Q&A: Scratch that scratch

Posted: July 22, 2013

Q: I am thinking of adopting a cat or kitten, but shelters won't let me if I plan to declaw. I've always done it, and I've always provided a good home for life for my cats. Can I just lie on the forms?

A: No. If you absolutely, positively have no tolerance for scratching, adopt a cat who has already been declawed rather than take home a kitten or cat with the intent to declaw.

If you fall in love with a cat or kitten with claws, you can teach him to keep his claws off what you don't want scratched. The best investment you can make for your pet's enjoyment - and your furniture's preservation - is a cat tree. You can make a cat tree even more appealing by playing games with your cat on the tree and by petting and praising him for scratching there. Some cats may enjoy having fresh catnip rubbed onto the cat tree as added enticement.

Add other approved places for your cat to scratch, such as vertical or horizontal posts, scratching trays filled with corrugated cardboard or scratching pads hung from doorknobs. Make the places your cat shouldn't be clawing unattractive by putting double-sided patches (such as Sticky Paws) or tape on the furniture. Cats hate to touch anything sticky, and anything mounted sticky-side out will discourage scratching. Start with your scratching alternative near the problem area. Your cat may shift his attention to the scratching post or tree and away from your furniture. Offer praise and treats for good behavior.

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