
Put whatever it is you want to use in close proximity to your cat’s preferred scratching site, gently coat it with an extract of catnip (not a synthetic version; cats WILL be able to tell the difference), and then set it there. After they have grown acclimated to the new surface, you should gradually transfer it to a spot that is more suitable for them. These materials have a tendency to make a mess, so select a location where you will have easy access to sweeping or vacuuming around it.
2. When selecting textiles and rugs, use your best judgment to make a decision.
Leave behind all of those exquisite but delicate satin and damask weaves, as well as the textured surfaces that were previously discussed. These are magnets designed for cats. Knits and other stretchy textiles are prone to snagging more easily than other types of cloth. The use of leather and imitation leathers is another huge no-no. There are sheer panels on the windows, right? Forget it!
Keep an eye out for durable textiles that have a close weave, such as sailcloth or canvas. Denim often has good durability as well. Choose a fabric such as chintz or percale for your curtain panels. Not only are the majority of the curtains in my home fashioned from bedsheets, but they also have the added benefit of being almost impossible to damage. When it comes to carpeting, it is best to go with a medium or low plush rather than a berber or sculptured pile. Keep in mind that the idea is to use minimal texture.
Consider the color brown while we are discussing this topic. That way, even if your cat throws up on it, as it undoubtedly will, the situation won’t be as disastrous. If your cat is still interested in the furniture, you may purchase transparent plastic corner guards that glue themselves to most textiles from a number of different firms.
3. Cut the claws down to size.
It is not as tough as it may appear, particularly if you begin socializing them when they are still kittens. Use a nail trimmer that is developed exclusively for animals, and go slowly at first. Handling the paws is the first step, and then you should practice extending the claws without trying to cut them. Because it is going to develop accustomed to being handled, the cat will have a reduced likelihood of reacting aggressively to the actual cutting process. After a few days of this, you should start clipping your nails, but just one or two at a time, and only the very tips should be removed. If you discover that doing so is still too difficult for you, the majority of professional groomers will do it for a cost that is not too expensive.
4. Caps with a claw.
These are coverings made of a soft plastic that are placed onto the claws. They can last anywhere from four to six weeks. Although I have never used them myself, many individuals claim to have had successful experiences with them.
For thousands of years, people and cats have shared living spaces. If we give it some thinking and work together, we should be able to keep a happy connection between ourselves, our pets, and our furnishings.