A common issue cat guardians often have grievances about is scratching. By instinct, cats naturally scratch things to mark their space and to file their nails. When out in the wild, trees are their natural scratching posts, which explains why cats often stretch upward to scratch vertical things in our homes (armrests of furniture, doors, etc.) Providing your cat with scratching posts can help redirect this natural behavior. If your cat likes to scratch floors, giving them horizontal scratching mats can provide them with an alternative outlet. If your cat is reluctant to use the posts or mats, a little catnip sprinkled on them may help.
Cat guardians can also safely and humanely trim the sharp tips of their cat’s nails with special cat nail trimmers that are available in most pet care stores (only do this if your cat is an indoor cat, as nails are a cat’s first line of defense.) Trimming your cat’s nails can be tricky if you’ve never done it before, so try starting when your cat is in a sleepy or purring mood, gently press their nails out from their paws, and take much care not to trim close to the nail beds. If you do not trust yourself to trim their nails properly, a visit to a groomer can help.
Additionally, cats do not like many scents that we find pleasant, like lavender or citrus. Spraying diluted essential oils like these on furniture and other areas of your home can deter cats from scratching. Cats hate getting their paws sticky too, so using special furniture tape can train cats to stay away from certain areas, and once they learn not to scratch that area, the tape can be removed.
With all the alternatives, it is unbelievable that people still choose to declaw their cats, which is a painful irreversible procedure that is likened to amputating the first digits of your fingers. Declawed cats have to learn to walk and jump all over again, most have major mood changes from the pain and discomfort they continue to endure after the procedure, and some can become aggressive or stop using the litter box after being declawed. Declawing cats is against the law in 21 countries, but the U.S. is not one of them.
A petition addressed to the U.S. Congress has been set up on Care2 to speak up for cats and demand that declawing becomes illegal in the United States. Please take a moment to add your name to the petition in support of our beloved feline friends and family members.
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