Nobody enjoys a torn up floor, snagged curtains, and shredded clothing. While the answer to these problems for many cat owners is declawing their cat, it is far from the only answer:
- Nail Covers- These are basically individual caps for each nail. There are many different brands, such as Soft Claws and Kitty Caps, and nearly limitless color options to choose from. One nail cap completely covers a cat's nail, making it impossible for a sharp nail to dig or catch on anything. These are easier to apply if a cat is comfortable with having its feet touched, but they can also be applied over several days to allow a cat to become familiar with it. Prices range from $10-$20.
- Nail Clippers- Consistent, regular nail trimmings will keep a cat's nails from getting long and sharp. If they are clipped once a week or every other week, they will be short and blunt enough to prevent household damage. Prices range from $5-$15.
- Scratch Posts- Scratch posts are really what a cat wants when they go for something like carpet or a couch. They something that would resemble a tree in the wild. Having a few scratch posts to sharpen its nails on really satisfies that primal instinct. Scratch posts come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Prices range from $15-$100. They can even be homemade!
The above alternatives to declawing work the most magic when started early from kittenhood. Adult cats may require additional assistance in breaking bad habits that took years to develop. Cat owners can help break these habits by rewarding positive behavior (like scratching at a scratch post). There are also anti-scratch sprays available that are perfectly safe to spray on carpets, furniture, etc.