Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)/PLEASE Help FAST!!

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Question
Hello, I need some very quick advice about my two cats. They are going to the vet on Friday to get fixed (one male and one female), and my husband is insisting that they get declawed while they are there. I am strongly opposed to this, but I can't seem to convince him otherwise. The reason he wants them declawed is that they are constantly scratching the areas under the doors in the house, to the point where it is severely damaging the carpet. His point of view (which is partly right, I must admit), is that it is much cheaper to get the cats declawed than it is to replace the carpet (we live in an apartment and will definitely have to replace the carpet when we move if this continues). But, he is not taking into consideration all the possible negative effects this can have on our cats, not to mention our relationship with them. The other point he is making (which is also true) is that we have tried EVERYTHING to get them to stop scratching there. The main problem is, they won't do it when we are home and/or awake, they wait until we are out of the house or asleep to do it, in other words they are "trained" to not do it in our presence, not to not do it at all. Since we are not able to catch them in the act, it has been impossible to get them to stop. Here is everything we've tried, and what they do to get around it:
*aluminum foil- they scratch, bite, and play with it until it's out of the way
*rubber bath mat- they bit/ripped it to shreds until they could get at the carpet
*plastic desk chair mat- same as above
*welcome mat- same
*cardboard box- same
*we tried putting their scratching post on top of the spot so that they would scratch that instead- they moved it out of the way and scratched the carpet
*Soft claws- they bite them off within 24 hours
*trimming their nails every 2-3 days- they still somehow manage to tear up the carpet
So in my husband's defense, we really have tried everything. BUT I still don't want to get them declawed! Do you have ANY advice, or something I can tell my husband to convince him we don't need to do this? PLEASE! They are going to the vet Friday morning!
Thank you,
Jodi

Answer
Dear Jodi

Thank you for your question.  My apologies for the delayed reply and I hope this advice isn’t too late.

I strongly disagree with declawing!  Your cat is a predatory animal and need claws to be able to perform natural behaviour like hunting, and also daily tasks such as grooming, scratching.  Be declawing your cat you are going to stop from being able to do these tasks, and make your cat very frustrated because she will not be able to perform these daily tasks.

When cats scratch on post and around the home, they don’t just scratch to groom their nails, but also to scent mark their territory.  Your cat may be going back to this particular because he can smell his scent on the carpet.  Have you tried moving a scratch pad to the area where your cat likes to scratches?  I would advise for you to clean the area with a product that is design to clean dog & cat toilet.  This will help to rid the area of your cat’s scent, and hopefully make it less likely for your cat to return to the area and scratch.

Does he scratch on any pads at all? If not try playing on & around the scratch pad with a cat toy, also try scratching the pad in front of the cat.  Any investigation of the scratch pad reward him with calm praise (“good boy”) and gentle stroking.

Eventually he will she learn to scratch on the pad with a little help from you.  Once he has started using the pads then you can slowly start moving them to a more convenient place.  Be aware once your cat starts to use the scratch pads, there’s no guarantee he wont try to scratch on the carpet again.  You may just have to keep him out of the room or keep the scratch pad near by.

Kind Regards

Richella

Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)

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Richella

Expertise

I can answer questions about cat behaviour and training.

Experience

I have spent five years at an Agricultural College studying a National Diploma in Animal Care, and a Degree in Animal Welfare and Behaviour. I have experience in veterinary practice, cat shelters,and pet food.

Awards and Honors
BSc(Hons) Animal Welfare and Behaviour

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