Campus News

Clinical professor discusses how to prevent cat scratching

Sara Everett, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, spoke with the Washington Post about veterinarians trending away from declawing cats.

She said that many vet practices are choosing not to declaw cats anymore and may only do so in extreme cases where the cat would be given up without the procedure. There have been longstanding debates about the ethics of removing the claws of kittens to prevent scratching furniture and carpets later in life. Everett gave some tips that cat owners can use to prevent scratching without declawing the cat.

She said that busy areas of the house, like living rooms or kitchens, are “areas where they get good attention from their owners, like petting and cuddling and playing.” This means that cats are likely to scratch in those areas to claim the territory as their own.

“They don’t care about scratching areas of the home that aren’t valuable to them,” said Everett.

There are a few options for cat owners to decrease cat scratching without removing the claws. First, they can install cat scratching posts in the areas of the house that there is typically scratching to redirect the behavior. Everett also said that cat owners can use nail caps, a type of cover that is applied to individual claws and can last a month to six weeks. They may be cumbersome to apply, but Everett said that there are veterinary practices that will apply them for you.