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While scratching is natural behavior for cats, it can often cause problems for cat owners. For years the standard solution was to declaw the cat. This painful surgical procedure involves the amputation of the last bone of the toe from which the nail grows.

The Santa Barbara Humane Society encourages cat owners to consider these humane alternatives:

Scratching posts

  • A cat’s owner can buy or make a scratching post to train his cat where appropriate scratching is to be done.
  • The size and shape doesn’t matter. Some cats prefer to scratch a post covered with carpeting, while others like sisal rope or variegated cardboard. It should be at least as tall as the cat when he stands on his back legs.
  • You can encourage a cat to use a scratching post by placing his favorite toy on top, dangling it over the side or by rubbing the sides with catnip. Make it appealing!
  • If your cat starts to scratch furniture, he needs to be pulled away and his front paws placed on the scratching post. If he is seen scratching furniture, a squirt of plain water (not hot) from a squirt gun or spray bottle (anywhere but in the face), accompanied by a sharp “NO,” is a deterrent.
  • Scratching posts should be placed in the areas where your cat has been scratching, such as couch, chair, drapes, carpeting, etc.
  • Another should be placed in the area where he sleeps. Cats usually like to scratch and stretch upon waking.

Weekly nail trims

  • Keeping the nails trimmed greatly decreases potential damage.
  • Start trimming a cat’s nails at an early age and make it a weekly habit.
  • Your pet’s veterinarian can teach you how.

Soft Paws Nail Caps For Cats®

  • This product is a humane alternative to declawing.
  • Developed by veterinarians, Soft Paws® are vinyl caps that keep the cat’s nails covered and therefore harmless 4 – 5 times longer than routine nail trimming.
  • The application is painless and simple for veterinarian staff to perform in the office. In fact, they can show you how to apply them at home with a Soft Paws Take Home Kit®.
  • These plastic tips are glued onto your cat’s nails (much like false nails) and usually need to be reapplied every 4 – 6 weeks because tips will naturally fall off with wear and nail growth. Soft Paws® are available in 4 cat claw sizes and come in natural and other colors.

REMEMBER: Even the most closely watched indoor cat will be unable to protect himself outside if declawed. DECLAWING SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT

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