Destructive Scratching by Cats

Prevent Destructive Cat Scratching the Humane Way

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A Scratching Post or Two is Essential for Cats' Claws. Westend61 / Getty Images

Destructive and painful scratching is a source of disruption in many households occupied by cats. It is one of the top reasons cats are either declawed, abandoned or surrendered to shelters. Cat lovers often face a quandary when they also love their nice furniture and thick, lush carpeting. No one wants to live with sofa arms and drapes shredded and tattered, or carpet strings pulled up, yet few of us are willing to give up our cats, either.

However, put yourself in your cat's boots. Cats do not scratch furniture with malicious intent. It is part of their regular self-maintenance program to keep their claws nice and sharp for self-defense.

The good news is that you can prevent illegal scratching with the combined resources offered here.

How to Manage Your Cat's Claws

A kitten's paws are like the hands of babies. As they grow, they will become more and more important tools for life, and claws are an essential part of cats' paws. And like babies, they may use those tools in destructive ways unless they are trained. Here are tips to take care of your cat's claws. 

Before You Buy Scratching Posts for Cats

Just like humans, cats need exercise, and scratching posts provide the ideal format. Cats stretch and pull against the scratching surfaces to limber their bodies, as well as to "sharpen" their claws (by removing the sheaths that cover them).

Be generous with scratching posts - cats love and need a variety of surfaces and planes, so scatter a few throughout the house.

Top Cats' Scratching Posts and Pads

Every cat should own several scratching posts, of varying size, angle, and scratching surface. Scratching posts are essential to cats, for needed exercise, stress relief, and claw management, and will save wear and tear on furniture and carpeting, as well.

With scratching posts, costs are not necessarily a factor, as the inexpensive corrugated cardboard pads are a favorite with cats. Here are some top scratching posts and pads

Aids to Prevent Destructive Scratching

Cats need to scratch; it is an ingrained need to help maintain their main source of defense and to develop strong sinewy muscles and connective tissue.

Destructive scratching need not be a problem if you recognize and respect this need to scratch and provide allowable alternatives to your furniture. You can also trim claws, use soft nail caps, and use other means of discouraging destructive scratching. These are my top choices for aids to prevent destructive scratching by cats.

How to Trim Your Cat's Claws

Trimming your cat's claws is the humane answer to declawing. Start with a relaxed, sleepy cat, sharp clippers, and a good light source, for best results. Regular human toenail or fingernail clippers work well, as well as guillotine-type cat clippers. Here are some other nail trimming tips