Jackson Galaxy | cat behaviour
Declawing: Jackson Galaxy Just Says No!
Jackson Galaxy's Solutions for Living with Clawed Cats!
Video : How to trim your cat's claws (or How to annoy your cat in less than 5 seconds)
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Unresolved behaviour issues may cause cat owners to surrender their cats to an animal shelter. FFN members have many years experience with cats and want to help cat owners correct such issues before they become a problem. The FFN Behaviour Hotline is free. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519.301.5735.
- Put something in the flower bed that is uncomfortable to walk on, such as:
- Plastic carpet runner, turned upside-down so teeth are facing upward.
- "Cat Scat" – Commercial product found at some garden supply stores (Lee Valley) consisting of four plastic spiked mats.
- Large pieces of bark mulch, pine cones, or chicken wire.
- coffee beans
- citrus peels
- pipe tobacco
- NEVER use cayenne pepper! It can get into their eyes
All these items must be replenished regularly.
Although we may not like the results, cats inherently need to scratch to:
- Remove the dead outer layer of their claws,
- Mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and scent from their paws,
- Stretch and flex their bodies, feet, and claws.
Unfortunately, the first step for many cat owners in North America who are afraid that their cat will destroy the furniture, is a "routine" declaw. Declawing is a procedure whereby a veterinarian amputates the end digit and claw of a cat's paws. This is comparable to cutting off a person's fingers at the last joint! This is such a drastic and unnecessary operation that in many countries declawing is illegal. Unfortunately, declawing is still commonplace in North America, even though, down the road, being declawed can cause behavioural problems for the pet cat in question.
Feline Friends Network urges you to try the following alternatives to declawing:
- First of all – OBSERVE. Where and what does your cat like to scratch? What's the texture? Does she prefer to scratch horizontally or vertically? At what height does she prefer to scratch? If you are in the market for new furniture, choose smooth cottons, silky parachute cloth, or "ultrasuede" fabrics which don't seem to interest felines, who prefer rough, bumpy fabrics, and, of course, leather!
- Considering your cats demonstrated preferences, substitute similar objects for him to scratch. A wide variety is available at local pet stores or on the internet, from inexpensive horizontal corrugated cardboard pads, to multi-layered cat trees. Or see below for "do-it-yourself" plans. It is most important that the scratching post is sturdy, and is not likely to fall over on the cat while in use … if the post you choose is vertical, make sure it is tall enough, and has a wide sturdy base. If carpet-covered, look for an uneven "nubby" surface.
- Place the new scratching post near the inappropriate object. Make sure the scratching posts are stable, and won't fall over or move around during use. Entice your cat to use the post by running your nails over it yourself, and praise the cat when he responds properly. Sprinkling potent catnip on the post can also help.
- Cover the inappropriate objects with something your cat will find unappealing. Double-sided sticky tape works well, and there is an excellent tape called "Sticky Paws" available at your local pet store for this purpose. For horizontal surfaces you may not want covered with sticky tape, a plastic carpet runner, "pointy side up" works well.
- It's best to keep the new scratching post as close to your cat's preferred scratching location as possible. If you must move it, do so very gradually, only a few inches each day. A good location choice is near her favourite napping spot, as the urge to scratch is often strongest upon awakening.
- Never punish your cat for scratching inappropriately. It won't change the behaviour, and may cause him to be afraid of you or the environment. Instead, if you catch him "in the act", you can either make a loud noise (blow a whistle, or shake a pop can full of stones), or spray with a water bottle so that he associates something unpleasant with scratching that object. However, it is important that your cat not be aware that it is you causing the unpleasant sensation.
Keeping Your Cat's Claws Trimmed
You should clip the sharp tips off your cat's front claws every two weeks or so. Back claws grow more slowly.
- If your cat is not used to having her nails trimmed, you must get her accustomed to having her paws handled, and gently squeezed. Start by gently holding the paw while giving a treat. Over time, gradually increase the pressure so that petting becomes gently squeezing, as you'll need to do this to extend the claw. Patience is key!
- When you are ready to try trimming, apply a small amount of pressure to her paw, with your thumb on the top of her paw, and your index finger underneath until a claw is extended. You should be able to see the "quick" – a small blood vessel which is usually pink, but can appear black in cats with black claws. You don't want to cut into the quick and cause pain, so just cut off the sharp tip. Always use claw trimmers made for pets, and not your own nail clippers which would crush the claw.
- Until you and your cat have become accustomed to the routine, go slowly, one or two claws a day at first. In no time it will become routine for your both. (Note: If clipping the claws is something you can't bring yourself to do, enlist a friend, or visit your vet or groomer.)
Build Your Own Cat Tree (The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)