“Although we had a family friend cat-sitting, we came home from vacation to find my husband’s favorite chair had become our two cats’ favorite scratching spot. The upholstery fabric on both arms of the chair was in shreds.” Cat owner, Martinsville, VA

A situation like this is why so many cat owners think about declawing. But there are alternatives….
1. Scratching post. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and cats gotta scratch. A scratching post offers your cat a great place to do what he’s “gotta” do. Make sure it’s sturdy and keep it near a place your cat already likes to be.
2. Training. The key to training your cat is for him not to realize you’re doing it. There are products that may be applied to upholstery or curtains that are designed to repel cats. Always test the product on an inconspicuous spot for colorfastness. A far-reaching squirt gun is a great tool to reprimand Kikki Lee as long as she doesn’t realize you’re the source of the barrage. If the cat realizes you’re the enforcer, he’ll only modify his behavior when you’re in his sight.
3. Trimming cat’s claws. This task sounds like something from one of Dave Letterman’s Top 10 Lists, but once your cat become accustomed to this attention, it’s not as daunting as you might imagine. Take a look at the video for a short demonstration.
4. Soft Paws. Developed by veterinarian Toby Wexler, Soft Paws are vinyl nail caps for cats. The product come in a variety of sizes and colors and once applied, lasts for 4-6 months. For further information, take a look at the Soft Paws website.
The introduction of each alternative to declawing is best done with kittens before bad habits are formed. If you can introduce a scratching post before your kitten discovers he just loves the texture of your new sofa’s fabric under his claws, your task of training is much easier.