Reaching for declaw alternatives? Four products to recommend


Reaching for declaw alternatives? Four products to recommend

Miss Kitty would love these options for curbing her destructive scratching in the house.

Your cat clients might pounce on these products that can help pause inappropriate scratching. ( the AAFP’s new position statement that strongly opposes declawing in cats, your veterinary clinic may decide to no longer offer this procedure in your feline patients and, thus, be on the lookout for surgery-free alternatives to recommend to clients to help them stop the damage caused by a cat’s scratching around the house. We scooped up a few ideas to help keep every house beautiful and cat content.


“A pedicure, mais oui! Hold the polish, please.”

Take the edge off the dagger-like destructive power of a cats’ claws with the Cord/Cordless Nail Grinder (Andis Company). The grinder comes in two speeds (normal and turbo) and is whisper-quiet to eliminate the fear factor.


“Now that’s a solution to set my cap at.”

Cover up a cat’s nails with Soft Paws (Soft Paws Inc.), which are vinyl caps that glue onto a cat’s nails—just place adhesive in the cap and slide it on. The caps and glue are nontoxic to cats, and the caps come off naturally and require replacement every four to six weeks.




“Is that piece of furniture just for me?”

Scratching posts are the traditional go-to for redirecting a cat’s itch to scratch. If your clients want something fun for cats that’s also out of the way, you might recommend the Cat Climber (Pioneer Pet). It hangs over the top of a door and features multiple climbing platforms alongside a sisal scratching post. A clawing solution and environmental enrichment in one!


“This smells like a place I can really dig into.”

Clients can train their cats to redirect their cat-astrophic clawing behavior to scratching posts with the help of Feliscratch by Feliway (Ceva Animal Health). The pheromone solution has been clinically proven to stop and prevent horizontal and vertical scratching on unwanted items.

Alternatives to declawing

I read with interest these alternatives to declawing and I think they are great. Certainly cat owners should try them out prior to performing a declaw surgery in most if not all situations. However, what to do when they don't work? Euthanize the cat? Throw it outdoors to get hit by a car or attacked by a coyote? Get shot by someone who does not like cats on the hood of their car? You get my point.

The fact that we have these products is proof positive that cat claws in at least some households is a very real problem that must be addressed.

So when these products and behavioral modification efforts don't work what is a pet owner and a veterinarian to do. I would strongly suggest that this is where a declaw can and should be used. It should be done carefully, properly and with adequate post operative care.

Those who demonize declaws and suggest claws are not as big a problem as they actually are in some households are just plain wrong.

So let me suggest to all veterinarians let's use a little common sense and not throw away a surgical treatment to a problem that is safe and highly effective when alternative methods of correction were unsuccessful.

Dr. Neunzig DVM, Diplonage ABVP canine/feline emeritus