The SPCA and most responsible veterinarians will tell you that you should never, ever declaw a cat. This is comparable to cutting off your finger at the first knuckle; it’s inhumane and can have seriously negative long-term effects. But there are other ways to keep your cat from scratching up the furniture. For example:
- Trim the cat’s claws regularly. You can get an inexpensive clipper from any pet store. Be careful not to cut down to the quick, and trim the claws every couple of weeks or so. Your cat will still scratch, but the scratching will do less damage.
- Provide other things to scratch. You can buy a scratching post or scratching box, or make your own with an old piece of carpet. Reward your cat when it scratches on the post.
- Use a spray bottle. The theory is that if you spray a cat with water (using a spray bottle or even a squirt gun) every time it scratches where it shouldn’t, it’ll build up a negative association.
- Choose the right furniture. If you have a choice, go for velour fabrics and straight wooden legs.
- Use heavy plastic or aluminum foil. Placing aluminum foil or a sturdy plastic sheet over surfaces where your cat likes to scratch may discourage scratching.
- Use double-sided tape. Put the tape where the cat likes to scratch; it’ll avoid the sticky surfact.
- Use a spray. Numerous products are supposed to have a scent that keeps cats away; if you spray these on or near your furniture, you cat is supposed to avoid them. (I haven’t found one that my own cat dislikes, though, so take note: your mileage may vary.)
- Make noise. Shake a can with some pennies in it when your cat scratches in the wrong place to scare it off.
- Use an upside-down carpet protector. Cats will generally avoid the little plastic spikes.
- Put plastic covers on your cat’s claws. Pet stores and veterinarians often carry little soft plastic tips that you can glue onto the claws.
Many of these hints came from How to keep cats from scratching furniture, Scratch THIS, Pussycat!, CatStuff: Cate Care Tips and Tricks, Cat Scratching Behavior Problems, How to Stop a Cat from Scratching Furniture, 13 Ways to Save Your Furniture from Cat Scratching, and Cat Scratching Solutions.