Before you deal with scratching, you need to know why cats scratch. Wild cats scratch around their environment to mark their territory and to show their presence to other cats. The marking may be of two types: visual and olfactory. The visual marking is represented by the claw marks and it is visible for humans. The olfactory marking is performed by release of pheromones which are secreted from the cat's body and can be detected only by other cats.
Feline pheromones are released from the superficial glands in the skin of the paws. People can't detect these pheromones but they are a clear signal for other felines. The claw marks and the pheromones mean that the territory is claimed by some cat.
Besides marking territory, scratching allows cats to stretch the muscles of their paws and helps for getting rid of old nails. Not to mention that cats enjoy scratching very much.
The Situation with Indoor Cats
Healthy indoor cats love scratching and this is a serious problem for cat owners. Though domestic cats may not scratch often, they do it now and then, and the common targets of their scratching are your furnishings.
Many cat owners who experience the problem with scratching decide that its only solution is declawing. However, some vets claim that such painful surgery is not necessary and it is inhumane. These vets recommend that cat owners should train their pets using a scratching post instead of declawing their cats. But there are vets that consider declawing as a safe and routine surgical procedure.
Some Facts about Declawing
• Declawing doesn't remove only the nails but the nail bed, as well as the last digit of the finger bone.
• Declawing is extremely painful procedure and is used in researches that investigate pain relied methods. Cats that have undergone declawing surgery suffer from pain for a long time after the surgery.
• The pain associated with the surgery is believed to subside within 24-36 hours after the procedure. Your cat will experience serious discomfort and pain when walking as the paws are really tender after the surgery. If there are some complications, the pain will continue for a long period of time.
• The consequences of the declawing may last years after it has taken place. Most cats recover but some of them are hobbling for years.
• Cats find it difficult to use the litter box after the surgery because the litter causes pain on their paws.
You may try put torn off newspaper in the box instead of litter in order to reduce the pain caused by the litter particles.
• Declawed cats may experience behavior changes after the surgery. Thus, aggressive cats may start biting instead of swatting with their paws.
Are There Any Declawing Alternatives?
Yes, there are. You can choose between some safe and more humane methods, such as training your to use a scratching post, trimming its nails or using nail covers.
Here are some things you need to know if you consider training your cat to use a scratching post:
• You should have one extra scratching pose in your home. As soon as your cat is trained to use a post, you can remove the extra one.
• The scratching post should be high enough to allow the cat fully stretch without reaching the top of the post.
• Make sure the scratching post is steady. If the post falls over or rocks, the cat may not use it at all.
• The main function of scratching is leaving visible marks, so the post should be made of appropriate material that can be torn or frayed. Many cats love burlap.
• Don't hide the scratching post in some corner of your home but rather place in an attractive location. It is recommended to place the post near your cat's favorite scratching areas and then gradually move in to another location.
Some Ideas How to Protect Your Furniture from Scratching
You may use some things that will stop the cat scratch on its favorite sites during the training.
• You may cover your furniture with plastic sheeting in order to protect it from scratching during the training.
• You may use moth repellent aerosols with naphthol. However, you have to use them regularly, because their odor disappears with time.
• Pheromone sprays are also very useful for protection of household furniture and items because their smell will tell the cat these areas are already "marked" though scratching.
Cat owners may consider using nail covers that are already available on the market. "Soft Paws" are nail
caps made of plastic that are glued to the claws of the cat after its nails are trimmed. These nail covers have great results - there are no scratches on furniture, and the caps remain in their place for a fairly long time. They should be replaced every month.
Furniture damages can be reduced and even eliminated if cat owner trim the claws of their pets regularly. All you need is a pair of sharp nail trimmers. You need to use special cat nail trimmers and never use human trimmers. When trimming the nails, make sure you do it careful. You may consider consulting your vet about the proper ways to trim your cat's nails and appropriate nail trimmers, one of the way is to get quality cat scratching post, best way to keep your home furniture save.
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Article Added on Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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