What can I do instead of declawing my cat?
If you don't declaw your cat, you've still got a couple of alternatives you can consider to save your furniture. You're going to need to get something for your cat to exercise its claws on - if you don't, you will find claw marks on everything. A scratching post is a must, but there are several good ones available online.
This one runs $29.99 and is available online here.
That will at least give your cat something to work at. You should also make sure to train your cat not to claw at things. Spray bottles filled with water are good for this. If the cat scratches anything but the scratching post, give it a spray or two of water. Say "NO" firmly and loudly, but don't be too angry or aggressive. Pick up the cat and put it in front of the post. You don't want to be mean about it, but you want to try to associate it in the cat's mind that this is the place to scratch. When the cat scratches the scratching post, use positive reinforcement - a treat, petting, and friendly words. Cats are harder to train than dogs, and many of them will simply ignore it. If that happens, an alternative is to rub the scratching post with catnip. This will work for a lot of cats by making them interested in going there.
There's also another option: cat claw caps. These are little plastic covers for the claws that stop your cat from tearing things up with them. The only problem: you can't use them on a cat that goes outdoors. Outdoor cats NEED their claws - to defend themselves and to climb trees (which is their main way of escaping dogs or other predators). You shouldn't let your cat outside anyway, but it's even worse to do it with a declawed cat or a cat with these on. If your cat is indoor only, they're a great way to keep the furniture safe. The other great benefit: you can put them on the back claws as well. Those usually aren't declawed, but sometimes cats accidentally kick or scratch up furniture when they jump on it. They'll try to get these off for a few minutes, but when they can't they won't really notice them after awhile. They're available online for $14.95.
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