Sharp cat

Good Morning! My name is Samantha and I am the cat of the house and I have something to say about declawing – Don’t!

Samantha and a few of her favorite things, a floor scratching post and some knitted "toys."
Samantha and a few of her favorite things, a floor scratching post and some knitted “toys.”

Cat nails grow, long and sharp. To file them cats do what people do, they  file them. Not with an emery board,  but with your furniture or carpet.

Scratching Posts:

The best way to deter this is to offer them self-serve manicure stations. Otherwise known as scratching posts. For the longest time scratching posts were 2 by 4 pieces of wood covered in carpet and attached vertically to a base.These would wobble and cats wouldn’t use them. Then someone designed the simplest, most effective “post,” corrugated cardboard that lays flat on the floor.

There are different styles. Rectangles that fit in a cardboard frame. The nice thing about these is when they begin to wear you can take the insert out, flip it and replace it in the frame. There are others, usually a bit more expensive, that have a “wave” to them like the picture above. They come with a little bag of catnip to rub into the cardboard to entice your cat.

I will often find Samantha napping on this. It doesn’t look comfortable to me but she likes it and that’s what it is all about. As you can see from the picture, Samantha’s is quite worn and shreds of cardboard are on the floor. So I sweep up a couple of times a day. Not a big deal.

Replacing favorite items:

I need to replace Samantha’s curvy scratching post. This has become a favorite so I will add the new one without taking the old one away. When she is using the new one the other one will be removed.

Pedicures Please:

Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed is important, for the well-being of your cat and your furniture. On most cats this isn’t hard to do.

In our house it is a two person job. One of us wraps Samantha in a towel releasing one paw at a time while the other clips the tips of the nails with a regular nail clipper. Buy a new clipper, or one designed for cats so you get nice clean clips.

Clipping cat nails is much easier than dog nails because they are not nearly as thick. The earlier you get your cat used to this part of their grooming routine the easier it will be. It takes patience.

Declawing:

Declawing is painful and cruel and not the way to stop your cat from scratching. Cats that are declawed are more likely to ignore their litter box and bite. Cats need to scratch to remove the dead husk from their claws, stretch, play and mark their territory. Is there any doubt from the pictures that this is Samantha’s?

Declawing generally requires the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If it was being done to you, it would be equivalent cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Did you just involuntarily curl up your fingers in a fist to protect them? I do every time someone  mentions declawing.

Thankfully it seems declawing has become less popular in the past few years. I work at a humane society and the number of declawed cats coming in seems to have declined. Obviously if your cat has a medical condition and the claw is removed with a tumor or other issue that may be  your only option and in the cat’s best interest. This is something you and your vet decide.

Options:

1. Regular nail trimming. Make time for it, don’t wait until they are too long. If you can make time to clip the tips every couple of weeks you and your cat will be happy. It should take no longer than 5 minutes. If your cat is resistant do it in two sittings always trimming the front paws first.

2. Have a groomer or vet do the trimming or show you how. My daughter adopted a cat, Robbie, from an animal shelter in Cambridge, Mass. She had to call a vet (they make house calls!) to trim his nails. It took the vet and the vet tech to accomplish this.

3. Have a variety of scratching posts around the house. I place these in corners for a little more support. Sometimes Samantha goes to town and shoots them across the room. Sturdy cat condos with a combination of carpet and sisal are also excellent options to offer your cat.

4. Soft Paws® are soft nail covers that are glued to the cat’s nails. These can be applied at home or by a groomer or veterinarian. They need to be replaced on a regular basis and the nails still need to be trimmed.

I have not used these myself but found a step-by-step video on applying them.

http://www.softpaws.com/application-instructions-for-cats/

The main website is:

http://www.softpaws.com/about-soft-paws-for-cats/

5. If you must have a declawed cat please visit your local animal shelter  or rescue to adopt. Adoption is always the best answer for all animals.

Samantha's things 2

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