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Should I declaw my cat? 

There has always been a lot of debate about declawing cats. Cats can be quite destructive, tearing up furniture and using it as a scratching pad. They climb up curtains, pull down bathroom towels and shred carpeting. But, when you purchase or adopt a cat, you should know you are setting yourself up for lots of clawing activity.

Having a cat declawed is not like clipping their nails all the way back. They do not grow back and it’s actually an amputation of the last little bone in each toe. It takes a long time for cats to recover completely from the surgery. Some veterinarians will not perform this surgery, however most will do it. Many great alternatives to declawing a cat exist.

Products are available to keep cats off the couch like scat mats. While I don’t like anything that shocks an animal, people sometimes resort to these methods. Putting a piece of aluminum foil across a couch is a deterrent that costs mere pennies and cats do like the sound when they jump up on it.

Putting mothballs down will keep your cat away from the furniture, but of course, mothballs smell… well, like mothballs! There is always the old squirt gun. Some people squirt their cat with water, which they hate, when the cat looks like he’s going to start scratching. This just makes your cat afraid and doesn’t really help with keeping them off of anything.

Rubber nail tips, which come in plain black or whimsical colors, are made for cats and attach with surgical glue. Eventually, the tips come off and need to be replaced. But the rubber tips are a lot less expensive and painful than having a cat declawed. If you don’t have a lot of cat experience, getting these tips on the cat can be trying. Most vets would be happy to do that for you. They’ll charge for it, but it might be better for you in the long run. They can also show you ways that you can do it yourself the next time.

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Another substitute for declawing is to keep the nails trimmed and encourage the cat to scratch on carpeted scratching posts or corrugated cardboard scratchers. With the use of catnip, cat owners can lure their pet to attack to the scratching posts, and leave the furniture alone.

It is easier on the cat to encourage them to do behavior you want them to do, rather than punish them for what you don’t want them to do. Using treats, catnip and even good, old fashioned affection, goes a long way with your furry friend.

Before making the choice to declaw, try other ways to coax your feline to leave your furniture alone. If at all possible, use a combination of keeping nails nice and short and add scratching toys. You will save money and your cat will not have to go through a long and painful recovery.

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