All cats like to scratch and claw things, which helps to keep their claws in good condition and of the appropriate length, and also, gives the muscles of the claws and paws a workout that helps to keep them strong for climbing and activities!
While this behaviour is natural and necessary for cats and should not be prevented, it can also be potentially problematic if your cat is using their claws to destroy your furniture, or is not shy to take a swipe at you with their claws too!
In the USA, for many years, the way that this problem was tackled was by means of declawing, a surgical process of removing the front claws entirely, and stopping them from growing back. However, this procedure is both unnecessary and cruel and has never been permitted in the UK, and is also fast falling out of favour in the USA as well.
There are a range of things that you can try or attempt to keep your cat from scratching or clawing at things that they shouldn’t-whether that be furniture or people-or to make the impact of their scratching less pronounced and so, less harmful.
In this article, we will look at some safe, cat-friendly ways to stop or reduce clawing and scratching. Read on to learn more.
First and foremost, if you do not provide your cat with a safe, appropriate place to scratch and claw freely, they are going to look for other options! Getting a scratching post or board for your cat and encouraging them to use it is the first thing that you should do, and if you provide a scratching post already but your cat does not use it, all is not lost!
If you provide a scratching post that your cat ignores, you might want to consider replacing it for one that is a different shape, size or material, as different cats tend to have different preferences!
Some cats love clawing sisal doormats, which is one cheap, simple approach, and other ways of encouraging your cat to use their designated post is by putting catnip on it, moving it to another area of the home that your cat likes to scratch in, or putting toys or treats on and around it to tempt your cat.
If your cat is obsessed with clawing up the carpet or the legs of your furniture, you should do what you can to make this option less tempting to them! Loose carpet that is coming up at the corners can be made less tempting by fixing it back down securely, while re-covering loose or scratched fabric on your furniture may help too.
There are a range of cat-safe products on the market that can be used on things that your cat targets to serve as a deterrent, such as citrus or bitter apple sprays, which cats usually avoid due to their unpleasant smell and taste.
Make sure that you pick a product that is marked as safe for cats, and again, accompany this with providing alternatives.
If your cat really will not leave the legs of your sofa alone, you can limit the problem and prevent further damage to your furniture by attaching a sacrificial covering to it. This is a covering that your cat can claw or scratch instead, which is designed to protect the furniture underneath from your cat’s attentions!
If your cat sometimes swipes or claws at you, or their claws are so sharp that when they are purring away and treading on you happily, it is painful or leads to scratches, trimming your cat’s claws regularly might be the solution.
Trimming your cat’s claws can both keep them from growing too long, and also, nip off the sharp, pointed ends that are causing the damage! You will likely need to trim your cat’s claws every few weeks to retain the effectiveness of this solution, and of course, if your cat does have a tendency to scratch you deliberately, look at why this might be happening and what can be done to resolve this behavioural problem.
Claw caps or tips are small, soft rubber caps that can be glued over the tips of your cat’s claws, to cover the sharpness without interfering with the claw itself!
This means that your cat can claw and scratch without causing virtually any damage to the furniture, and also, that if they do claw or scratch at you, they will not cause harm.
However, claw tips may affect your cat’s ability to climb properly and also, to defend themselves, and so, this option is usually considered to be suitable only for indoor cats. Added to this, the tips need to be replaced and reattached regularly as they come off or wear out, and this can be a fiddly process, and so, not well suited to long term use.