So what to do if your cat is destroying your home, but yet you do not want to resort to declawing? Here are some guidelines that may help restore your home a bit of dignity:
1. Buy a scratching post
If you are lucky enough to find a scratching post that your cat enjoys scratching, you will greatly minimize the furniture scratching. Cats often look for vertical scratching posts as they like to scratch standing upright in a vertical position.
Watch your cat carefully and look for what textures she seems to like and her position as she scratches. You want to get something similar that can replace the object of her attention.
2. Trim nails
A good nail trim can minimize the damage, since you will be trimming the nails getting rid of the sharp parts that cause most damage. Also a cat with trimmed nails may feel less the need to scratch as it does not feel as good as when they the nails are long. You can trim a cat at home using a nail trimmer or a great new product called Pedipaws or you can have your veterinarian take care of them periodically.
3. Try soft paws
Soft paws are vinyl nail caps that can be applied to a cat's nails to minimize damage. They work great and also come in different sizes and colors. They usually last up to 6 weeks and are not toxic even if swallowed. Only use soft paws on indoor cats as they deprive outdoor cats from their first line of defense.
4. Cover up upholstery
Sometimes the best solution is simply covering up the furniture you like. For instance, sofas can be protected with sofa covers of which you do not care much about and so can chairs. Curtains can be replaced with blinds and wood furniture can be sprayed with special products that repel cats.
5. Scat mats
If your cat likes to go to a specific spot to do damage, try to put a scat mat in front of it. A scat mat is a mat that delivers a painless shock (similar to the one we humans get upon opening a car door) that will keep your cat away from the area.
With a little bit of time and with the help of some special products your cat may be able to respect your furniture and upholstery while still having the opportunity to endure in a nice scratching using the appropriate scratching posts. Compromises are the best solutions when it comes to dealing with a cat wrecking your home: your cat gets to keep its nails and you get to enjoy your furniture.
For further reading: The truth about Declawing
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.