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Why We Don’t Declaw

We fully support efforts to educate the public about the impact of declawing on a cat. For more information please visit The Paw Project’s website:

Cats and Their Claws

De-clawing is a controversial procedure which Dr. Carnohan is strongly against and as a matter of personal choice will not perform. There are rare exceptions to this that would only include medical conditions that threaten the health of the cat. It is important to remember that scratching is a normal feline behavior. There are several feasible options owners can try at home to dissuade their feline friends from scratching on inappropriate surfaces.

  1. It is extremely important to offer your cat a multitude of scratching posts/surfaces. Since each cat has different surface and texture preferences (some like vertical versus horizontal surfaces; some prefer carpet coverings, some corrugated cardboard), it is a great idea to offer a variety of different posts with different textures to see which one your kitty prefers. Cats use scratching posts not only to scratch claws but also to stretch their backs, so a taller post is often preferred for this reason.
  2. Another reason why cats scratch furniture is to mark it with the scent pads in their paws. Behaviorists believe that cats often try to add their scent to yours. To remedy this, try rubbing an unwashed, recently worn Tshirt or sock with your scent onto an area kitty is already scratching.
  3. Synthetic coverings of the paws, such as Soft Paws, are often quite effective. It is important to trim the nails before application and to change nail coverings regularly. Our certified feline groomer would be happy to apply soft paws for you.
  4. Double stick tape and aluminum foil are both irritating to a cat and placing it on the edge of the furniture where the cat chooses to scratch may stop the behavior.
  5. Trimming the cat’s nails often will prevent damage to furniture, but won’t stop the scratching. Nails need to be trimmed regularly.
  6. Never underestimate the power of a squirt gun! When you notice your kitty tearing up your favorite sofa just grab a water gun and fire away. Just make sure you spray your cat with water while he/she is in the act of inappropriate scratching, not after the fact.

Patience and diligence is necessary when training cats. Try these ideas and if you decide that you cannot tolerate your cat scratching, consider re-homing the cat. We don’t say this lightly. However, complications from declawing can change the personality of your cat and produce undesired behaviour problems such as aggression, reluctance to use the litter box because of pain, arthritis from walking on malformed paws. The list goes on. It is well known that these behavior problems, not natural scratching, are a top reason that cats are surrendered to shelters. Please do the right thing and do not declaw your cat.

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