Scratching on surfaces is a natural, normal cat behavior. It marks territory, it invites play, and it helps to stretch out their back muscles using the claws as grappling hooks. Declawing is the surgical removal of the last bone of the toe: since the nail is fused to the bone, the bone must be amputated. This procedure reduces the surface area of the foot, causing more pressure on the foot, predisposing the cat to injury and arthritis. As a result, most veterinarians are now reluctant to declaw.

I have found a way to successfully coexist with my cats’ normal behavior and save my furniture from destruction.

Cats choose not only the surface that they scratch but also the location (which room, where in the room). Some cats like a vertical scratching surface, like the corner of a chair, while others like a horizontal surface, like a rug. For vertical scratchers, choose a tall (at least 3 ft) pillar with a stable base, wrapped in rope or the backside of carpet. It should be tall enough for the cat to stretch up as far as he likes. For horizontal scratchers, choose a rough welcome mat or sisal throw rug. Place the scratching post right next to the spot the cat has already chosen. Spray the scratching post with concentrated catnip spray to entice. Respray to freshen the odor every day for a week, until it is being used consistently, then weekly.

You may not love the idea of a scratching post next to your furniture, but it’s better than raggedy furniture, and the Queen of England is never going to visit. And having a cat share your life is worth it.

By- Dr. Katherine Dunn, DVM