To Declaw or Not to Declaw?
If you’ve asked yourself this question, please know you’re not alone- even our own veterinarians are right here with you.
We know while kittens tend to recover quickly from a declawing procedure, some adult cats face a longer recovery. In the video above we hear tried and true training tips from Dr. Kristin Plauche on teaching your cat to stop clawing furniture- here’s the full list.
Consider cat trees & scratching posts with levels. Place these in areas your cat likes to spend time. The goal is to move their preferred areas from unwanted locations, like furniture, to cat designated zones. Reward with treats, petting, play, and praise when they use these areas to lie down, venture, or scratch on.
Find a treat they love! Reward your cat for appropriate scratching on approved items with small treats the size of a pencil eraser. Think small, soft, smelly, meat-based treats, as these are especially palatable for even the pickiest felines.
Calm them by gently touching their cheek area with a towel where scent glands are located and then rubbing this scent over areas your cat frequently offensively claws and or lays. This may help promote similar feelings of calm and content over the space and reduce their desire to mark using the glands located by their paws and claws. You may also use a synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway Spray available at LVCC) product that comes in spray and diffuser form and mimics pheromones used by cats to calm themselves.
Use gentle methods to distract your cat from scratching in undesired areas. If they scratch in the wrong area, interrupt them gently by moving them to the proper area or luring them with a toy. Then, reward with attention, praise, play, and treats for scratching in the right area.
Use food puzzles such as cavity toys that can be stuffed with softer fillings, like canned cat food. Also incorporate active puzzles your cat rolls to release food or those that require paws to fish out kibble.
Use feather, wand, mouse, and string toys to add variety to your cat’s play. Reward your cat afterwards with a small treat to mimic the end of a successful hunt.
Consider rubber claw tips, also known as softpaws. Use the non-toxic glue that comes in the kits to apply these yourselves or call your trusted veterinary team at LVCC for help applying the softpaws.
All the tips above are in response to the primary three reasons cats claw:
• Marking their territory
Consider these primary motives when creating your own solutions in your home and routine time with your cat. Have fun with it- no punishment needed here.
Still have questions- come consult with our veterinary team. Know that declawing isn’t a bad choice, but not a first resort for most cats as training and diversion are the simplest, least invasive options.