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NONSURGICAL OPTIONS TO DECLAWING

There are plenty of ways to keep kitty from shredding the curtains. Here are options to satisfy both you and your cat. If you're living amid tattered furniture due to your feline's mighty claws, yet can't bear the thought of injuring his paws, read on! Even if you're considering the declawing operation for your pet, don't make your decision just yet. There are kind alternatives to surgery.

Redirect the Behavior

With a little time and patience, you can train your cat to use a scratching post or board. The best posts are sturdy and sizable, so the cat can dig in and stretch out.

Sprinkle a little catnip on your cat's post or board to pique his interest, then manually place and knead his paws on the surface. You're helping him understand the concept and stimulating the secretions of glands in his feet. This smell will make him want to return for many happy scratching sessions.

If he doesn't seem interested, a tactile change may be the key. Some cats prefer to scratch wood, cardboard or the backside of carpet. Don't forget to praise your cat and give him a treat whenever he uses her post or board.

Pedicure the Pussycat

You can trim those mighty claws. Maintaining short, less destructive nails with frequent trimmings will significantly limit the damage to your sofa or rug.

Make It Unattractive

Check out the repellent spray and tactile products you can apply to furnishings. You may only have to use one for a couple of weeks to convince your cat that there are better choices when he needs something to scratch.

Sheathe the Weapons

Looking for a novel approach? Your local pet store or veterinarian can provide special plastic caps called Soft Paws that glue to your cat's nails. They need to be replaced every few months, but they don't hurt your cat and can preserve your furnishings.

Of course, these blunt-tipped caps won't quell your cat's instinct to scratch. So keep a scratching post, or another acceptable surface, available to him.

Also, keep your cat indoors if he has Soft Paws on his nails. They don't allow him to protect himself or climb away to escape trouble.

Assess Your Priorities

As you make a decision, carefully consider all the options and learn about the declawing surgery and possible side effects. If your cat ever goes outside, think about whether you're willing to confine him, because a declawed cat isn't safe outdoors. Assess how important it is to you to have well-preserved furniture and carpeting, and assess how important it is to your cat to have claws.