It can be quite difficult to watch your feline companion scratch and tear at the furniture in your home, leaving behind nasty claw marks on your once-pristine home furnishings. Understandably, it can also cost quite a lot to have destroyed furniture replaced so frequently. However, this should not be a reason for pet owners to de-claw their kitties. In fact, there is no reason, period, for this cruel procedure. This unnecessary and painful surgery would only do more harm than good for our beloved felines.
What do cats use their claws for?
Cats use their claws to balance, climb, catch prey, defend themselves and mark their territory. If you have ever noticed a cat jumping and latching on to a high object, you would have probably noticed that it would sink it's claws into the surface to pull itself up. While cats scratch to shuck off old nail husks, their claws are still kept relatively sharp to protect themselves against their aggressors. A cat’s claws and teeth are basically its weapons!
Their claws are also essential during visits to the litter box too since they could use their claws to cover up their poop. Another commonly known reason why cats scratch is so as to mark their territory. As they leave visible marks and subtle scents behind, it signals to other kitties about the feline who claims the territory in that area.
Scratching is as natural to cats as eating, breathing and sleeping — it is an instinctual behaviour that is healthy and necessary.
De-clawing is considered inhumane
Despite such intrinsic behaviour that is ingrained in the DNA of felines, many pet owners view scratching as a problem. As sad as it is, a lot of pet owners choose to put their own possessions, such as their furniture and carpets, above their furry companion. Owners are worried that their cats would ruin the furnishings in their home and sometimes make the decision to have their cat de-clawed. Getting a cat’s claws removed is a painful surgical procedure, a procedure that can only be performed by a veterinarian. One might think that de-clawing is as simple as just having the nails removed (which is already excruciating in itself), but it is actually more than that; it involves amputating the last bone of each toe. Think of this as having each of your fingers cut off at the last knuckle.
After a cat has been de-clawed, its behaviour can change drastically. Your previously sweet kitty who would nuzzle and sidle up to you might be in a perpetual state of pain and confusion. It may no longer be able to jump up to your window’s ledge to watch birds flit by; it may no longer be able to play like it once did. Some cats tend to get aggressive and bite with their teeth since they can no longer use their claws.
It is in a cat’s nature to scratch
Cats are cuddly creatures who melt our hearts with their sweet, squishy faces and adorable antics. We love them for their cuteness, their character and their company, but we also need to keep in mind that scratching, together with all of their other loveable traits, is just another instinctual trait of theirs. If someone is not prepared to deal with this particular behaviour in cats, perhaps they will need to reconsider keeping one as a pet.
With that said, there are some things you can do to help your cats learn to channel their scratching instincts into less destructive areas.
Encourage your cat to scratch on a scratching post instead
One thing you can do is to provide your cat with appropriate scratching areas. For example, consider getting your cat several scratching posts and placing them around your home. Let kitty know where they are and how to use them. If your cat has been scratching at a specific spot in your home, remove the previous marks and place a scratching post there. You can also get a rush mat as well, which will help your cat with its instincts to scratch.
If your cat is scratching because it has too much pent-up energy, try including more playtime daily so that it provides an outlet for all that excess energy.
Although many don’t realise it, but there are ways to protect your things (instead of de-clawing) while allowing your cat to act out on instinct. Getting a cat’s claws removed is very painful and confusing for cats and can totally change their behaviour. Before you decide to take the inhumane path of getting your cat de-clawed, look into your other available options that will save both your furniture and your cat’s sanity.