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Need advice on claws

  1. #1

    Need advice on claws

    I'm an adult living at home, and got a kitten several months ago with the understanding that my family was cool with his adoption and he would move out with me once I had saved up enough to leave.

    My parents have declawed every cat they owned, but have allowed my cat to keep his claws on the condition that I instead use soft paws on him. For the first few months this worked out relatively well, but recently he's started chewing at the caps on his claws, or getting them caught in things. (The rim snags on various items and he doesn't understand that he has to move his paw forward and lift it slightly. He pulls.) We had to cut him out of a laundry hamper that he got caught and then twisted around in, and that cap came off prematurely shortly after with nail bed exposed. He's been chewing at two today that are on claws that have nearly grown out. One is not off and the new claw beneath it looks cracked. He's now licking that paw and I believe it hurts him. My main motivation in wanting to avoid declawing was that one of the cats my parents declawed growing up had chewed out his stitches and spent considerable time in bandages as a result, and I wanted to avoid hurting my own cat as much as possible, so seeing this has been hard.

    I know what my family will say when I raise my concerns to them, and I'm reluctant to consult with them because of their furniture related bias. I'm hoping to hear opinions from cat owners with no stake in my cat or home. How likely is this to be a temporary issue, and would it be better to have his claws removed? I won't be able to move out on my own for at least another year and if it does come to declawing him, I would like to do it while he's young so there will be a lower risk of complications.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    PA USA
    Please don’t declaw! I’ve listed the problems. You need a scratching post for him to use. Here are some tips:
    Cats scratch on things for two reasons: to shed their claws and to mark their territory. To save your furniture from damage, you should provide your cat with a scratching post or two and teach him/her how to use it. The requirements for a good scratching post are:

    • Vertical posts must be sturdy and tall enough for the cat to stretch its body. Horizontal marking posts are preferred by some cats. Try both types to find out what your cat prefers, or offer one of each.
    • The posts should be located in prominent areas in your home, not in the basement. Cats often scratch when they wake up from a nap so put one near the cat’s sleeping area.
    • You can buy ready-made scratching posts at the pet store or you can make your own. A simple log is preferred by some cats. For others, a piece of corrugated cardboard mounted on a piece of wood works just fine. Although most pre-made posts are covered with carpet, this may not be the best material to use. Cats can get their claws stuck in the fabric loops and stop using the post as a result. Try attaching the carpet upside down or using other materials like upholstery fabric that are more “shreddable.”
    • Attract your cat to the post using catnip. Sprinkle the catnip on the base and into the fabric or hang bags of catnip from the top. Spend time near the post encouraging your cat to interact with it. Play with the cat near the post and incorporate it into your play.
    • The most important step is to reward the cat every time he/she uses the post. Have yummy food treats nearby and give one to the cat whenever you see him/her scratching the post.

    Once your cat is using the scratching post you have provided, you can teach him/her that other things are off limits. If you catch your cat scratching the sofa or chair, make a load noise to startle the cat or squirt him/her with a plant sprayer or squirt gun. It is important that the cat thinks the noise or water came out of nowhere. This way he/she will associate the bad thing with the behavior of scratching on the chair, not with you. It’s important to entice the cat to the scratching post and praise him/her for using it.

    Plus here is a website that exposes the horrors of declawing:

    What You Can Do Instead

    • Trim your cat’s nails regularly. When the cat is relaxed and unafraid, gently press on his or her toes until the claws extend. Use a pair of nail clippers, and cut only the tip of the nail, taking care not to damage the vein, or “quick.” The nail hook is what tears upholstery, so removing it virtually eliminates the potential for damage.
    • Buy multiple scratching posts. Ideally, you should have two or more scratching posts in your home. Make sure that they’re sturdy and tall enough to allow your cat to stretch (3 feet or taller). Soft, fluffy carpeted posts won’t fulfill your cat’s clawing needs, so look for rougher posts.
    • Teach your cat where to scratch and where not to scratch. Encourage your cat to use the scratching posts by sprinkling catnip on the posts once a week. Discourage your cat from scratching furniture by using a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratch—cats don’t like loud noises! Never use physical force.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire
    under no circumstances should you even consider declawing. Its amputating the toes at the first knuckle. Its painful to the cat and really unnecessary, teach him what he can and can't scratch on, get him scratching posts, get him a scratching pad, spray it with a catnip spray to encourage him to scratch on that. DO NOT declaw!!!! Read this article before declawing

    Some negative effects of declawing

    Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat's foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.
    For several days after surgery, shredded newspaper is typically used in the litter box to prevent litter from irritating declawed feet. This unfamiliar litter substitute, accompanied by pain when scratching in the box, may lead cats to stop using the litter box. Some cats may become biters because they no longer have their claws for defense.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Welcome Jaxon. I ask you like the others here, please don't allow declawing surgery for your kitten.

    There are tiny nail clippers that can safely be used on kittens and cats, just buy a good one at a pet supply store and trim the sharp tips (only) off the the kitten's claws. They also sell tape like Sticky Paws that can be put on items you're worried about, I bought some for the bottom of my drapes and stereo speakers, but soon took it off and threw it out because my cat was content scratching on his post, etc.

    Give the kitten a few items to satisfy his scratching desires. A tall, multiple platform cat tree placed near a window so there's also added reasons the cat is happy using it. There are small cheap Kong cardboard scratchers also, I had both of these for my kitten.

    My kitten was accidentally getting his claws stuck in a few things too when he was young, now he doesn't do that anymore, it's what kittens do, a learning process. Please read the link I posted and learn about what declawing entails, I would never do that to one of my cats now that I know how severe the surgery is. Please make the kind decision for your cat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Welcome to the forum Jaxon! I can relate to your situation. My parents were the same way when I adopted my first cat - get the kitten declawed or don't have one. When I adopted my second cat in 1996 my parents had just gotten new living room furniture, but I found a Soft Paws advertisement in Cat Fancy and decided to try it. I ordered one set and took them to the vet unopened. The vet said they are too big for Patricia, who was a runt. So I returned them and let Mom get her declawed. The one thing that made me not like getting my kittens declawed was their long hesitation to jump - Emily, my first, often gave up on jumping - and loss of jump height. Otherwise they seemed fine to me as well as my third cat, who was already declawed. but the jumping issue affect my opinions about the surgery.

    Your parents need to understand there are better ways than just putting caps on claws to protect the furniture. Even with the caps, you still need to clip them. I take my cat Daisy to the vet for pedicures. If I wanted to I could take her to Petsmart or Petco instead (note not all locations have groomers). Ask a technician to demonstrate clipping just the tips and let you practice it if you want to do it yourself. In addition, not all cats like Soft Paws, but all cats do like things to scratch on. A scratching post does not have to be expensive. Some of them double as toys. If your cat loves catnip and treats training it should be easy.
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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